Steve Leahy on the success of Busman’s Holiday


One of the best moments for me was, we’d done a pilot of Busman’s Holiday, and it was accepted by Granada, by Mike Scott and co., to go to series. And in those days they would dictate and tell the network, “We’ve got a new series for you.” It wasn’t a question of going to a panel or anything like that. And obviously the series looked nothing like the pilot but that’s life. They commissioned the first series and we shot it, and transmission was going to be Wednesday nights at 7 o’clock. And on the Tuesday, the day before the transmission of the first show, Mike Scott sent for me and I went up to the sixth floor to his office, at 6 o’clock, and he opened a bottle of champagne, and said, “I love the show, it’s absolutely terrific. Second series commissioned.” And we hadn’t even gone on air. That was the biggest kick ever. Wonderful. I can remember the moment. Absolutely fabulous. You felt like, “Yes!” And we got 14 million the next night, but you would in those days, preceding the Street, which is probably getting 20. But that was just fabulous.

By then you were Head of Entertainment? You went from Children’s to Head of Entertainment?

 Yes, I look over from Johnnie Hamp.

Was Busman’s Holiday your creation?

Yes, completely. Busman’s Holiday was born out of… after the Film Exchange there was a bar opposite Granada, down some steps. ….. And I can remember coming out of that after lunch one day, as one did, and it’s pissing with rain, with umbrellas and all that, making the hop across the Granada, and thinking, we’ve got to write something that gets us out of this bloody weather and place! Manchester, not Granada. And it just literally then occurred to me over the next few days, the idea of travel and occupations, and the title came naturally. And off we went.

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