Jon Woods’s impressions of Granada as a company

I’d always thought that I would become a cameraman. When I was a youngster, so before I was a teenager, sort of eight, nine, 10, black and white television was just turning into colour television. I had seen a lot of images on television of cameramen working and thought, “That sounds like a great job, that.” But of course I didn’t have the artistic skills to be able to go to university to become a cameraman, but when I joined Granada it fulfilled a lot of the sort of desires I’d had within me to work in the place. I passed the Quay Street headquarters of Granada many times on the bus going home – I was born and brought up in Salford – so I regularly came out of central Manchester, past the Quay Street… and you could look, on the upstairs of the bus, over the wall into the car park, and wondered what on earth was going on there. So it was like a fulfilment of a dream, you know, from a guy from Salford, to get a job with the company, it was like a very large family, and I know that has been said quite a lot about Granada, it’s a big family, but what it was, and my over-riding memory of the place was how welcoming it was. Even though it was a union-based company – I had worked on stuff at the BBC, which was no union at all – and joining Granada with an ACTT ticket was great, but everybody was very friendly, and the one thing, as the months went on, when you worked on a variety of projects, you got to know everybody from the security man at the gate, the canteen staff, the chippies and the painters in the construction shop, the sparks, right the way through to the management, through the various departmental managers to some of the higher ones, into the cash office, and it was really… everybody knew you by name, which I think is quite unusual in a company of over 1,000 staff based in Manchester. So certainly my initial impressions were that it was a very friendly company, but secondly also a very forward-looking company. It was one of the major four ITV companies, and had a wonderful, wonderful record for making great television programmes, from the local news right through to top end drama. So a good company, I thought, to work for, and it was a good company… would make me leave the BBC, I had a nice job at the BBC in film ops, film operations, there, so it was very tempting to come back to the north west, my home town, and to work for a company that I really wanted to work for.


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