John Huntley on the strong bonds that existed between Granada staff


I thought that was the most extraordinary thing about Granada, one of the most extraordinary things, but you just get to chatting to people like Leslie Woodhead, people like Ray Fitzwalter, not that he was in the bar that often, but you just got to know everybody. One of the reasons, I think, is because the technical crews, particularly the film crews, you would work with a cameraman like David Odd, Mike Popley or somebody, who the next minute would be going off and working on Brideshead Revisited. There was all that sort of mix in – it was very… what’s the phrase? ‘Flat management’, I think is the phrase. Though I was told at the time, I don’t know how true this is – I think Bob Greaves told me this – that a memo was sent out by Sidney Bernstein along the lines of: ‘It has come to my attention, as the company has grown, people are no longer referring to one another by their first names. Let me be quite clear, no matter how big the company becomes, no matter how grand the senior positions will be, first names will always be used, whoever is talking to whomever. Signed, The Chairman’


And he sent that to everybody as a memo?

Yes! but signed ‘The Chairman’.


A number of people have made that point about first name terms.

Also I remember on one occasion, I was a new producer, I’d never met Denis Forman, and I was in awe of this man. I remember the day exactly because it was after the Warrington Messenger, the Eddie Shah, all of that kerfuffle, and we had a crew out, waiting for the doors to open and the picket lines to be cast asunder, and we pulled the crew at 4am because at this stage, the computation, I forget how many T they were on, and I was producing, and I kind of resigned at the time, I was absolutely furious, I was up sort of arguing the toss with Mike Scott or Rod Caird or somebody persuaded me not to resign, I was furious. The BBC got the pictures and we didn’t have them. But anyway, it involved being up most of the night, and the following evening I had been invited up to the flat, which I had never been to, to take part in a discussion with Denis Forman about the future of regional arts, and anyway, so I went up with Steve Hawes in the lift – because only one list went up to the flat – and there, coming towards me was Denis Forman who said, “Hello, I’m Denis. If you’re very tired, would you like to stay for the night?” And I thought, “What?! Am I being propositioned?” but what he meant was, he knew I’d been up all night the previous night working on this story, and that I would be shattered and if I wanted to, there were spare beds in the flat. And I thought that was extraordinary, that he had gone to the trouble of finding out a bit about me, I thought that was wonderful. But that was typical of the company; I always thought that was great.

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