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RobertM said:
Ian Simpson is being interviewed.
...again!! he's good at marketing himself is Ian!

i just missed it... anyone know of a repeat on the multitude of digital channels out there??
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Half of it was interesting. The second half was just the usual 'oh isnt manchester so fantastic and the rest of the north west blows bollocks'
 

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Accura said:
Half of it was interesting. The second half was just the usual 'oh isnt manchester so fantastic and the rest of the north west blows bollocks'
It was a program about Manchester, not the North West. It didn't mention any other place (in a negative way or otherwise) and why should it, it was a program about MANCHESTER.

That's a big chip on your shoulder ;)
 

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Yeah...caught this one too (we get Sky in Switzerland). The programme was poor. The main message that Manchester has transformed was repeated again and again. Yes it has...I agree and yes I think Manchester is fantastic (I love the place)...but this programme started to grate as if it were some long docu-advert for the city.

I also don't subscribe to it being down to the bomb. It was significant yes, and allowed for the wholescale redevelopment of Exchange Square...but I think Manchester is more than that. Much of the transformation would have occured in any case and this is a reflection of the city, its people and the council...and not the bomb.
 

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10th February 2008
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Typical Granada piece. Started of well, but finished with a whimper. Still, Manchester certainly has changed for the better in the last 10 years, as we know. :wink2:

BTW. What's happened to the Manchester Forum again? Talk about passing tumble weeds over the last few days. Where are the usual suspects? Surely everyone can't be on holiday the the same time?

Roll call please! :)
 

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Cowboy of Love
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jrb said:
Typical Granada piece. Started of well, but finished with a whimper. Still, Manchester certainly has changed for the better in the last 10 years, as we know. :wink2:

BTW. What's happened to the Manchester Forum again? Talk about passing tumble weeds over the last few days. Where are the usual suspects? Surely everyone can't be on holiday the the same time?

Roll call please! :)
If i count as a 'usual suspect' then a combination of work, international football friendlies and a self imposed 'quality not quantity' posting regime is my excuse.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
retep68 said:
It was a program about Manchester, not the North West. It didn't mention any other place (in a negative way or otherwise) and why should it, it was a program about MANCHESTER.

That's a big chip on your shoulder ;)
I have no chip on my shoulder. These kind of programs from Granada get boring and corny after a while though. And lets face it, they do a hell of a lot of them about Manchester. In case they havnt noticed, there are 5 other cities in the North West.
 

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Weaste Infection
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accura: preston just isn't important enough to have its own programme yet

it might do one day

anyway, does anyone know when this is repeated?
 

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There is also a book out called "Detonation" by the Evening News' Ray King. Looks quite good, but won't be expecting anything too in depth.

Saw the programme. Though I wasn't in town when the incident occurred, it brought back some horrible memories of walking through town not long after.
 

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I remember hearing the bang even 'though I was about seven miles from Market Street (as the crow flies) and thinking that has to have to have been a bomb.

Didn't reckon much to the programme, an interesting and thoughtful subject treated in a rather amateurish way I thought.
 

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The programme was shite really. Production quality was terrible. When Granada are making local programmes what do they do? Hire some media students from Bolton fucking institute to make them? I'm so very glad it wasn't broadcasted nationally.
 

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Less is more.
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I didn't even watch it, if you want to see how Manchester has progressed since the bomb you just need to look at this website. I can just imagine how poor it was.
 

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I found the lead up to the bomb going off interesting. I haven't seen any real footage of the devastation caused that day, and it really hit home, just what a massive bomb that was. Doesn't bear worth thinking about, if it had gone off early.

Regeneration has been bloody amazing though in just 10 years. :)
 

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Jon Reid said:
The programme was shite really. Production quality was terrible. When Granada are making local programmes what do they do? Hire some media students from Bolton fucking institute to make them? I'm so very glad it wasn't broadcasted nationally.
Regional ITV pogrammes are deliberately shite, because the now homogenised, London-based company doesn't want to have to bother with them. They're forced to create a minimal amount by law, but obviously if no one bothers tuning in, they can argue for a change in broadcast regulations which omitts local programmes entirely.
 

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10th February 2008
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From this weeks Enquirer.

Explosive book charts politics behind the rebirth of a city
Published on Jun 01 2006 by Robert Waterhouse
_____________________________________


© Howard Barlow

CITIES, like people, exist in a continuum. A moment in time is simply that: a snapshot of how things are, or were, at that very point in a long (or short) life. However, there are certain moments in time remembered as changing people’s existence.

To Mancunians the 3,300lb truck bomb which exploded outside Marks & Spencer, on the corner of Corporation Street and Cannon Street, a few seconds after 11.17 on the morning of Saturday June 15 1996, created one of those moments. The city would never be the same again.

Conventional wisdom (though King points out it is not endorsed by the authorities) says that the IRA bomb – the biggest ever on the UK mainland – was the best thing to hit Manchester in modern times. Thanks to the very specific advance warnings, the efficacy of the police and emergency authorities and a large measure of good luck there was no loss of life – although there were unpleasant injuries. The IRA had hit the city, but did not get to its people.

When the dust had settled – and there was plenty of that – the city was left with a huge hole in its commercial centre and an extraordinary opportunity to rebuild. It took it.

Destructive

The question of what might have happened to Manchester (and by implication the North West) without this great, big, dirty, destructive bomb in its midst remains unanswered in Ray King’s book, produced to mark the tenth anniversary by a small Warrington publishing house run by his friend and former Manchester Evening News colleague, Andrew Nott. But there are a few clues.

“Detonation” has the great merit of starting the story ten years before the bomb and running it right through to the present day. It may be over neat in concept, but the argument is that without the politics of 1986-1996, the decade of 1996-2006 would have been quite different.

From this perspective, the bomb was not the key moment in the recent history of Manchester. That took place almost a decade earlier with the unlikely conversion of its Labour council leader, Graham Stringer, from a left-wing Town Hall rebel at odds with the Thatcher regime to a moderate doing business with the enemy. It amounted, King suggests provocatively, to nothing less than the birth of New Labour.

The turning point, in fact, came with Thatcher’s 1987 election victory. Stringer’s ruling Labour group had, for a couple of years, declined to set a budget on the terms demanded by the Tories. It involved the city in a Walter Mitty period of so-called creative accounting – hocking the town hall and its attributes to keep municipal finances flowing. Then he wrote a letter of capitulation to the flamboyantly Thatcherite Environment Secretary, Nicholas Ridley.

Consternation

Stringer had faced up to the reality of a third-term Thatcher government with a 100-seat majority which had no intention of letting recalcitrant Labour councils off the hook. His move caused consternation, but was eventually endorsed by the party rank and file.

Manchester veered away from the confrontational path pursued by Derek Hatton and co in Liverpool. It was not the stuff headlines are made off, but Stringer’s Manchester had come to an uneasy compromise relationship with Thatcher’s government which accepted the imposition of a centrally-controlled urban development corporation in the city centre.

Here we get down to people. Manchester was blessed in that the relevant junior minister in the reshuffle following the 1987 election was David (now Sir David and chairman of The Enquirer) Trippier. Trippier’s background as a former leader of Rochdale MBC allowed him to understand the shadow boxing both sides would have to engage in to effect a partnership. Feint one way, punch another.

Throw in Bob (now Sir Bob) Scott, the man behind the creation of the Royal Exchange Theatre and Manchester’s burgeoning Olympic bids, Howard (now Sir Howard) Bernstein, then deputy chief executive of the city council and – most controversially – John (still plain John) Whittaker, the property developer who owned most Manchester Ship Canal Company shares, although the city council had historic voting control. Whittaker had his eye on land at Dumplington beside the M62, land which was to become the Trafford Centre.

East Manchester

As Ray King recounts, Manchester fought the Trafford Centre proposal as far as the House of Lords while agreeing with Whittaker a sum of £10m for relinquishing “control” of the Ship Canal. The two formed a joint venture to start regeneration of depressed East Manchester.

Whittaker’s Peel Holdings now owns not just the Manchester Ship Canal but the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company, Liverpool John Lennon Airport and much of the development land between the two cities.

Peel has been the absolute winner of this partnership, but private sector investment was the key at that time to levering central government support, since the council itself had no money. AMEC, the construction company, joined the party via Alan (now Sir Alan) Cockshaw.

The scene was set for the rebirth, by Central Manchester Development Corporation, of a swathe of land from Piccadilly Station to Castlefield with the Bridgewater Hall planned as the centrepiece.

Fast forward to 1996. Two brave, if failed, bids by Manchester to stage the Olympic Games of 1996 and 2000 had led to the successful Commonwealth Games 2002 nomination – which used the 2000 proposals for a sports city in East Manchester.

Thriving

The Tories were still in power, but Thatcher had gone in 1990. John Major had brought Michael Heseltine back into his cabinet. The impetus for change in northern cities was, if anything, stronger and no longer controversial. Partnership was thriving.

There is something symmetrical about the IRA’s choice of Corporation Street. The bomb was planted between two of the worst examples of modern commercial architecture in the country – the infamous Arndale Centre, itself the result of “partnership” with the city back in the 1960s and the tired Marks & Spencer building with its frivolous wavy canopy.

The blast shook the Royal Exchange, St Ann’s Church and Manchester Cathedral itself. It opened up for regeneration a side of the city which would never, otherwise, have stood the chance of serious public funding or fresh private-sector interest.

If the IRA’s aim was to secure maximum impact on a prime shopping area the result was the translation of a bustling, but ugly, high street into an elegant sequence of spaces with the commercial element offset by badly-needed walkways and squares. Spaces which offered genuine improvement to the city centre life. And, incidentally, it succeeded in attracting prime commercial names like Selfridges and Harvey Nichols.

Of course, this didn’t happen by itself. Richard Leese, Manchester’s new Labour leader took over where Stringer had left off. The Millennium Task Force, headed by Bernstein, included Trippier (who had lost his parliamentary seat in 1992). It was partnership in action, all over again.

Commonwealth Games

Urgency was ensured by the Trafford Centre’s imminent opening and the upcoming Commonwealth Games. All the same, vision was in order and this came from Ian Simpson, the Manchester architect (he of whistling tower fame), who seized the opportunity to plan linked, quality space from St Ann’s Square to the cathedral, Chetham’s School and Victoria Station.

It wasn’t easy. It was controversial. Early plans for badly-needed public open space were overtaken by commercial realities. But, five or six years on from the scheme’s completion the question must be asked – was it that good?

A stroll round the area leaves little confidence that New Cathedral Street and its environs will be seen as one of the great urban spaces of the 21st century. Its brash ability to mix classy modern (Urbis – Simpson again) with reconstituted medieval (the Shambles and Wellington pubs were moved for the *second time) is already – on a Sunday morning visit – looking frazzled at the edges. Disneyworld does it better.

Compare this with the magnificent restoration of Albert Square by the Greater Manchester Council before being dissolved back in – yes – 1986. Albert Square is on a par with the best Lille, Munich and Barcelona can offer. You can’t say the same for New Cathedral Street, or for that matter the reworked Piccadilly Gardens.

“Detonation” is a tribute to Manchester’s realism, to the city’s refound ability to compromise and create. The danger is that tribute veers towards celebration.

1960s

Manchester stepped back from the brink in 1987, but you cannot blame Thatcher for the overambitious 1960s and the tawdry 1970s. A major international trading centre should not have got into the state where imposition from London of an urban development corporation was deemed necessary.

Ray King’s book offers a fascinating blow-by-blow account of politics behind closed doors between small groups of (mainly) men in the public/private sector battleground. If there is one lesson to be drawn, it’s that the market rules. Labour-controlled Manchester took on the market and lost during the 1960s-1980s. Labour-controlled Manchester accepted the market and sort of won from the 1990s.

There remain huge quality gaps in housing, education, health, social services and infrastructure where the public sector has drawn back but which the market has proved unwilling or unable to tackle. No matter how good the PR, Manchester will be a two-dimensional city until such forces have achieved equilibrium.

Detonation: Rebirth of a City
By Ray King
Clear Publications, £14.99
 
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