Michael Ryan on Granada’s relationship with the North West

What was interesting about the local programming was that apart from university I hadn’t really lived outside London and being in Manchester was actually quite an education for me. The sixties were the last decade of Manchester as the industrial city. The buses to Old Trafford used to be choked at 6:30 in the morning and you still felt that you were in a kind of L.S. Lowry town. The local programmes were things that people took very seriously. If you were filming with, say, Scott, he was such a famous local personality you would literally be mobbed. I know it sounds bizarre. It was extraordinary the kind of power the local presenters had. Brian Trueman, he was particularly talented.

Most of those presenters were from the North West.

They were. Bill Grundy wasn’t in the local scene much but he was doing other things for Granada.

 Do you think that those local presenters helped galvanise that relationship with the North West and the public persona of Granada becoming?

Yes, I do. I think the obvious thing is to point at things like Coronation Street but it was the local programmes five nights a week that really did it. You always had enormous fan mail. I remember Scott and other people would measure their fan mail with rulers and would have fights amongst themselves about who was the star of the week, and all that sort of stuff! A lot of people there were not there for very long, but it was also the world of the ex-journalist. Our generation were the first of the university graduated. I know there are exceptions both ways but the Granada management were not people with degrees, apart from Denis Forman. They’d worked their way through. They’d been either in Fleet Street or in regional newspapers. And there were some very talented people there. I remember Barry Cockcroft, he died years ago, but he was the one who did those famous Yorkshire documentaries about, Hannah (Hauxwell) on the snow-capped mountains of the Yorkshire Dales, and farming. Very like Dennis Mitchell, that kind of production where you’re not intervening at all, you’re recording the voices of the workers. Malcolm Lynch, he was a good writer. You learned quite a lot from those people; how to turn something round quickly. John Slater, much later, he was around for a long time, and he really felt that it was more important than the national programmes. I think there is something to be said for that argument. You were more in touch with the audience in that regional sense, which would include things like football, stating the obvious.

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