Bill Grundy was for many years a well known television presenter and broadcaster around Manchester networks in the 1960s and 1970s. But he is probably best remembered as the presenter of the Thames Television’s “Today” programme and a notorious interview with the recently emerged Sex Pistols in December 1976. His confrontational interviewing technique, like a red rag to a bull, egged the punk musicians on to utter their now famous four-letter ‘ f ‘ word, live, before an estimated audience of several million viewers, at a time when such language was not heard in braodcasting – it was to become the TV interview from hell. Grundy’s intended probing investigation of Punk Music quickly degenerated into a vicious and outrageous slanging match of expletives. Switchboards became jammed with protesting calls and the following day saw the tabloid newspapers describing the show as “The Filth and The Fury”. There were also accusations of drunkenness. In the event, Grundy was suspended for two weeks. Though he was later reinstated, his contract was not renewed in 1977, and Grundy is commonly thought to have been “sacrificed” by Thames Television as a sop to placate an outraged public opinion. Bill Grundy’s career virtually ended as a result of the infamous interview, the former Granada Television star saw fewer and fewer jobs being offered, and his hosting of “What the Papers Say” in the early 1980s marked the end of his television career. Despite numerous erroneous reports that Bill Grundy died as a result of injuries sustained in a car accident, we are reliably informed by Tim Grundy, his son (see below), that Bill Grundy passed away from a heart attack, his wife and eldest daughter at his bedside, in a nursing home in Rose Hill, Marple on 9th February 1993 at the age of 69.
Timothy Grundy was born in Manchester on the 4th July 1958. His mother is Scottish and his father, Bill Grundy, (see immediately above) was the famous broadcaster who came to national notoriety during an ill-fated interview with the Sex Pistols during a live television programme in 1977.
In 1975, at the age of 17, Tim began work as a coffee boy at Piccadilly Radio in Manchester and over the next 14 years he rose to be the presenter of the “Breakfast Show” and became the station’s Programme Controller.
Tim is a fully qualified journalist, whose folksy relaxed style has made him a popular television presenter, where he works predominantly for Discovery Channel and other satellite broadcasting companies.
His appearances are numerous, including from 1990: “Showbiz People”, “People Today”, “See You Sunday”, “The Forum” and “Pebble Mill”.
From 1995 onwards he appeared in several of the by now highly successful “Two’s Country” series, including “Two’s Country Cooking”, “Two’s Country Spain”, “Two’s Country Caribbean”, “Two’s Country Eastern Europe”, “Two’s Country Get Stuck In” and “Travelling Light”.
1999: “Great Estates” , “Two’s Country” which was renewed into 5 television series, “Ship to Shore”, “Show People” and “Car Country” among others.
2000: “The Villagers”, “Cabin Fever”, “Last in the League” and “A Room with a Clue” .
Tim has two children and is chairman of The Children’s Adventure Farm Trust. He also does work for other charities including the Boys and Girls Welfare Society.
Local television announcer and actor Charles Foster worked at Granada Television, where he was one of their main announcers in the 1970s and 1980s. Foster had great warmth and charm and, besides announcing for Granada Television in Manchester he also narrated several schools programmes and acted as the voice-over on several game shows including James Burke’s “Connections” .
His wife, actress Meg Johnson has featured in “Coronation Street” and in “Brookside”,
Charles Foster retired in the early 1990s, but has periodically appeared in small acting roles in television programmes, and he has continued to do voice-overs.
Colin Weston was a familiar face as an announcer for several television companies, including Granada Television, Tyne Tees Television and Border Television from the 1970s until the mid-1990s. He started his career in 1968 with ABC Television, and later was an announcer for the London Weekend Television Company and at Southern Television.
During three decades as an announcer on many ITV stations, Colin stood out for his warmth and sense of humour.
He parted company with Granada when all northern continuity for the Granada Media Group was centralised in Leeds. Since then he has continued with voice-over work, and in the 1990s has occasionally been an announcer at Carlton Television in London.
Jim Pope was a former radio presenter who moved into television announcing as a result of a suggestion by Pat Phoenix who at that time played Elsie Tanner in Granada’s “Coronation Street”.
Jim Pope had been a continuity announcer at HTV West in the late 1960s and early 1970s before moving to Granada where he remained until his retirement. After leaving his announcing job, Jim continued with voice-over work, and was well known as the voice of “University Challenge” which is produced by Granada Television for the BBC. Jim Pope died in November 2001.
Bob Smithies was a well-known Granada presenter from 1974 to 1997. A former Guardian newspaper photographer, he joined the company to present “Granada Reports”, “Granada Tonight” and the long-running countryside programme “Down To Earth” . He retired to live in the Lake District and still enjoys photography.
Mike Scott joined Granada Television in 1956 as a floor manager and quickly moved into a role as Director, having directed several early episodes of “Coronation Street”( from 1960 to 1961); he also presented “Cinema” from 1965-68. He later moved into management before returning in front of the camera as presenter of ITV’s daytime discussion programme “The Time…The Place…” from 1987 until the early 1990s.
The texts and Image used in this entry were sourced from the Continuity Booth website at www.continuity-both.co.uk