Derek Granger (More)

Several newspapers and other media have run obituary notices for Derek Granger. The most comprehensive are those in the Guardian and the Daily Telegraph. The Guardian, for example, mentions some of his other TV work for Granada:

When he took over as the second producer of Coronation Street, from 1961 to 1962, he learned an early lesson in overcoming unforeseen problems. A seven-month strike by Equity members meant that only 13 actors on long-term contracts could appear. Granger’s ruse of using tall children to deliver milk and post failed to impress the union, so he put one of the characters, Dennis Tanner (played by Philip Lowrie), in charge of a theatrical agency and filled out scenes with snakes, sea lions, pigeons, dogs and a chimp.

He then switched to sitcom to create and produce The Bulldog Breed (1962), starring Donald Churchill as the disaster-prone Tom Bowler and Amanda Barrie as his girlfriend, Sandra Prentiss. He returned to comedy with the Coronation Street spin-off Pardon the Expression (1966), relocating Leonard Swindley (Arthur Lowe) to the branch of a national chain store as assistant manager. It was a massive hit, but Turn Out the Lights (1967), a spin-off of the spin-off, with Swindley as a ghost hunter, bombed.

Earlier, in 1964, Granger had a run as executive producer of World in Action. Among the episodes during his time in charge was Seven Up!, featuring seven-year-olds whom Michael Apted, the researcher, would subsequently visit as director of stand-alone programmes every seven years to chart the ups and downs of their lives. Granger also presented Granada’s regional programme Cinema during 1964 and 1965.

The Daily Telegraph cites Derek’s 1952 interview of Waugh in Brighton:

In the early 1950s he interviewed Evelyn Waugh who was convalescing at a local hotel. Contrary to the received image of the famous novelist as rude, snobbish and overbearing, Granger found him “amazingly nice and wonderfully funny”. As they parted after a two hour talk, the writer murmured gravely: “Ours is a very exacting trade, Mr Granger, is it not?”

The Telegraph also mentions, in its closing paragraphs,  an anecdote from the filming of Brideshead of which I was not previously aware:

A lifelong cat-lover, he tried to get felines in all his films. No fewer than 40 were scheduled for one scene in Brideshead, to lap up milk spilled in a road accident. On shooting day in Manchester, it rained and the cats declined to appear. Only one could be coaxed into the shot.

After retiring in the early 1990s, Granger, an engaging talker with an impish mien and relish for the absurd, returned to Brighton where he served as vice-president of the Regency Society and was involved in campaigns by various Brighton societies concerned with development threats to the city’s historic centre.

The Argus (Brighton) also runs an obituary which includes several recent photos of Derek. Ironically, although it refers to Derek’s status as a former employee (his first job after leaving the military in WWII), it fails to note that his 1952 interview of Evelyn Waugh appeared in its sister paper the Sussex Daily News.

This entry was posted in Brideshead Revisited, Interviews, Newspapers and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.