Granada Television

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Group.png ITV Granada (2004–)   WebsiteRdf-icon.png
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ITV Granada – originally Granada Television (1956-2004) – is the Channel 3 regional service for North West England. The licence for the region has been held by ITV Broadcasting Limited since November 2008. It is the largest independent television-franchise producing company in the UK, accounting for 25% of the total broadcasting output of the ITV network. It had been held by Granada Television, which was founded by Sidney Bernstein and based at Granada Studios on Quay Street in Manchester since its inception. This was the only surviving company of the original four Independent Television Authority franchisees from 1954; ITV Granada Television covers Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Merseyside, northwestern Derbyshire, part of Cumbria and North Yorkshire. On 15 July 2009, the Isle of Man was transferred to ITV Granada from ITV Border (even though the Isle of Man is a British Crown Dependency and is not part of the United Kingdom).

Southern cinemas

Granada Television, a subsidiary of Granada Ltd, originated in Granada Theatres Ltd, which owned cinemas in the south of England. It was founded in Dover in 1930 by Sidney Bernstein and his brother Cecil. The company was incorporated as Granada Ltd in 1934 and listed on the London Stock Exchange in 1935; Granada Theatres Ltd became a subsidiary of the new company.[1] It is named after the Spanish city of Granada.[2]

Northern franchise

The Bernsteins became involved in commercial television, a competitor to the cinema chains. Bernstein bid for the North of England franchise, which he believed would not affect the company's largely southern-based cinema chain. In 1954, the Independent Television Authority (ITA) awarded Granada the North of England contract for Monday to Friday, with Associated British Corporation (ABC) serving the same area on weekends. The companies used the ITA's Winter Hill and Emley Moor transmitters covering Lancashire and the West and East Ridings of Yorkshire, including the major conurbations around Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Bradford, Sheffield and Doncaster.

The North and London were the two biggest regions. Granada preferred the North because of its tradition of home-grown culture, and because it offered a chance to start a new creative industry away from the metropolitan atmosphere of London ... the North is a closely knit, indigenous, industrial society; a homogeneous cultural group with a good record for music, theatre, literature and newspapers, not found elsewhere in this island, except perhaps in Scotland. Compare this with London and its suburbs—full of displaced persons. And, of course, if you look at a map of the concentration of population in the North and a rainfall map, you will see that the North is an ideal place for television".

Bernstein selected a base from Leeds and Manchester. Granada executive Victor Peers believed Manchester was the preferred choice even before executives toured the region to find a suitable site. Granada Studios, designed by architect Ralph Tubbs, was built on a site on Quay Street in Manchester city centre belonging to Manchester City Council, which the company bought for £82,000.[3]

Transmissions by Granada Television began in Lancashire on 3 May 1956, and Yorkshire six months later. The opening night featured Meet The People hosted by Quentin Reynolds and comedian Arthur Askey.[4] It was marked by a distinctive northern identity, and used stylised letter "G" logo forming an arrow pointing north, often with the tagline "Granada: from the north".[5]

Merger

Granada plc merged with Carlton Communications to form ITV plc on 2 February 2004 after a duopoly had developed over the previous decade. Carlton shareholders gained approximately 32% of ITV plc.[6]

The Granada name, as with those of the other former Channel 3 regional licence holders, completely disappeared except for the regional news bulletins and weeknight regional news magazine; ITV Broadcasting Limited operates the service with national ITV branding and continuity. Granada Television Ltd still legally exists. Along with most other regional companies owned by ITV plc, it is listed on www.companieshouse.gov.uk as a "Dormant company". Other companies listed are Granada Television International and Granada Television Overseas Ltd, but these are either dormant or non-trading.

The North West region is regarded as ITV's most successful franchise. The Financial Times and The Independent once described Granada Television, the former franchise holder, as 'the best commercial television company in the world'.[7][8] Nine Granada programmes were listed in the BFI TV 100 in 2000. Some of its most notable programmes include Coronation Street, Seven Up!, The Royle Family, The Jewel in the Crown, Brideshead Revisited, World in Action, University Challenge and The Krypton Factor. Notable employees have included Paul Greengrass, Michael Apted, Mike Newell, Jeremy Isaacs, Andy Harries, Russell T Davies and Leslie Woodhead.



References

  1. ITV: History
  2. Feddy, Kevin (11 April 2006). "Sidney Bernstein". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 25 June 2011. ... named after the Spanish city where he had been on holiday. 
  3. "Granada's Founding Father". teletronic.co.uk. Retrieved 27 July 2011. 
  4. "Meet The People – Launch Night from 1956". tv-ark.org.uk. Retrieved 27 July 2011. 
  5. Liddiment, David (24 November 2003). "London calling". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 20 June 2011. 
  6. "Merger of Granada and Carlton"
  7. "Obituary – David Plowright". The Independent. 29 August 2006. Retrieved 4 February 2012. As he himself liked to quote, not for nothing had Granada been dubbed the best commercial television company in the world. 
  8. "Party People returns as presenter Rob McLoughlin celebrates thirtieth year at ITV". 25 January 2012. Retrieved 4 February 2012. The Financial Times was to claim that 'Granada was probably the best commercial TV company in the world' – with respect to Thames TV; LWT and our American cousins – they may have been right but when that quote was hauled over reception in Quay Street I found it both inspiring and daunting.