25th Anniversary Logo History Granada

Granada History

We wish to apply for the Manchester/Liverpool station, seven days a week.

If the territory of Granada is interfered with in any way we shall go to the United Nations
Sydney Berstein, 17 December 1966

Granada Theatres was another company that had originally opposed the introduction of commercial television on the grounds that it would damage their current cinema business, although they did make applications to run a television distribution network for the use of their cinemas in the early 1950s. Like ABC when ITV had become a reality they came to realise that they were better to be on the inside than the outside. Cecil and Sidney Bernstein thought of a way of minimising competing with themselves; their cinemas were mainly in the south, so they would apply for a station in the north. Hence the request above. However the vertical slicing of the major regions meant that the licence they were awarded was weekdays in the North, covering Lancashire and Yorkshire.

Unlike most of the early contractors, who started in converted buildings, Granada decided to take advantage of their extra time to air (18 months after being awarded the contract) to build a new studio complex in Manchester. Also unlike ABC or ATV they wanted to give the impression of being firmly based in the region, with Sidney and Cecil Berstein occupying flats above the studios. They recruited Denis Forman from the British Film Institute, Tim Hewat from the Daily Express, and a number of producers from Canada.

This expense was clearly shown in their first year loss of over 175, 000. What was more surprising was that its profits in the following year was the lowest of the 'big four' at 1 million. It came out in 1959 that they had entered into an arrangement with Associated Rediffusion related to financial support and network exchange in return for handing over a large slice of the advertising revenue. What had looked good in the dark days of 1956 looked a bad move in the good years that followed. It did secure a London outlet for Granada's programmes though, unlike say the trouble that ABC had with ATV.

Franchise Battles

Like most companies Granada went unscathed in 1964. The 1967/8 round was a bit more difficult, as they faced a challenger (Palatine Television) who put up a case that Granada ignored the rural parts of its area, and was heavily connected to Manchester, where it portrayed an old-fashioned image of the north of England. This unsuccessful challenge was largely repeated in 1981/2, where the opponent Merseyvision was very rude about Granada, and indeed ITV in general. One outcome of this may have been a strengthing of the output from Liverpool.

Granada took the strategy adopted by many incumbents in the 1992 round; they would bid fairly low, hoping that any competition would blow themselves out. In the end they were opposed by a combination of Mersey TV (Phil Redmond) in cooperation with Yorkshire, Tyne Tees and the investment group 3i. Granada bid only 9 million compared with the 35.3 million of their opponents who were ruled out on quality grounds. The normal rental is set at 11% of qualifying revenue.

The acquisition trail

Since the franchise round Granada has been following a policy of acquisition which has meant absorption of LWT, Yorkshire Televison, and Tyne Tees.

Dates & Transmitters

North (Weekdays)

Start: 05/05/56
Stop:  26/07/68

Transmitters:

Winter Hill:  9V 03/05/56
Emley Moor:  10V 05/11/56  
Scarborough:  6H 11/06/65

North West

Start: 29/07/68

Transmitters:

VHF: Winter Hill 9V 29/07/68-03/01/85
UHF (main): Winter Hill 59H 15/11/69


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