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10th February 2008
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I best not. :wink2:



Two interesting articles about Granada. I'm sure there's many more out there.

GRANADA

Because someone had to win.

Russ J Graham

On reflection, this is probably the most obvious choice for number one in our top ten of ITV companies of all time.

After all, Granada won. Once the dust had cleared following the attempt to collapse the system in 1993, there was only one possible company that would end up running almost all of ITV.

Central was better in presentation but ironically too far from the centre; Carlton had more money but simply didn't understand television at all in any way; Yorkshire and Meridian were never serious competitors. Only LWT could have challenged for the leadership of ITV, despite their lonely weekend contract. But Granada solved that by buying LWT first.

So Granada comes first for having come first. But this is only half the story. For the rest of the story we have to examine the Granada of old - the Granada before the dreams of ITV plc spoilt the party.

For the Granada of old was always atypical. An atypical company run by atypical businessmen producing atypical programmes with an atypical eye on its atypical region.

This was a company that started in cinemas, like ABC and (sort of) Southern; but it chose the region furthest from their cinema base rather than in the heart of it.

The men in charge of the company were hard-bitten, driven business tycoons who were proudly members of... the Labour Party, and later vocal Labour peers.

The ITV contract required them to make network programmes to inform, entertain and educate; Granada did this, but added an extra step: its programmes would also provoke. Everything it produced would have an edge to it. Comedies with a social point to make. Documentaries designed to inflame. Entertainment that left a message behind. Current affairs that turned a sideways eye on their subjects.

So its programmes were never what you would expect from a bald description in the TVTimes. In describing its output, critics and historians alike would resort to describing everything as being in some way "gritty". It was a word meant for Granada - conjuring up unexpected and unpleasant grains in the middle of something light and frothy, or the insertion of extreme discomfort into something that was suggested to be merely mildly diverting.

Above all else, Granada was the first regional-network company. It set-up shop in Manchester and immediately became part of it. Later we, and the IBA, would expect this. But in 1955/6, it was clear that the "network" companies weren't expected to have a regional presence - after all, they could be moved to another region at any time (they thought they would never be removed completely, but exile to Norwich or Newcastle was a potent unspoken threat).

But Granada became the north. For a decade, the term "Granadaland" moved up to vie with "the Northcountry" as the term used in the south to describe any godforsaken sooty towns over 2 hours away by train. For the people of the north, at 13 million the biggest of all the regions, they became citizens of Granadaland. ABC on weekends had trouble differentiating itself from ATV Midlands because the two were both light; with no effort at all, ABC was different from Granada simply by not being Granada.

When Granada were given the 7-day contract it craved, in return for giving up the territory east of the Pennines, it became even more northern. Freed of serving the distant and depressed Ridings, it could become the Manchester-is-capital-of-the-world station. One day it woke up to Liverpool and moved some operations there for a while; but Granada's heart belonged to Manchester and Greater Manchester's heart belonged to Granada's Quay Street HQ.

The atypicality extended to their on-air identity. It was colourless and, well, gritty, compared to ABC. In fact, compared to everyone else. Its continuity was designed to be a bridge between the programmes, nothing more, nothing less. Those that broke that mould, like Colin Weston, were loved only by the viewers, not by the management. Granada's identity was its programmes, not its idents and announcers.

This worked well when the programmes were second to none.

Now Granada owns almost all of ITV; its presentation standards apply to the network in the whole of England and Wales. So the presentation has not changed: it is functional and lets the programmes speak for themselves. The difference is that the programmes are now terrible rubbish.

The exceptions are probably those programmes still made by Granada in Manchester. They still speak of the quality of Granada and provide a link to that which is now past.

ITV plc has announced it wants to close and demolish the Quay Street studios

http://www.transdiffusion.org/emc/itv50/companies/01/

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Granada (pan-North)

By Kif Bowden-Smith

Granada TV, then with a contract that covered the whole of the North from Monday to Friday, was the big company most concerned with its regional identity.

This was out of step with the other major network providers A-R, ATV and ABC, who were keen to present themselves as national broadcasters, operating out of one region but speaking to the nation as a whole through networking arrangements.

Granada by contrast actually ‘adopted’ their region with a devotion that no other company managed. The company itself had its own roots in London and the south east, where the Granada Theatres cinema chain was at its strongest. In going for a provincial television contract the Bernstein brothers became enthusiastic, adopted northerners.

Like A-R, Granada was keen to present an air of respectability. It was clear that many early TV moguls had been rattled by the parliamentary opponents of commercial television and their predictions that the result would be vulgar. Britain in the post war period was still had an antipathy to naked commercialism.

Respectability was the name of the game but in the case of Granada, it was to be based on a solid, gritty Northern model. The music chosen as station signature tune and used for the first twelve years of daily start-up routines was almost jolly, but retained a strong regional flavour. By the standards of today the piece sounds almost ‘end of the pier’ in tone. It would not have seemed so at the time.

This music, commissioned by Sidney Bernstein from the almost unknown Tony Lowrie, captured what Granada was about like no other piece could have done. Gritty, northern, yet jolly and light hearted – the spirit of the firm distilled into one phrase – ‘from the North, this is Granada’ – which appears throughout, as the closing notes of every line in the main theme. The first strain of the march uses ‘G-R-A-N-A-D-A, Granada …’

Our visual example comes from 1958, when the first black and white image of the Granada symbol had given way to a newer style using various shades of grey. This was to bring some variety to an originally dull monochrome image.

At five and a half minutes, this piece exceeded ITA guidelines on length of ‘registered start-up music’ and was used with special permission of the regulator. The original instructions that accompanied the commission to the composer may have been faulty, as the pause for announcement appears to have been placed too early for permitted switch to symbol, and so after a short period of use at that point, the opening remarks were moved to a later and musically less satisfactory position in the piece.

In visual terms the symbol ‘form up’ was not at a true climax point, the result of an unsatisfactory compromise over the timing of the daily ‘Authority announcement’.

At the notional date of this start-up, the company was using the wording ‘Granada Television’ on screen in daily start-ups, but not actually saying the word ‘television’ in sound. This was standardised soon after, with the dropping of the word ‘television’ from the caption.

Granada was the only company of the major network providers to identify the region it came from on their screen trademark. The phrase ‘from the North’ became famous, though occasionally seemed out of place on Granada productions from London.

The clock, seen over the final notes of the march, was one of the glories of Granada Television. An actual clock face with a cloud background was created, the image was not electronically overlaid. The original version had serif numbering, although the typeface was later changed to a sans-serif style.

One bad habit was for the welcoming announcer to talk over the final seconds of the music, as the clock ticked up to five, listing the first children’s programmes to be seen that evening.Vision On

http://www.transdiffusion.org/emc/visionon/granada-north.php

More on Granada from EOM.

http://www.eyeonmanchester.com/inde...ars_ago/granada_television_launch_3_may_1956/
 

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Cowboy of Love
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I think we should celebrate by demolishing the very building that symbolises both Manchester's post war reconstruction and Manchester's place at the very heart of this country's popular culture.
 

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van het noorden
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Cheers for posting that jerbers.

AFAIK, Granada (and I mean the entire company, and not just the TV station) was always headquartered in London. To my dismay, I happened upon their corporate HQ building, somewhere near Carnaby St, in about 1989.

Tsk.

And their merger with Carlton and effective commissioning move to that said city, is a great big wolloping cop-out. Ultimately, there's an issue about highly-paid directors and senior staff wanting to be based in the Capital. The same is true of The British Council, who never effectively based themselves in Manchester, even though that it was they were supposed to have done. Bah.....
 

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10th February 2008
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Jongeman said:
Cheers for posting that jerbers.

AFAIK, Granada (and I mean the entire company, and not just the TV station) was always headquartered in London. To my dismay, I happened upon their corporate HQ building, somewhere near Carnaby St, in about 1989.

Tsk.
It's soul has always been in Manchester though. Sorry, I meant the North west. :runaway:
 

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10th February 2008
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Jongeman said:
Yes, huge faux pas there. So glad you corrected yourself :)
**** it Jongeman!

Granada's soul has always belonged to Manchester!

Good night and God bless! :)
 

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I think almost everyone in Liverpool would agree with you on that one, Jerby

Granada did make some great programmes for the network back in the day.
 

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van het noorden
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Where's Granada News broadcast from now? Does that Granada News Centre still exist at Albert Dock?

They relocated there (AND QUITE RIGHTLY TOO! for the record) because there were complaints from Liverpool that there was no presence there whatsoever.
 

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Granada News is based in Manchester again. They closed down the Liverpool newsroom not long after they won the franchise again. Ho hum.

Granada still own the Albert Dock Dock Traffic Office building, which they don't use much. They are selling it to be used on an extension of the Merseyside Maritime Museum that will be an international centre for research into the transatlantic slave trade.

They have agree to take some space in the Royal Liver Building once they vacate the Albert Dock, so they'll maintain some presence in the city. It'll be little more than a room for interviews, and some office space I expect.

Hopefully, with the closure of Quay Street, Manchester won't end up equally poorly served by the new London-focussed ITV.
 

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I did an entire presentation on Friday in Media Studies, basically slagging off Granada and the way ITV is going. Although the regional franchises are going under, Granada still hold the reigns over ITV... which is probably why they are moving a significant amount of their operation to London. So they are responsible for the ongoing demise of ITV.
 

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van het noorden
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Faced with increasing pressure, and especially advertising revenue competition with satellite stations, I suppose they're in a re-grouping phase. So London it has to be.

Awayo, that's pretty shit. Where in the franchise does it say that a bidder has to represent its audience, in terms of physical presence and production? Probably nowhere.

ITV in the regions now involves just Emmerdale and Coronation St, and that's about all.
 

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Cowboy of Love
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In an age when technology allows the media to be less centralised we are in fact seeing more and more of the media ending up in London.
Granada has a long and rich heritage of quality and innovative broadcasting yet it is being whittled down to more or less Coronation Street (or Corrie as it seems to have been rebranded into by fucking lazy fuckwits in London).
Manchester used have offices for all the major newspapers and now we have The Daily fucking Sport!
Programmes like World in Action were literally life changing. Now Manchester is the proud home of Stars In Your Cunting Eyes!
 

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van het noorden
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^^ Grrrr you're not wrong.

But don't forget The Guardian, which still purports to having an editorial presence in Manchester.

The Guardian regularly publish articles about the resurgence of Manchester as a media hub and its general commercial growth , without ever fucking admitting that they were partly responsible for its demise in the first place.

The stupid *****. I used to buy it, now I don't bother.

I asked my mum about this once, and she said that when they decamped to London in the early 1970s, there was a lot of resentment and hurt up here. I can imagine.
 

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Cowboy of Love
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There is a great book called The Other Fleet Street all about newspapers in Manchester.
Dont get me started on this but to add insult to injury not only did they close everything down (btw i think you can count full time Guardian staff in Manchester in single figures nowadays) but most of the Manchester produced issues were never catalogued and archived.
The Observer (which is part of the Guardian group) is full of northerners and yet it never fails to be the most ridiculously Londoncentric pile of nonsense commited to newsprint.
You will often see my name in the letters page moaning about the M25 mentality of The Guardian and their complete dismissal of their origins.
 

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van het noorden
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I'll look out for that in the letters page, even though I buy the thing about once a month, if they're lucky.

When you think about it (as I often do), it's a fucking disgrace.
 

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Less is more.
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It's a shame that Granada's quality programming is now reduced to a pile of Saturday evening kids in front of the TV singing and dancing celebrity crap. I hate TV these days, It's rarely on in my house. Time was when "The North" created without a doubt the best drama and current affairs programs on television, we've still got a few, Cracker etc but it has slowly been watered down to play to it's[ITV LONDON] target audience, ie: Thick people who sit there going "ooh look, that's him out of Coronation St doing Elvis, int he really good" Like there aren't enough proper singers out there..sometimes I feel like I'm living in the middle of a celebrity wank fest.They're everywhere FFS!
 

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Awayo said:
Granada News is based in Manchester again. They closed down the Liverpool newsroom not long after they won the franchise again. Ho hum.

Granada still own the Albert Dock Dock Traffic Office building, which they don't use much. They are selling it to be used on an extension of the Merseyside Maritime Museum that will be an international centre for research into the transatlantic slave trade.

They have agree to take some space in the Royal Liver Building once they vacate the Albert Dock, so they'll maintain some presence in the city. It'll be little more than a room for interviews, and some office space I expect.

Hopefully, with the closure of Quay Street, Manchester won't end up equally poorly served by the new London-focussed ITV.
well they since the beeb is up northing a massive part of its operations to manchester (glasgow, birmingham and cardiff also doing quite well) any small losses in programming from the itv network will barely be noticed due to the large gains from the beeb, plus its unlikey that itv as a commercial network would ever move all its resourses to london because it is much cheaper to operate outside of the capital
 
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