And the SCENE is all set at Granada 

3 May 2017

From the TVTimes Northern edition for 5-11 May 1963

ABC ▶︎


This weekend Northern ITV enters its eighth year. On May 3, 1956, Granada first came on the air, followed two days later by ABC. The number of viewers then was 750,000. Now the regional audience for Northern ITV programmes is 10,655,000. But topping the 10 million was only one of many ITV highlights in the past 12 months. It has been a year of continual progress, especially in programmes appealing specifically to regional tastes and interests.And there are plenty more planned for the year ahead. On this page Granada and ABC programme personalities discuss some of them, and apart from the programmes they specifically mention, many more are on the way.

Following the success of Saki, Granada are lining up a new drama series on plays that delighted Victorian theatre-goers, as well as dramatisations of Guy de Maupassant stories.The team that was responsible for The Army Game and Bootsie and Snudge will be trying out promising new comedy ideas this summer.

Also under way is a new series of religious programmes about The Journeys of St. Paul, with camera teams filming on-the-spot material in Jordan, Greece, and Cyprus.



by MICHAEL SCOTT, host of Scene at 6.30

The latest Granada show, Scene at 6.30, which is 2½ hours a week long, has successfully passed the dangerous early days. Now the infant is strong enough to bear some examination of its pedigree. It is a pedigree which stretches back seven years to Granada’s first days as a television station and my first assignment as a floor manager for them.

In 1956 Granada plunged into the North with, I would guess, the heaviest outside broadcast plans ever. Lifeboats at Fleetwood, docks at Liverpool, a Salvation Army hostel in Manchester, cheese in Cheshire, Guy Fawkes night in York — the Travelling Eye units hardly stopped for the whole year.

While they were working, a new type of current affairs programme was evolving in the studios. It was criticised as brash and vulgar, the studio audiences who asked the questions condemned as uncivilised. Members of Parliament who were asked to take part found a hard fight on their hands. Under Fire was on the map.

Granada’s coverage of the Rochdale by-election in February, 1958, established a new involvement of television in politics that later developed into our coverage of the last general election.

The first live TV reports of a Party Conference came from Granada. Our cameras entered the Labour Party’s conference hall at Scarborough in 1960 to record Hugh Gaitskell’s famous “Fight, Fight and Fight Again” speech. This led to the first live coverage of Party Conferences and the TUC — again by Granada.

The Ringway air crash in 1957 posed a question of television ethics. It was possible for a Travelling Eye team to get to Ringway quickly and give us live television coverage of a tragedy that would normally have been reported for us on film.

The unit went out and in a remarkably short time we were transmitting to the network pictures of the Viscount airliner that had swung off course in the last moments before landing and slashed part of a terrace of council houses into obliteration.

The pictures spoke for themselves, our talk at the scene was muted. It was a depressing job to work on and at the time I wondered if we were right to do it.

Preparing a TV programme floor manager John Oaklnt, float Michael Scott and executive producer Barrie Heads

On a practical level, I was afraid that our bulky equipment might obstruct the rescue workers. On this point I was immediately proved wrong; in fact, our television lights were an aid to the rescue operation.

And, on reflection, I think we were right in principle to do it.

There have been other examples of this kind of news story. The most recent was the hurricane that swung into Sheffield at four o’clock on the morning of February 16, 1962.

It left a trail of roofless, shattered buildings and as the first reports came in, our Travelling Eye unit, by now refined into a highly mobile and compact set-up, left for the scene. By late afternoon live TV pictures from Sheffield were on the air.

The Northern face Granada has shown to the national network has not just been one of politics and news. It wasn’t our political programmes that made actors frantically try to re discover the Northern accents their drama school teachers had so carefully ironed out.

On the crest of a wave of novels about the North and films about the North came a television serial about the North. I doubt if Tony Warren, the original creator of Coronation Street, realised the full significance of the moment when he put the first sheet of paper in his typewriter.

He started a serial that rose steadily through the ratings to a consistently dominating first and second position. A programme that made people experts about the North who previously had known only that “it always rains in Manchester.” A programme that even managed to combine great popular success with unheard-of praise from some of the egg-head weeklies. A success indeed!

Now we have Scene at 6.30 – which we hope embodies all the best from what has gone before. A magazine programme for the North and of the North. But not simply about the North. We make gracious acknowledgment that there is another large city in the South of England by having a studio there.

The Scene at 6.30 London studio exists because it is foolish not to recognise that many of the people we want to talk to are for one reason or another in London. If they haven’t the time to come up here, then we. in the interests of good coverage, must go there.

But if you know Scene at 6.30 you know that the London end is dominated, not dominating. Our cameras travel farther and farther across the Granada region. If there were places that had not been visited by a Granada unit before Scene came along, their number diminishes every day. In fact, we’re beginning to hear complaints that we’re never in Manchester!

Pop artists presented in an original way, news and interest stories from the North, subjects national and international that affect the North.

I suppose the next Scene at 6.30 milestone will be when one of our camera units goes abroad to cover a story. Why not?

ABC ▶︎

You Say

3 responses to this article

Alan Keeling 3 May 2017 at 8:32 pm

During the 60s, Mike Scott also presented Granada’s networked Cinema, a series profiling the latest & not so latest film releases. Bamber Gascoigne, Mark Shivas, & Michael Parkinson also presented Cinema on various occasions.

Paul Mason 4 May 2017 at 4:34 am

Its Parky I most associate with Cinema, along with a 30 something bearded Clive James, probably when Parky went to the BBC to do his chat show.
Granada also did Clapperboard, a children’s version presented by Chris Kelly, who I assume is now retired.

Paul Mason 4 May 2017 at 4:41 am

I don’t know how Granada covered its original area in a 25 minute news bulletin in an area stretching from what is now known as South Cumbria, the historical counties of Lancashire, Cheshire, all three ridings of Yorkshire,north Lincolnshire and part of North Wales to boot. The 1968 split was inevitable.

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