Jim Grant remembers the Granada company as a family

I walked in there as a new trainee, and my boss was David Black, head of presentation. And his boss was Joyce Wooller, who had a seat on the board, reporting to the board chairman who I think, at that point, was Cecil Bernstein, maybe Sydney, maybe. Maybe David Plowright was effectively the top guy, but that… I walked in as a trainee assistant, and there were only two layers of people between me and the board: two individuals, David Black and Joyce Wooller, and then it was the board. And laterally as well. There weren’t that many people there. And so, you got to know everybody. I mean, I remember in ‘79 or ‘80, either before or after the strike. Again, I was an assistant. I was nobody at all. I was walking down the corridor and saw Mike Scott, who was director of programming and was, at that point, really up to his eyes with Brideshead Revisited. And, as an assistant transmission control, somehow, I felt and he felt it was appropriate to have a conversation in the corridor. And I said, “Hey, Mike. How’s Brideshead?” And he said, “Every frame a Rembrandt.” And, looking back on it, I thought, “How extraordinary is that conversation?”

But in the corporate world today, the span from the bottom to the top is so huge that you wouldn’t have that conversation. You wouldn’t expect it. But then? Yes! You know, it’s such a horrible cliché to say it was a big family and so on. And there was certainly a lot of bitterness about pay and conditions and so on, but it was fundamentally a family. It was the smallest number of people that… working on some great stuff, and well before it all went wrong, and well before all the layers and layers and layers of management that came in later. It was very spare, very pared down. And it felt that that enhanced the creativity. It felt people were really united, working towards a common goal. And it’s easy to over-romanticise that, but I would say, probably it’s true that everybody was valued and everybody was, therefore, committed.

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