Trevor Hyett on Granada and the North

I think to work for Granada you had to buy into the non-metropolitan attitude, and that was a source of great pride as well actually. It wasn’t just a northern thing about ‘soft southerners’ or anything clichéd of that sort, it was, we are a distinct culture actually, and Sidney knew that, even though he himself, you know, took the Granada… basically he wanted the franchise, he’d had a similar chain called Granada before he took over the franchise in the north. I think it was very specific, yes. I know I never encountered anything like it elsewhere. Was it characteristic of the region? It had to be in part. It couldn’t not be.
And the fact a lot of their dramas were… you know, the fact they had people like Arthur Hopcraft working for them, you know, the playwrights they had working for them. People overlook Granada – well, we don’t – but if you talk to people generally they overlook the impact Granada Television has on television drama, which was bloody huge. And Sidney’s refusal… Coronation Street is a serial drama; it’s not a soap opera. That’s what other people do. Crossroads might be a soap opera, Coronation Street is a drama series, or a serial drama, or something of that kind – and I think that embodied… you know, that couldn’t come from anywhere else, nor could they have done… this is of the region, and this seemed to resonate throughout the country. I’d love to know if there were regional variations of viewership of Coronation Street, whether the south east liked it as much as the north east, and so on. What the identification was. Region by region. Because to me it was completely real. Like all of us, we knew the characters, we certainly knew the locations, and we knew the experiences – we’d grown up with them. I can’t speak for anybody down here because I didn’t grow up down here, but… I think the answer to your question is yes, it was something to do with the invisible spirit, but nonetheless a very definitely spirit.

It’s interesting, that regional mix, as you say, against something like World in Action, which had a global international… they did look out, they weren’t looking in all the time.
Yes, definitely very outward-looking, but with a perspective that wasn’t shaped by the southern bubble, what they call now the Whitehall/Westminster bubble. Yes, it had a different take. Manchester, of course, historically, also had a different view of the world from London, and…

Somebody said to us it was like the TV version of the Manchester Guardian.
Yes, insofar as it was quite open, you know, which goes back to what we were talking about ages ago with the… there’s a real tolerance of different, and even competing, views which I think was taken as normal, and as grist for the every day mill, whereas what I encountered at Thames was there was a right way of thinking and a wrong way of thinking, which I didn’t encounter anything (like that?) at Granada, it was kind of more, “That’s interesting,” not, “That’s a load of old shit.”

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