Granada was one of the earliest ITV franchises to launch, and became the longest-running one of all. They launched in May 1956 and at first covered just about the whole of the north of England. In their earliest idents they made very clear that their programming had come “from the North”, and such was their impact that the region soon became affectionately known as “Granadaland”.
By 1968 there were some changes, with new company Yorkshire taking over most of their coverage area, meaning that Granada now only broadcast to the north-west of England. Around this time along with the launch of colour, Granada launched a new symbol. When I was younger, I couldn’t really work out what it was supposed to be, but it turns out it’s a “G” shape which turns into an arrow pointing north. This was used by Granada throughout the 70s and 80s, and wasn’t accompanied by music.
Being one of the biggest regions, Granada contributed a huge amount of programming to the network, with Coronation Street, which launched in December 1960, arguably being the most successful programme in ITV’s history. The local news programme Granada Reports has also been successful over the years and has been hosted by various people including Richard Madeley and Anthony Wilson.
There are lots of Granada continuity clips online, and they have been good to watch. Granada had in-vision continuity for many years until 1996, and they had various announcers including Charles Foster and Jim Pope who became popular with viewers. Also until 1988 they had a closedown sequence which would feature the clock along with a specially made piece of music. I should also point out that I haven’t ever been to the Granada region, but my sister has and she enjoyed watching Granada, and was very pleased that you could also pick up S4C too!
The most memorable of the all the announcers though was Colin Weston. Although I wasn’t familiar with him before I saw clips of him online, I have found his announcing style very enjoyable, it could be said that nobody else really could do it like him and he stayed with Granada for about 30 years, always eager to inform us about the programmes, with whether it was daytime or nighttime seemingly being no problem for him, and he was always a star in the booth.
When the late-80s came, Granada were not that interested in taking the ITV corporate look, but they did attempt to modernise their look, changing the “G” symbol to various different colours and appearing on different backgrounds, and finally adding some music to their idents, dropping the yellow-on-blue look in the early-90s for a white-on-blue one.
Granada continued into the 90s by changing their look again in 1995 with another variation of the symbol this time on a dark blue background. Also by this time Granada had branched out into digital and satellite television, producing various spin-off channels including the great Granada Plus which made creative use of showing various programmes from the Granada and LWT archive, and it was a shame when the channel closed down in November 2004. Also by 1999 they had taken the second ITV corporate look.
By the 2000s Granada started to take over the other ITV regions, and for a short while they introduced a new purple symbol which meant odd credits at the end of programmes such as “A Granada Yorkshire Production” which didn’t seem right really. But after a while like all the other regions in England their name left the screen, and their shows are now simply credited to “ITV Studios”, but few regions have had a bigger impact on the look of ITV over the past six decades.