May 2016 marks 60 years since Granada Television began transmitting to ‘the north’. It was to become the only commercial television company to never lose its franchise and was described by the New York Times as ‘the finest television company in the world’.
The company was founded by Sidney Bernstein and became famed for its innovation, radicalism and quality programming, producing some of the most memorable and remarkable programmes of the era from its Manchester base. They included Brideshead Revisited, Seven Up, The Jewel in the Crown, World in Action,
What The Papers Say, Johnny Cash at St Quentin, Disappearing World and, of course, Coronation Street. To commemorate this milestone the Manchester Centre for Regional History at Manchester Metropolitan University is holding a one-day conference of talks, films and discussions on Saturday 7th May 2016 at Manchester Metropolitan University’s Business School from 9.30am to 5pm.
* Gordon Burns will introduce the day of talks and panel discussions on what led to Granada TV being described as ‘the best TV company in the world’.
* Steve Morrison, former Granada Chief Executive and now Rector of the University of Edinburgh, will deliver the keynote speech.
* Legendary Entertainment producer Johnnie Hamp will talk about Granada’s ‘rock and roll’ years, from Jerry Lee Lewis to the Beatles and beyond.
* Former Granada Programme Director and later BBC Trustee David Liddiment will chair a discussion panel on Coronation Street and other notable dramas.
* Award winning documentary director Leslie Woodhead will review his work on World In Action and Disappearing World.
* Panel discussions will also cover Factual and Regional programming with panel members including ex-presenter Trevor Hyett, and former Scottish TV Director of Programmes, Sandy Ross.
* There will also be discussion of Granada’s legacy to the identity of the region and how it has contributed to Manchester’s position as the second biggest hub for creative and digital content in Europe including Cat Lewis, CEO of Nine Lives Media and Chair of Pact’s Nations & Regions Committee.
* Stephen Kelly and Judith Jones will talk about their oral history of Granada, the starting point for this conference, and their work with the Manchester Centre for Regional History at MMU.
* Bob Dickinson will share his memories of the inimitable Ray Gosling. MMU has, for the past two years, supported a major oral history project focused around Granada. Former Granada researcher/producer Stephen Kelly and former production assistant Judith Jones who initiated the project, have recorded over 100 interviews with former staff members.
‘The idea of the conference,’ says Steve Kelly, ‘is to bring many of these people together along with other Granada people so that they can celebrate and reflect on the company’s distinguished record and its legacy. Granada was so crucial in developing the identity of the region. But the day is not just for Granada people, it will be for anyone who has fond memories of the outstanding programmes made over the years. And especially for those who go back to Ena, Minnie and Martha.’
Tickets, priced at £12 are available to book by here