It’s all over now, but Ghosts of Winter Hill was, like so many Urbis exhibitions, much better than the its promotion made it sound.
Greeting visitors with a series of front rooms for each decade from the birth of commercial television in the North West, Ghosts of Winter Hill took us from an incredibly confident and dominant Granada — ‘what Manchester sees today, the rest of the country will see eventually’ — to a time when ITV is barely significant. The Manchester of Tony Wilson and World in Action gives way to independents like Red. As ITV loses it ambition and loses its way, so the BBC fills the void… in part.
But if the exhibition had a flaw, it was never tackled the Granada’s sad decline head-on. The once great independent TV station, simply faded away without explanation. Strangely the consolidation of ITV and selling out of Granada was simply ignored.