What was happening all at this same time, it was the late ‘70s, the Granada franchise was up for renewal. And Granada had got spooked by this man called Terry Smith who ran Radio City in Liverpool. Radio City had started about four or five years earlier. It had been a big success commercially. And Terry Smith was now saying that Granada was too Manchester dominated. There was no real television service for Liverpool and Merseyside and North Wales. That everything that happened on Granada was… if it happened west of the M6, they weren’t interested. And he launched this campaign, I think first of all to take away Granada’s… He was going to challenge Granada’s licence. But then he came up with a plan B which was to try and split the transmitter so that even if he didn’t get the whole of the franchise, he would try and take Liverpool and North Wales and split the Granada franchise. This really spooked Granada. I don’t think it was ever going to happen. I don’t think, actually, physically it could happen. Yes. The IBA were not going to take that off Granada. But anyway, Granada got spooked.
So they went on a big Liverpool recruitment drive. Chris Pye was sent to be head of Liverpool. And a lot of people, because I was so much younger, a lot of the people I worked with were much older than me. Eight, 10 years older. But they all knew me. I’d been around quite a bit. And there were two people in particular who both worked in Liverpool who got jobs at Granada. One was Michael Short. The other one was John Toker. I worked with both of them really, really closely. And they were lobbying Granada… Steve Morrison, head of local programmes, to take me on. And as I was leaving my local reporter group that day, I went to see Steve. But I was being offered a job by the Liverpool Echo at that time as well. So he felt, I was only 19, he thought it was probably better if I went and did a year on the Liverpool Echo. You know, “Do that.”
19, yes. Or at least, “Go and do the Echo first, then we can talk again.” And in fact, I only did 10 months on the Echo. And then Granada came back, because they were going to properly open the Liverpool office. Because while people like John and Mike had been hired, they were still working out of Manchester. And what Granada wanted to do now was open an office, which they were going to do… a production office with a studio in Exchange Flags. So I was hired. Chris was the head of Granada Liverpool, but I was working with John Toker, Marian Nelson. Gill Hallifax was our person on reception. And John and I would be making daily news reports for Granada Reports.
So what year was this?
This was November 1978