(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog February 2013, reposted to this blog with permission.)
Sir Denis Forman,
the former Granada TV chairman who was responsible for putting Coronation Street on TV in 1960, has died aged 95.
The Guardian carries his obituary detailing a remarkable 50-year career. Sir Denis, who died on Sunday night in a
nursing home in London, was also director of the British Film Institute
and deputy chairman of the Royal Opera House but it was his work in
television of which he was most proud.
One of the founding
executives of Granada TV in the mid 1950s, Forman went on to become is
joint managing director and chairman between 1974 and 1987.
responsible for a new generation of programmes that helped to redefine
British TV, including Coronation Street. In an interview with The Guardian he once said this about the show:
"I recognised its merit and I supported the move to get it on air, but I was not 100% behind
it. I was nervous. Everyone was. Look at those accents. Anyone in
broadcasting reading one of those scripts would say: 'It's impossible.'"
Granada made it possible, though initially only as a 13-part series.
The Daily Mirror's review of the first episode was scathing. "The
programme is doomed from the outset," it intoned, "with its gloomy tune
and grim scene of a row of terraced houses and smoking chimneys." But it
was a ratings triumph, became a twice-weekly fixture, and within six
months was the most-watched programme on British TV.
And here at the Coronation Street Blog we've just checked through Sean Egan's book - 50 Years of Coronation Street, the Unofficial Story. It says Sir Forman gave Tony Warren his first exclusive writing contract at Granada TV. And as we all know, Tony ended up penning the first episodes of Coronation Street, of which Sir Forman says this:
"If we'd been in London, I don't think we would have made Coronation Street. I don't think anyone in London would have made Coronation Street".
And his verdict on Tony Warren's first script for Florizel Street, as Corrie was originally known was this: "Good characters, good dialogue."
At the end of the day, I think that's all we really need.
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