It was a really good company. It was an innovative company, but it made its mind up about you in a way. It categorised you.
Yes, it did.
And as I say, rightly or wrongly, I would’ve left Granada after that directors’ board, because what it meant was, it wasn’t that they weren’t giving it to me then, they were probably never going to give it to me, probably. You reached the threshold. And that’s a kind of criticism in a way. I look back on it, a friend of mine went to the RSC at the same time as I went to Granada, he’s become a film director. We both were at school together; we both came out of university together. Well, he’s a bit older than me. And when I was at Granada and he was at the RSC, we didn’t see each other for a few years. And then when we met, we’re still great friends to this day, I said to him, “Talking to you about the RSC, Granada was my RSC.” That’s what it was. And it was an extraordinary company. And that influence of the Bernsteins ran all the way down.
It was a very caring company. I remember I was sent off; I was researching Arts Quiz for Nicholas Ferguson. And I was sent to interview Patrick Heron, the great artist, in Chelsea, and I went to meet him to be a guest on the show. Delightful man. Lived mostly in Cornwall, did those big abstracts, and we had one in committee room B.
And when I got back to go and look at it, I was appalled to see that on the bottom right hand corner, there was a huge spray of dried coffee. No respect. So I called Plowright. I said, “I’ve just been to see Patrick Heron. I don’t think it’s going to do arse shit, but what do you think he would think?” It’s not a glass in case, this is on the canvas. The coffee’s on the canvas. “What the fuck do you think he’d say if he came up to Granada and saw that painting?” And the painting was gone within a week and restored and was back. That’s what Granada was like.
Mind you, by the same token, my friend James Maw, who became a producer and who I used to do stand-up comedy with before he came up to Granada, said that it was appalling that the Bernsteins had this wonderful art collection and no one knew anything about it. The management didn’t care, no one cared. To prove his point, he did an abstract door, had it framed and hung it up next to the lifts in reception. And it stayed there for 10 years!