It was the TV show billed as the new Coronation Street when it launched to great fanfare on Friday August 30th 1985.
Granada had high hopes for it. Set in Salford, they described it as a ‘continuing drama series’ rather than a ‘soap opera’.
The TV studios confidently predicted that when Coronation Street was celebrating its 50th anniversary, the new show would be celebrating its 25th.
The programme, in case you missed it, was Albion Market. And it lasted just 100 episodes – less than a year.
The premise should have worked. All the intrigues and dramas of individual store-holders were played out against the backdrop of the permanent market.
But the show’s timing didn’t help. Going out at twice weekly at 7.00pm on Fridays and Sundays was the ‘graveyard slot’.
Albion Market failed to build an audience – and moving it forward to 6.00pm made no difference.
Viewers thought characters were bogged down in the day-to-day running of their stalls. The set was considered pretty drab too.
The producers brought in new faces to boost ratings. Tony Booth arrived from Coronation Street to play Ted Pilkington and singer Helen Shapiro appeared as Viv Harker.
John Michie, later to star in both Coronation Street and BBC hospital drama Holby City, played roguish cake-seller Tony Fraser.
But it was all to no avail. The final episode of Albion Market went out on Sunday August 24th 1986.
The outdoor set lasted much longer. The distinctive arched Albion Market sign above the River Irwell remained intact until 1999.
Albion Market was one of many dramas made by Granada or filmed in Manchester in the 1970s and 80s.
Crown Court, starring John Barron as the stern Justice Mitchenor, ran on ITV from 1972 to 1984. Its 25-minute format, usually covering an individual trial, proved popular.
Some of the most familiar TV stars of the day appeared on Crown Court. Barron, for example, played boss CJ alongside Leonard Rossiter in The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin.
Other well-known names on the Granada TV series included Juliet Stevenson, Tom Conti, Richard Wilson and Eleanor Bron.
One of Granada’s most successful drama series of the 1980s was The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, starring Jeremy Brett in the title role.
Many regard the sharply featured – and sharp-tongued – Brett as the definitive Holmes.
Precise and intellectual, he was the perfect foil for the more humane and forgiving Dr Watson, played by Edward Hardwicke.
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes ran for a decade from April 1984. Each episode was usually 50 minutes long, although some specials lasted more than 100 minutes.
Leigh Lawson was the star of the Granada drama Travelling Man, broadcast for two seasons from 1984. The plot followed Lawson’s search for his son and the people who framed him.
Lawson lived on his narrowboat Harmony and was accompanied by girlfriend Lindsay Duncan. Many scenes were shot around Manchester and the North West.
Travelling Man, broadcast weekly on ITV in a prime 9.00pm slot, was watched by more than 13.2 million at its peak.
The BBC drama Making Out featured all the personalities on the factory floor of the New Lyne Electronics company in Manchester.
Humour was mixed liberally with tragedy as the factory faced redundancies, take-overs and recession – but always managed to carry on.
Margi Clarke headed the cast as Queenie, the outspoken ring-leader of the women workers. Rachel Davies played Pauline, the union shop steward.
Factory boss Rex was portrayed by Keith Allen and Brian Hibbard played Chunky, Queenie’s petty criminal husband. He also appeared as mechanic Doug Murray in Coronation Street.
Hibbard was familiar as a founder member of the pop group The Flying Pickets – and even formed a picket line on Top of the Pops during the miners’ strike of 1984.
Making Out was broadcast on Fridays at 9.30pm from January 1989 to November 1991. The series was created by Franc Roddam, who was also responsible for Auf Wiedersehen Pet.