Stephen Kelly senses Granada on the cusp of change

I very much got the sense, particularly into the 80s – and this is one of the reasons why I left – but from the mid 80s onwards, Channel 4 had started, and Channel 4 had broken things up and introduced these production companies. And there was the threat of the 1990 Broadcasting Act. And if you looked at the Act and what it was trying to do, you could foresee what was going to happen. And slowly, people were leaving Granada, particularly producers, and setting up their own production companies. Claudia Milne had gone off and set up 2020, but other people were leaving as well. And you could see what was happening. And I vividly remember there was a big meeting in Studio 60 of the entire shop. By this time, I had become quite active in the Union. But the entire shop met to discuss something. And I remember I stood up at this meeting and I said, “I’m going to predict here that everyone in this room, or 90% of the people in this room, in two or three years’ time, will all be freelanced. They’ll have all been made redundant by this company and they’ll all be on freelance contracts.” And I remember Malcolm Foster, who was the shop steward, saying, “Oh, it’s all right, shouting these things out, we don’t know this at all.” I was right. They were. And you could see it was going to happen. The whole thing was beginning to break up. I’d left before Charles Allen and Gerry Robinson came in, but you could see what was going on.

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