Obituary: Lord Bernstein

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The Independent Online
Sidney Lewis Bernstein, businessman, born Ilford Essex 30 January 1899, member Middlesex County Council 1925-31, Chairman Granada (Granada Television, Granada Theatres, Granada TV Rental, Granada Motorway Services, Novello & Co) 1934-79, President 1979-93, Films Adviser Ministry of Information 1940-45, Liaison British Embassy Washington 1942, Chief Film Section AFHQ North Africa 1942-43, Chief Film Section SHAEF 1943-45, created 1969 Baron Bernstein, married 1936 Zoe Farmer (died 1972; marriage dissolved), 1954 Sandra Malone (died 1991; one son, two daughters), died London 5 February 1993.

ANYONE WHO worked with Sidney Bernstein in his prime will recall his energy, vision and dedication to the enterprise in hand, whatever it might be, writes Sir Denis Forman.

He worked fast, always in his shirt- sleeves and often with six or seven colleagues grouped around him. He loved to run through a heap of architectural drawings, making alterations and comments with a blue pencil at lightning speed. He would attend the rehearsal of a play for television, meeting each member of the cast in a formal greeting before sitting to watch the performance. As soon as it was over, he would carry off the creative team to a discussion in which he would criticise and analyse the production, and sometimes cancel it.

The way in which he publicised Granada television in the early days was a triumph; every word of copy, every block was scrutinised and alterations continued up to the deadline, and sometimes beyond it. He showed great courage in supporting his programme-makers in their attempts to break new ground for television.

Under Sidney Bernstein's chairmanship Granada was the first company to take the cameras to a parliamentary election, to the party conferences and to the House of Lords in the original experiment. In these and many other ways he caused the Independent Television Authority and the government to broaden the ground which television could cover. His charm, his sense of humour and his quick temper were equally admired and feared. At that time he was one of the most stimulating men in Britain to work with and to work for.

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