June Buchan talks about Granada as a company

Can we talk about Granada as a company. I mean what kind of company do you have it, how do you see it as a company…

Then I saw it as a family firm. I thought they looked after their staff incredibly well, the Bernsteins were still there. It did feel like one great big family and my other memory is which I quite often say to people was that in those days it was just a sea of denim. You know you’d go into the canteen and everyone was in denim or kaftans, it was an extraordinary time. And then by the time, by the time I got back and had finished my degree it had really begun to change, it began to feel like an insurance company or something, everyone was walking around in sharp suits.

This would be into the later 80’s?

Yeah, yeah. It really felt like it had changed. I can’t remember that Cyril died and Cecil carried on, I can’t quite remember what happened there but it felt, the atmosphere felt completely different. In the early days I felt like, well I don’t know it was things like, if you had problems, they would help you. If you had personal problems, they would help you, they would look after you, there was a company doctor, all those things that made you feel valued, yes valued, that’s a good word. And that all seemed to disappear. It was probably about the time when, it was about the time when individual companies were starting up and they weren’t taking on any more freelances. I remember I couldn’t get back on staff but they were also not taking on any more freelances. They were using out of house facilities and I think in a way that was probably, that was probably what destroyed the family feeling of the company really because before everything had been done in-house apart from props. I know they used to use huge prop warehouses around Manchester but before you used to feel that everything about a programme was done in house, the graphics, the filming, the props, the set – it was all done by the company and that was a good feeling. You’d walk down the canteen through the props department and see the guys who were making the props for your programme, have a chat with them. I think the thing was then, you could talk to anyone, it didn’t really matter whether you were a PA or a designer or a graphic designer or a make-up artist or whatever. Everyone spoke to each other and you all felt equal in a way. That ‘s my memory of it anyway. Had it not been my obsession to be a photographer I probably would have stayed happily for a few years but I think by the time the accountants came in and started shaking the place up I’m not sure I would have been happy for much longer really. It all seemed to be very, very cut-throat and very stripped bare. There didn’t seem to be room in some way for people to be creative, perhaps in the way they had been before because they’d been given time. It was all too time-tight by then whereas my best memories are of sitting around, banging ideas around ‘we could do this, what about that?’ and it was kind of an organic process whereas later on it felt very machine, very manufactured, yeah that’s it, I can’t think of the right word really, manufactured rather than created.

Yes, formulaic

Formulaic, yes that’s it, that’s it even to extent that I noticed it on World In Action towards the end although that was one of the best programmes but somehow it seemed to develop a kind of formula. And then it got to the point where things were being repeated all the time, we’d come back from a commercial break and you’d have the whole synopsis of the programme again you’d think ‘we’re not idiots, we do understand’ but somehow that seemed to be happening across the board really. So yeah I just feel as though I was there at an incredibly exciting time.

Leave a Reply