Luise Fitzwalter on Granada’s coverage of the Hillsborough tragedy


I mean, what happened to me with Hillsborough was that we…no mobile phones. We had these zapper things, can you remember, they buzzed to tell you to ring somebody. And it so happened that I kept them my children have their first professional haircut at Kendal’s that afternoon and I turned my zapper off. And as we came back to the car park at Granada, I noticed that the car park was full, and people were banging on the windows of the newsroom, and somebody came running out and said, “There’s been this terrible tragedy.” And I went in with the kids and I couldn’t find our nanny, who was off for the weekend. And at about one o’clock in the morning, I managed to find a neighbour, or my secretary did, and my children were asleep under the desks by then. They were eight and 10, I think. And we taxied them round to this neighbour.

And the next morning I went to Liverpool and we did this programme. It was it was really heart-warming because I had sent teams to Liverpool, and I’d got a producer who was already in Sheffield because he was watching the match, and what happened was that because we were Granada Reports, they would talk to us, but they wouldn’t talk to anybody else. And you know, they were spitting about the press, and everybody came in to Liverpool for this service, to make the service… even tea ladies came back, you know, so we had hot butties and everything.

We had people who’d actually lost relatives on staff. And it was terribly emotional, and it was very, very good. And ITV – this is why ITV were so awful – ITV, and Steve Morrison could not persuade them to lose more than two slots for advertising, and so we had to come out of our own broadcast 15 minutes early, and do a sort of… we had to go to a priest to say something outside while the world took our feed! It was so irritating. I mean, this is where the commercial world and common sense just don’t enter into it. Because they could have run all those afterwards. I mean, there were millions of viewers from all over the world. It was just ridiculous. All that week – I wrote a huge report for Plowright on what happened – and all that week, because of the Sun and everything else, nobody else got interviews, and we got them all. And we promised that we wouldn’t film inside the churches, and we didn’t. We promised that if people broke down we would cut it, and we did, and we got enormous warmth and support. And our reporters of course, people like Ged Clark were in tune, you know, and very, very able to talk to the people who had lost people. And it was very obvious that Liverpool particularly felt that we’d come to their city and that we worked in that city. I don’t think I’ve ever felt that with Manchester, but I certainly felt it with Liverpool. And they used this material when they were doing a franchise application because it showed we were local to our area.


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