Jules Burns on the three generations of Granada

It seems to me that there were three generations of Granada. There was the ‘56 to probably the mid 70s, which was probably the most exciting time. Then the mid 70s through to the 90s was probably the fattest time, when you know, everybody got a bit lazy and it was all a bit easy and a bit self-indulgent. Then from the 90s, late 80s through to early 2000 when I left, was the tough competitor time, when it turned itself into a business. I think the first period, it clearly was a business, because it almost went bust. And, I think it was very difficult. The middle was the bit that everybody seems to remember with affection, but I think it was probably the least interesting. Except one or two good programmes were made, but there was also quite a lot of not very good programmes made.

That period was a lot of fun, I can tell.

Yes, it was a lot of fun. Everybody had a lot of fun, without much care. I mean, the only thing that ruin one’s day was the relationship with the unions, which was completely terrible in that period.

The late 70s?

Yes, 70s.

Did you have responsibility for…

Certainly, as far as directors, producers and researchers, the ACTT, one of the people I had relationship with. Malcolm Foster and then Jim, (Grant – now better known as best-selling author Lee Child).

Oh yes. What was he doing?

Jim… I can’t remember his…

Transmission controller.

Yes. He was a transmission controller.

How did you deal with the unions? I remember Mike Scott telling me that it was totally mad having to deal with the ETU, and others.

Well, some of them used to hijack us every Friday, around about 3:00. I wasn’t really involved in that. It was people like Tony (Brill) and Andrew Quinn who really dealt with the tougher issues. I was only dealing with the ACTT, which covered producers, directors, researchers and PAs. We just talked a lot. It was sort of a ride. There was a degree of realism in the ACTT as things started to change and stature rights transformed television. But it’s interesting, that era was really… management’s time was really, largely dominated by its relationship with the union. Then, in the third era, it was dominated by commercial activity, competing with the outside bodies and trying to raise money and get commissions. It was a very different era for management.


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