Letter: The quality films that Granada has promised but failed to deliver

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The Independent Online
Sir: During the early 1980s I lived and worked in the North-west of England for four years. During that time I was privileged to watch Granada TV, which produced high-quality programmes.

The main daily news programme at the time was called Granada Reports. It was at first produced entirely out of Manchester. Even when a small studio was opened in Liverpool, the hub of the programme remained in Manchester, which had a huge newsroom with teams of reporters, researchers and camera crews producing hard news as well as stories about the region which were in part newsworthy and in part entertaining. The equivalent programme on Carlton today is called London Tonight.

In addition, Granada did a few short news bulletins (head to camera stuff from the studio) which paraphrased information coming from the Press Association, radio and newspapers, as well as from the newsroom in Manchester.

If, however, you had asked anyone which was Granada's main news programme they would have replied Granada Reports. No one would have claimed that the news bulletins were the main source of news. The programme is now called Granada Tonight. In her report on Granada TV to the ITC, Ann Clwyd, MP, wrote:

In its application for the franchise Granada promised a hi-tech news operation based in Liverpool and with branch offices in Manchester, Chester, Lancaster and Blackburn. However, the main Liverpool news operation (Granada Tonight) has been closed and withdrawn to Manchester. This is a real blow to Merseyside. Granada also proposed to close the Chester, Lancaster and Blackburn offices but the ITC did not approve this. This seems to be the only pressure that that irresponsible body has put on Granada. Basically Granada feels that it can treat the ITC with contempt and is acting accordingly.

Everything Ms Clwyd says about the main news operation, Granada Tonight, having been moved from Liverpool to Manchester is true. The response of David Liddiment, the new director of programmes, who publicly denounced Granada in 1992 for destroying the Granada ethos, is bluster and puff (3 March). Mr Liddiment will have to do better if Granada is to retain its licence in the face of Ms Clwyd's charges.

Yours faithfully,

BRIAN SEDGEMORE

MP for Hackney South and

Shoreditch (Lab)

House of Commons

London, SW1

4 March

The writer worked in Manchester and Liverpool for Granada TV from 1980-1983 and for a year on 'Granada Reports'.

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