Esther Dean on how Granada’s northern location impacted on its dramas

Certainly a lot of the shows that I did like Inheritance and Shabby Tiger, there were a lot of plays at the beginning, and Hard Times, where doing it up in the North made a big difference to being in the South. You needed to have the feel of being in the North, the weather and the mills and all that sort of thing, whereas down in the South people hadn’t got a clue what it was like. Manchester when I first started hadn’t been cleaned up. Manchester was still like it was when I was a little girl. Some of the bomb damage had gone but some of the buildings were still pretty black. I remember when they started cleaning the buildings and it was, “My golly, Manchester’s a red brick city!” Because I’d always thought of it as a black city.

So you are saying that a programme like Shabby Tiger couldn’t have been made by another company?

I don’t think so, no. I mean Yorkshire started a year after; Yorkshire could possibly have done it. But Yorkshire didn’t do the plays and the drama like they did at Granada. They didn’t have the writers. I think a lot of it starts with the writers and if you’ve got something well written or interesting… But also they couldn’t have been made in the South. The feeling down here is very different to the feeling in the North. Certainly, with Inheritance, there were still quite a lot of cotton mills going. We filmed in working mills. I think you’d have a problem now, apart from the fact you’d have to go to Quarry Bank to find a working mill.

Leave a Reply