Well, Tony, I hope it doesn’t sound too schmaltzy and so on, but I miss him every day. I was not a visitor to The Hacienda, that wasn’t my thing. I didn’t know much about Factory Records and all that sort of scene. But I did know about was if anybody encapsulated the north west, anyone should have been Prime Minister of the north west, in some ways it should have been Tony. I identified with him, and long after I left Granada actually, with the idea of devolution to the region, and Tony had this ability to see right across the spectrum from politicians to culture. He advocated for the north west, a bit like Brian Redhead at the BBC. It was just so stimulating to be in Tony’s company. I mean, he probably would have been hopeless if he was ever in a really decision making role, but certainly at my time at Granada… I mean, he encouraged me regularly to apply for Granada. When Peter Allen left, I rang him up. I was at the party conference and I said, “There will be a lot of other people in for this job who will better than me.” And he said, “Name them.” So he constantly encouraged me before I joined Granada. We were friends and it was just incredible, a burst of huge energy, completely disorganised, but very visionary, very warm.
As I say, I worked with him, we formed a little pressure group when the new Labour came in, in 1997, and they were thinking about the governance of the north west, and eventually went along some of the Prescott model of having regional development agencies, and he wanted assemblies to scrutinise them. But the referendum in the North East of England went down, and a young Dominic Cummings ensuring that the north east did not get an assembly. And that was a time of great thought about the north west being very much more for self-government. And we’ve tried other models since. We’ve now got directly elected mayors. And I always sort of think, what would Tony be making of Andy Burnham and Steve Rotherham? So he would be the outstanding person that I miss.
Bob (Greaves) was a great guy to work with. He’d come from a strong journalistic background. He was great fun to work with. The whole gang really. It was Mark Gorton. We used to have a lot of fun.