Tonight’s Granada TV… in 1960 

11 April 2018

Granada’s ‘North’ region included the north of Wales, which had no other ITV contractor until 1962. The Winter Hill transmitter’s coverage of the area was intentional – there were no plans for a north Wales franchise in 1956 – and the Independent Television Authority expected Granada to provide some programmes in the Welsh-language as well as cover north Wales in its local English-language news programmes.

The 4.25pm to 5pm slot – on Winter Hill only, requiring a second start-up sequence at 4.55pm for Emley Moor alone – was filled with a mixture of Granada’s own Welsh-language output and Welsh-language programmes imported from TWW in Cardiff, who also had a requirement to produce Welsh-language output.

The TVTimes uses News as the headline for the 4.20pm bulletin, rather than Newyddion, only ‘fessing up in the small print that the bulletin itself isn’t in English.

The frontcaps and endcaps of Granada Welsh-language programming were also in Welsh – including the ‘from the North’ slogan. Quite where Granada was implying this ‘North’ was – northern England or north Wales? – is not clear.

Pauline Shaw, director of Dewch I Mewn, was a staff member at Granada (she later went on to produce Coronation Street). There’s no evidence she was a Welsh speaker, leading one to wonder quite how she followed the programme’s dialogue and made sure that nothing… er… wrong was being said.

Iris Jones on Teledu Cymru

She’s not in this particular episode, but Iris Jones, later the main announcer at part-Welsh-language ITV station Teledu Cymru, started her career with appearances in Dewch I Mewn.

Many English-only speakers who got Welsh-language programming – those in the Bristol area, for instance, and, later, caught in HTV’s UHF transmission area despite living a few feet into what should’ve been ATVland – complained endlessly about the Welsh programming. These complaints weren’t heard on Merseyside and in Cheshire, where the usual summer holiday destination was places like Anglesey, Rhyl, Colwyn Bay and Prestatyn – then and now a concentrated area of Welsh speakers.

Liverpool comedians – Ken Dodd, for instance – made good money from jokes about faulty sets and aerials meaning that everything was in Welsh, a joke that really doesn’t travel much out of Merseyside.

Granada’s Northern Newscast at 6.05pm was in English, but covered north Wales as well as northern England. The newsreader would, at the end of the programme, say goodnight in English, then add ‘nos da’ for Welsh speakers. After several years of this, saying ‘nos da’ to friends became common on Merseyside, although it has now died out.


Regional magazine programmes, especially in the ‘major’ regions, hadn’t caught on yet, so the Northern Newscast isn’t followed by a general news and entertainment show on most days of the week. Today, a very heavy-sounding discussion programme, Who Goes Next?, fills this slot. Later in the 1960s, Granada’s People and Places and successor Scene at 6.30 would prove so popular that regional magazines ended up the norm in all regions, were expected by the ITA from all companies, and ran 5 nights a week.

Granada had never seemed comfortable with the concept of advertising magazines, perhaps because they tried to make cheap 7- and 15-second spots available, with production thrown it, for their region’s smaller businesses. Whilst most regions would run a 15-minute admag every night at one end of primetime or the other until they were banned in 1963, Granada’s petered out before then. Here in 1960, the admag is a mere 5 minutes and is pretty well just face-to-camera. Granada would gladly embrace the post-admag trend of voice-to-slide adverts and announcers reading copy with Spotlight later in the decade.

The ITN news is at 9.25pm – at this point in ITV’s history, whilst the 5.55pm bulletin was fixed, the evening bulletin was shoved from pillar to post, fitting in wherever there was room from 8.55pm through until 10pm. The launch of News at Ten in 1967 would put an end to this problem.

ATV’s Probation Officer at 9.35pm was lauded at the time – the drama was often based on real cases, and the actual routines and processes of the justice system were followed correctly, so much so that some episodes were used as evidence by parliamentary committees.

Searchlight at 10.30pm isn’t something I remember. From the description here, it’s clearly not northern-focussed, despite the Granada names front and centre in the titles. One assumes, therefore, it was networked. If not, it’s a very ambitious local programme, even for Granada. Elaine Grand (1926-2001) would go on to work for Thames, helming their various afternoon “women’s programmes”, along with Mavis Nicholson and Mary Parkinson.

ITN had been given a mere 20 minutes of time across the evening, so the headlines at 11pm – literally just under a minute – were something of a sop to them. When News at Ten came along in 1967, the late headlines were officially absorbed into it along with Roving Report, Dateline and Reporting ’67.

The film at just after 11pm is a 1952 British ‘B’ picture, notable for being 75 minutes long in the cinema, so here hacked down to a mere 50 or so to fit in the headlines, the adverts and the closedown sequence.

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1 response to this article

Westy 11 April 2018 at 5:20 pm

Must admit I wondered what Parky said at the end of the clip of him having the Granada logo ‘tattooed’ on his back!

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