NEWS

Monday 11 January

Last week, it was announced that Michael Apted, the former Granada director and creator of the Seven Up! series, sadly passed away.

Michael joined Granada Television in 1963 as a researcher and a year later, as a World In Action researcher.

He helped set up the first Seven Up! Initially the programme was meant as a one-off but seven years later he had the idea of following up on their lives. His final contribution was to the 63 Up! programme which was broadcast in 2019. Michael also worked on Coronation Street in its early days and directed many other Granada programmes.

He directed a number of major movies including Gorky Park, Coal Miner’s Daughter, Nell and the James Bond film The World Is Not Enough.

You can find the Guardian’s obituary here. You can also find an interview with Michael, recorded some 20 years ago, on the Granadaland website, under Coronation
Street.

Monday 7 December

Happy birthday Corrie, 60 years old and still going strong.

There are lots of interviews with those who have worked on Coronation Street on this website. Some were recorded for the 40 th anniversary with memories of those early programmes from the actors, writers, producers and production staff. Well worth a read.

Wednesday 2 December

An interview with Paul Greengrass has now been uploaded onto the site. In his interview Paul talks about his time working in the sports department at Granada under Paul Doherty and the making of the Louis Edwards World In Action programme.

Read it here.

Wednesday 25 November

Here’s an article we came across from 2018 about the ‘irreverent men of World In Action’. Well worth a read.

Many will not remember The Stables as a theatre company. It was opened in January 1969 on the old terminus of the Liverpool/Manchester railway line next to the Granada building. It functioned as a theatre for many years and then became a bar until the 1980s when the Old School took over.

This is an original brochure sent to us from Gordon McDougall, one of the founding members.

Gordon has also agreed to write us a brief history of the theatre, which will appear in due course.

Sunday 12 July

We were very sorry to hear of the death of Gordon MacGregor on Monday 6 July 2020 after a two-year battle with cancer. 

He was a well-liked and respected cameraman who spent much of his career at Granada TV. 

His friend and colleague, Lawrence Jones, has written an account of his life in television.

Sunday 21 June

We’ve just posted excerpts from our interview with Tim Sullivan. Tim joined Granada as a researcher in 1981 with Judy Finnigan as his ‘mother’ and went on to become a director, mainly working in drama.  After leaving Granada in 1994 he wrote and directed the film ‘Jack and Sarah’ and has just published his first novel ‘The Dentist’. He has some fascinating memories, particularly of Sidney Bernstein, and his good friend, Derek Granger – who we’ve also interviewed.

Friday 5 June

We’ve just done a fascinating and revealing interview with Jim Grant (aka the best-selling author Lee Child). Hopefully it will be up on the website sometime in June. Jim tells me that he is retiring for good from writing. He had already agreed to hand over the famous Jack Reacher character to his brother who is also a thriller writer but he has also decided that he will not write any more books. When I spoke to him the other day he was quietly settling into retirement in Laramie, Wyoming. Good luck to him.

Paul Greengrass has sent me a copy of an article he wrote for GQ magazine some years ago. You can access it here. It’s well worth a read.

Kim Horton has been nominated for a BAFTA for his work as an editor on 63 UP. Congratulations Kim. You can hear our interview with Kim here.

Saturday 16 May

We were sad to learn of the death in April 2020 for former Granada employee Neil Parker. Neil was a Broadcast Engineer who became known as a ‘Colourist’ or colour grader, in the early nineties. He worked on a range of programmes at Granada including True Romance, Best Boys, Moll Flanders and The Street and later on some of the most significant UK dramas produced in the last decade.

Monday 11 May

We have just recorded an interview with Paul Greengrass which hopefully will be uploaded onto the website in a few weeks’ time. In the interview Paul talks about working with Paul Doherty, his World In Action programme on Louis Edwards and Manchester United, and being air bombed by Israeli jets in Palestine.

Dorothy Byrne recently appeared on Desert Island Discs and talked at length about her days at Granada. You can hear her choice of records on the BBC website.

We are sad to report the death of John Hesketh after a long illness. John was a sound engineer working for much of his Granada career out of the Liverpool office. With his tweed jackets and pipe, John was a memorable character at Exchange Flags and the Albert Dock. Our condolences to his wife, Sandra Greenwood, who also worked at Granada for many years.

The recent death of Little Richard brought to mind the famous gig he did at Granada in November 1963. Produced by Johnnie Hamp the show featured a live audience dancing and standing around his piano and is generally regarded not only as ground breaking but one of the greatest TV rock and roll concerts ever screened. It was transmitted in January 1964 and can be viewed below.

Thursday 30 April

We have been working hard over the last few weeks to upload the transcripts and audio of all of the interviews that we have conducted so far for Granadaland.

Interviews with Daphne HughesSita Williams and Nick Steer have now been added to our pages. Our thanks to all three of them for agreeing to take part.

We have just recorded an interview with director Tim Sullivan. Hopefully this will be uploaded in the coming weeks and will be posted on the website – watch this space!

Congratulations to Derek Granger, producer of Brideshead Revisited and The Jewel in the Crown, on recently reaching his 99th birthday. You can read more about his fascinating life and career in the interviewees section of this website.

We were sad to learn of the death in February this year of producer Brian Armstrong, aged 86. Brian joined the company in 1958 and was with Granada for over 30 years, working as a producer on Coronation Street, World In Action, What the Papers Say, The Cuckoo Waltz and the 1988 drama Game, Set and Match. He was probably the only person to work as a senior producer in factuals, locals, comedy and drama departments. Our condolences to his wife Christine and family. An obituary of Brian appeared in The Guardian.

We are also sad to report the death of cameraman Mike Popley. Mike worked as a cameraman on a wide range of Granada programmes from locals to World In Action. Always a popular character Mike would take huge risks in order to get the best shots, usually while the director wasn’t looking ! He will be much missed, particularly by Judy his wife, who also worked at Granada for many years.

Barry Hairsine also sadly died on 20th April in Salford Royal Hospital of Covid-19. He had been in hospital for two weeks after returning from Cyprus on a ‘rescue’ flight. Barry was a cameraman with BBC Manchester and later moved to Granada where he became a Lighting Director and lit Coronation Street. Our condolences to his wife Dianne.