Obituary: Lord Winstanley

MICHAEL WINSTANLEY's political abilities led him into a relationship with Granada with the start of the social action programme This is Your Right, writes David Plowright (further to the obituary by Sir Cyril Smith, 19 July). He and I were strong believers in broadcasting as a tool of democracy, and when he lost his seat in Cheadle in 1970 he seemed the perfect choice for the programme.

It was a programme explaining the benefits of the Welfare State to those who found the system confusing. His concern was that the needy got the help they were entitled to, and his dedication was such that 90 per cent of the work we did never actually got on to the screen - we insisted on answering every inquiry sent to the programme. I used to say he was a very good constituency MP, and his answer was you had to be if you were a Liberal. It was the same energy he gave to his work as a constituency MP that was carried through into broadcasting.

Winstanley was a stout defender of regionalism in broadcasting, believing that the BBC should be a national as well as a metropolitan service. He served on regional councils of the BBC in the old days, and objected quite strongly to going to London for discussions on regional broadcasting policy. He believed that programme makers who committed themselves to living in a region would automatically absorb that region's interest and make programmes that reflected its heritage, its political mood and its social change. They would not necessarily be better than London-made programmes, but they would be different.

Winstanley was a spokesman for the Liberal Party on broadcasting affairs, and was a champion of the development of independent production in the regions. Once he saw the changes of the 1990 Broadcasting Act and its effect on ITV, he lent his weight to the call for development of independent production in the

regions. Above all he was a man impatient with pretension and bureaucratic humbug. He had a great sense of humour and huge versatility, whether it was playing the bagpipes, writing articles, broadcasting or playing a variety of sports - all with an emphasis on championing the aspirations of north-western teams be it rugby or football. He himself was a very able cricketer and, as he got older, golfer. He and I spent much time sailing together, putting to rights many broadcasting affairs as we did so. He was a great friend, and a true advocate of north-western broadcasting.

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

HR Manager - London - £40,000 + bonus

£32000 - £40000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager (Generalist) -Old...

Talent Manager / HR Manager - central London - £50,000

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Talent / Learning & Development Mana...

HR Manager (standalone) - London

Up to £40,000: Ashdown Group: Standalone HR Manager role for an SME business b...

HR Analyst - Banking - Bristol - £350-£400

£350 - £400 per day: Orgtel: HR Analyst - Banking - Bristol - £350 - £400 per ...

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering