ITV Quits the North and SMG gets a bit upset. 

19 November 2003 tbs.pm/780

When you think about it, it was inevitable but that hasn’t stopped the Guardian telling the world about Granada’s secret plan leave its Manchester HQ.

The rather dismal grey office block that has been home to Granada since it was born looks set to be put up for sale, whilst the offices will move into a converted warehouse nearby.

More than likely though is that ITV plc will be firmly based in the bright lights of London, and the converted warehouse will house not the bosses, but production staff. After the takeover of LWT, a number of Granada Media bosses have already moved south. The current move could easily mean the rest follow.

If it does, it won’t be the end of the Manchester production base, merely the that one of the original aims of franchise system, of spreading facilities across the country, will have been abandoned for good.

Of course the Guardian too once made the journey from the north to the bright lights and overcrowded streets of London, so perhaps they can give ITV plc some tips.

I say ITV plc but in this game, these things are never certain. SMG, owner of Grampian and Scottish, has had many a run in with Carlton and Granada in the past over their hijacking of the ITV name for their on-air activities, but today the Guardian is reporting they’re not happy over the proposed use of ITV plc for the combined company. And who can blame them. We’re still not at one ITV yet, despite what some reporters seem to think. The new ITV plc will only cover England and Wales, not Scotland, Northern Ireland or Channel Islands. But then ITV (England & Wales) plc isn’t as catchy is it?

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