Roland Coburn on Granada as a company and employer

It was a brilliant company to work for. Everybody seemed to want to do their best for the company. Everyone said, ‘I work for Granada Television, because they make the best programmes’, and they did. Jewel in the Crown, Brideshead Revisited: these wonderful dramas that they would make, and they would spend a lot of money on them and made them look good.

Some of the documentaries like The Christians — which I was lucky enough to be an assistant on — were great programmes. It always made you feel very proud to work for Granada. Even now, I say, ‘I work for Granada’, and not ITV. As far as I’m concerned, Granada was the one and always will be, because the original caption always said: ’From the north, Granada presents.’

You made wonderful programmes there, but what about it as a company? Was it a good company to work for in the way it treated its employees?

They always wanted their pound of flesh, and the hours could be quite difficult and quite challenging. But ultimately, you always did it, because you did think, these are the best programmes to work for and, in hindsight, this is the best TV company to work for. You always thought you were better than the BBC. I’m sure people would argue that point, but as far as I was concerned, Granada’s were the great programmes.

It was run by people who liked to make films. Mr Plowright did make films; he knew what it took. The people that ran Granada always knew what was involved in making decent programmes. I’m not so sure that’s the case these days. I’m not sure how many people who run TV companies have actually made any programmes. That’s the big difference.

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