Roland Coburn on how Granada changed in the late 80’s and early 90’s

So the company begins to change, in the late eighties and into the early nineties?

Yes. It almost seemed to come at the same time as Maxwell took over the Mirror, because he moved into the Mirror, which was in Manchester — because I knew people that worked at the Mirror — and all of a sudden all their little extras had started to go. They were cutting the budgets down. All this free drinking and free this and that all went out of the window. At the same time, it seemed Granada then started cutting down on this; you couldn’t get budgets to do that; we can’t afford it. ‘I want four days filming.’ ‘No, you can only have one day filming.’ The whole thing started coming down to money, which was a great shame, because, obviously, there were more and more channels opening. So ITV didn’t have a monopoly on all of the advertising. Once the advertising revenues start to drop, you can’t afford the same kind of money for the programmes.

And the company had been taken over?

The company had been taken over and, ultimately, everybody who takes over a company, all they want to do is make money, and to make money, you have to start cutting corners. And they cut corners quite drastically in those days. ……

Let’s talk a little bit about the way the company did change.

There were changes. When David Plowright lost his position on the board. He was on holiday at the time. People had moved in and moved him out. He knew straightaway once that had started, that was the end of the road. Not necessarily for Granada, but the end of the road of the family feeling. Because these people that had come in, all they were interested in was pounds, shillings and pence. That’s all that they wanted to know: how much money they could make; how much could they save; could they do this; could they do that. From that point onwards, it then lost all the family connections and it got very hard and bitter, because people who’d been at Granada from day one always remembered what it was like and compared it to what it had gone on to be, and it was never, never the same.


Even now, if people talk to me, most of the time you can’t help but talk about the ‘good old days’. You don’t really talk about the days when various money men had moved in. That saw the demise of Granada Television.

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