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Granada Television, now known as ITV Granada, although that name does not appear on air, was a Manchester-based broadcaster covering North West England (originally all the North), the Isle of Man and North Wales.

Going on the air in 1956, they were one of ITV's founding companies, though their history dates back further. The Bernstein brothers, Sidney and Cecil, founded Granada as a chain of cinemas in Dover all the way back in 1930 (if you're wondering why they named themselves after a place in Spain, they'd recently gone on holiday there and thought it an exotic name). They bid on the Northern ITV franchise because that way, it wouldn't affect their Southern-oriented cinema operations; further, Sidney Bernstein saw opportunity in going to the North, and indeed he became a "genial tyrant" in that he became fiercely protective of Granada TV's Northern focus and identity, to the point their whole viewing area was nicknamed "Granadaland".

That being said, the cost of building their new studio facility in Manchester caused Granada to be on shaky financial footing, and London's weekday ITV franchise, Associated-Rediffusion, had to secretly bail them out (as the Independent Television Authority would've blocked the deal had they known about it). Ultimately, as ITV's popularity increased, Granada got more profitable and ended the deal (to Rediffusion's annoyance). During their early years, Granada, while broadcasting across to Yorkshire, also was limited to weekdays; the weekends were handled by ABC Weekend TV, owned by British film company ABPC and who also handled weekend TV in the Midlands.

The 1968 franchise round saw several changes; Granada was now limited to the North West, with the entire Yorkshire area being split off and given to a new company, Yorkshire Television. However, Granada now began to broadcast at the weekends, as outside of London the weekday/weekend split was eliminated and ABC went away, being sort-of merged with Rediffusion (it's complicated) into the famous Thames Television.

Outside of TV and theaters, Granada owned quite a few other businesses — TV and electronics rental, book publishing, theme parks, bowling alleys, and most notably motorway service stations. Ultimately, as Granada became more of a media company, most of their other ventures were sold, with their service stations being the last thing to go, in 2001.

When ITV's rules were changed to allow stations to buy each other (thanks, Thatcher), the entire network in England and Wales ended up being owned by Granada Plc (first buying LWT, then Yorkshire-Tyne Tees, Meridian, Anglia and finally Border) and Carlton Communications (which had bought Central, Westcountry and HTV), which were finally allowed to merge into ITV Plc.

Granada's Quay Street Studios – home to Granada since its earliest days – finally turned off its famous illuminated sign and closed permanently in 2013 when production was moved to MediaCity in Salford Quays. To mark the occasion, ITV broadcast a 90-minute retrospective called Goodbye Granadaland, complete with Granada front and end-caps (probably for the last time ever).

Shows made by Granada include:


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Granada Television

A tuneful, little number, from Granada in 1968.

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