At that time we’re talking about late ‘70‘s, what a great place to work Granada was. There was little competition. And Granada made lots of regional programmes. There was a big commitment to regional programmes , that’s now gone from ITV. There was a farming programme, Down to Earth. There was Regional Sports. There was Regional Religion. There was Reports Politics, Reports Extra. There were things like Live from Two (a magazine chat show) and other programmes, and What’s On was another commitment to the region. The regional commitment, it was very, very strong.
What did I do ’79-80? I did Johnnie Hamp. Johnnie was the boss of a series of shows called Clubland. I produced one of them from the Poco-a-Poco in Stockport with Bernie Clifton the host.
Now Bernie’s great. Bernie does this act, the ostrich thing. He puts on the costume. He pretends he’s sitting on the ostrich, then the bird is riding away from him, whoa, whoa, whoa and all that stuff. I think it’s great. So I made him main presenter and I think Steve Leahy did a show and I think Trish Kinane did a show. Hamp was letting go slightly of his empire and was allowing us young ‘uns to dabble a bit. I suppose by 1979, ’80, we were a pretty headstrong bunch. We’d been around in the business for a while. I’d done World in Action, I’d done So it Goes and local programmes and we were kind of young bucks. Kinane, Liddiment, we thought we were on the up.
I remember writing to Paul McCartney with a programme proposal, which to my amazement he was interested in. “Yeah, your idea is great, why don’t you come down and talk about it?” I took with me Johnnie Hamp, Trish Kinane and Dave Liddiment to the meeting with Paul McCartney. I should have gone to by myself! It didn’t come to anything in the end. But they were interesting times.
Liddiment and I did a thing, at the height of disco, within Granada Reports, called GRD, the Granada Reports Disco. And it was a dance competition in various venues and, you know, we were at the time of Saturday Night Fever and all that but what was great about it was how diverse it all was! In Granada Reports we would end the show by playing out with the Buzzcocks, then on another day you’d see Earth Wind and Fire in a Granada programme. And of course all this was going on with heavyweight drama and World in Action. The diversity not only across Granada but within regional programmes. For example, with What’s On there were no barriers. We had Joy Division on What’s On. We also had Tony Christie! It’s great. It’s kind of like Jools Holland now. Then it was a bit ground-breaking. The conservative BBC of the time wouldn‘t do anything like that.