Roland Coburn describes how his parents’ careers at Granada influenced him

And your mum and dad had worked in Granada as well?

Mother was, in fact, David Plowright’s secretary, in the very early days, and also helped Sir Denis Forman out as well. Then she became a PA. Father was a researcher on Scene at Six Thirty — or People and Places, as it started — and things like that. He eventually left Granada and went to the BBC, and was on things like Dee Time — as in Simon Dee — so that shows you how long ago that was. He used to write as well.

But Mother stayed with Granada until she eventually retired. She became what I would call one of the top PAs. At the weekends, she did all the football on the Saturday and all the church services on the Sunday. Football she loved. She was also a PA on the World Cup as well. Because she spoke six languages, it was useful to have a PA talking to other companies in their language, to say when they could change camera angles or do anything they wanted to do. She was also the PA on the original royal wedding of Charles and Di. She did quite a fair bit.

Did you mean the 1966 World Cup?

Yes. She loved sport, which helped. She kept doing the football for many, many years.

Your mother was German?

She was, yes. She’d been an interpreter during the war for one of the British armies, and then met Father out there and was given permission to come and live in England. You had to get official permission from the government, and various other bits and pieces, in those days.

So you must be well-steeped in this Granada tradition? 

I suppose I was lucky at an early age, because I never wanted to do anything else but work in television. There was never a thought of: do I want to do this, or do I want to be a doctor or a lorry driver? I’d always wanted to work in television. Originally, I wanted to be a cameraman, but the opportunity never quite arose so I went down the editing route and have done that ever since I left Granada.

Leave a Reply