George Turner on the importance of Granada being in Manchester

I think it’s well-known that the Bernsteins were looking to have a television station in the north of England. I know for a fact they looked in Liverpool as well as in Manchester. And in fact they looked in Manchester out towards the Toast Rack site, but think it’s been documented that they realised, the Bernsteins, that they were going to have it in the North West because basically it rained and that meant that people would be inside, and what will they do inside? Well, they’ll have a television! So I think it was his perception that it was a good area for him to go, rather than going to the Yorkshire Dales where the only people who’d watch it would be sheep if they could come inside. And that was his choice. And I think at the time it had fairly good access, I mean, steam train taking about four hours, I suppose that’s fairly good, and there was an airport because they have the little Dove plane to do that. I think it was just basically that he felt that it was the right place to be, Manchester. …..

Mancunian Films had been making films in the North West from in the thirties. They’d made them actually down in London as well. I mentioned briefly the very early George Formby films, Frank Randle, I think Diana Dors had one of her early films up here. They had these studios in Dickinson Road which I was talking about. So they were very much here. There’s lots been thought about whether Mancunian – because Sir Denis and the Bernsteins had known each other after the war, there’s a possibility, I’ve no idea – Mike Blakeley who’s the son of John and Tom Blakeley, Mancunian people, I don’t think Mike knows – but we weren’t particularly challenged really. I think it was just they happened to be in Manchester. They were prepared to buy this Oricon camera and they put their head above the parapet. And that’s what we did.


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