Welcome to Then and Now, where each week we compare images of Manchester streets, landmarks, buildings and events from bygone days with today.

Our main image this week shows last minute preparations at Granada studios the night before going on air for the very first time. The date is Wednesday May 2nd 1956.

Looking toward the ceiling among the cameras and cables at Quay Street is Granada’s founder Sidney Bernstein.

Keen to save money, he built the studios on a modular basis. Units were left unfinished until there was a demand for them.

Granada bought the Quay Street site from Manchester City Council for £82,000. Part of the Manchester and Salford Junction Canal ran in a tunnel beneath it.

The opening night proved eventful as journalist and presenter Quentin Reynolds turned up inebriated before interviewing Arthur Askey on the programme Meet the People – and had to be sobered up!

granada studios 1956
granada studios
Although the studios were designed by architect Ralph Tubbs, Bernstein’s influence was keenly felt. Granada producer Jeremy Isaacs described him as a ‘genial tyrant’, overseeing almost every aspect of the work.

The studios went on to produce many famous programmes including Coronation Street from 1960 onwards, Brideshead Revisited, World in Action and the Krypton Factor.

After the studios closed in November 2013, ITV Granada and ITV Studios moved to MediaCityUK in the Salford Quays where Coronation Street is currently filmed.

The soap was given a £10m new set with wider streets to allow cars to pass side by side.

*Many more images from Then and Now are featured in The Changing Face of Manchester published to mark the 150th anniversary of the M.E.N.

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