Friday, 17 December 2010

10 things you might not know about Granada TV

As we digest the news that Granada is moving from Manchester city centre, I thought I'd share some facts about Granada Television and its current home.

1. Granada Television was founded by the Bernstein brothers, Sydney and Cecil.  They already owned the Granada Cinema Chain when they set up their TV company.
2. When commercial television came to the UK each region was auctioned off.  The Bernsteins bid for the north west region because they thought as the region had a higher than average rainfall people would be more likely to stay inside watching TV.
3. Their first Manchester headquarters was not where the studios are today.  The first Granada building was near the Town Hall.
4. The current site has been enlarged over the years and has obliterated a street called Grape Street.  The original name of the street was Grope Street and it was once Manchester's 'red light district'.
5. The original outdoor Corrie set was built on railway sidings on the opposite side of Grape Street.
6. The original outdoor viaduct was later used as the frontage of Ian Davenport's car dealership when Sally had an affair with him.
7. At one time Granada ran a theatre company in 'The Stables' which put on lunchtime and evening stage shows.
8. They even had their own bowling green - it's been built on now and it's where Dev and Sunita were married.
9. Granada used to own the hotel opposite, the Victoria and Albert, and the nearby Harry Ramsden's fish and chip restaurant.
10. The main Granada building was designed as a hotel then if commercial TV didn't take off that's what it could have been sold on as.

2 comments:

Pam-UK said...

2. Granada originally covered the norther weekday area not just the north-west. Weekends were covered by ABC which broadcast from the former Mancunian Film Studios and is now where Manchester Met University halls of Residence are. They bid for the north so it didn't interfere with their cinema chain in the South East. It was named after the Granada Region of Spain where Sydney loved to holiday.

The Original outdoor set for Corrie on Grape Street was opened to the public for one day in 1969 with queues around the block. On the other side of the road, a slightly less longer queue formed to view Granada OB units and props from shows such as the Dustbin Men.

Granada also bought a building from Central manchester College which was opposite the main entrance to the Granada Studios. This was called The Old School. The Ground Floor was its staff club, higher up was the original home for the northern Actors centre, and higher still was the Studios for Granada Sky Broadcasting. I actually did some filming in the Old School for the period drama series, In Suspicious circumstances.

John Tomlinson said...

ABC's studios were on School Road in Didsbury (a converted cinema) and the old Mancunian Film Studios on Dickenson Road were in fact BBC studios and from where the first three years of "Top of the Pops" were broadcast from from 1964 onwards.
The Grape Street set was opened to the public for three days from 29th to 31st August 1970 for charity and to mark 1000 episodes of the programme and 50,000 people took the opportunity to tour the site.

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