Tim Sullivan on Granada’s regional identity

I thought I had it great identity. Of course, it had two of the worst football clubs in the world. But aside from that, it took a while to get used to because it’s like going to a new school, isn’t it? Before I made friends, I didn’t really understand it. So I would pootle off to London as soon as I could. As soon as I got the director’s job, I left London, I moved to Manchester and bought a house because I thought, “I could embrace this,” which was great.

Another great encourager at Granada, when I’d worked on Granada Reports, I’d struck up a rapport with Tony Wilson. I wasn’t alone there, many, many people did. And so, within a few months, I didn’t have anywhere to live. I ended up living in Tony’s house with him one summer. So, I quickly had the virtues of the north west and Manchester and the endlessly repeated story of driving down to present Nationwide and turning around at Watford Gap station. If I had a pound… but I loved Tony, as did most people. He became a great, great friend, as he did with many people. When I came up to direct Cold Feet he was one of the first people that got in touch, we went out for dinner.

Manchester clearly had a really interesting cultural identity; which Granada was very responsive to. And you had these wonderful filmmakers, like Peter Carr who made City, the documentary, which is like the golden age of documentaries. And then in local television, you had people, all those from the north east, like Tony Bulley, making programmes like This England, which were great portraits of the north west by people who were interested in the north west and understood it. Local programmes, I would stick my neck out and go local programmes might have been a chore for other broadcasters in the ITV network, but it was a fundamental of Bernstein’s ethos. And it reflected that, it was a north west company that made really good programmes about and for the north west.

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