Farewell Cheggers, Goodbye Granada
Nik Wheatley, ITV’s Creative Multiplatform Controller sheds a tear (almost) about parting with the old ITV building in Manchester and welcoming a new 'orange' home.
It was with a heavy heart that he nation said goodbye to Keith Chegwin on Sunday night - at least in the “seeing him scurry across ice rinks on blades” sense. Shame - we Brits do love an underdog and his rendition of Gangnam style wasn't without charm. Jason Gardiner thought he had done enough to survive for another week or so but in the grand scheme of things it mattered not - he wasn't going to win. By the time Beth, Gareth & co have cranked up another level of excellence next Sunday it's difficult to believe anyone will offer much more than a cool shrug for Cheggers' absence.
Actually there's an uncanny parallel with our own building move up here in Manchester. Today we left the sagging bosom of our long-term home in Granada Studios and set up shop in our new home: 'The Orange Building' (more grey meets black in honesty) in Salford Quays.
The view from The orange building. Photo: Amy Burgess
Ok so technically Granada looked as though it had evaded the decorators since 1974, the lifts appeared to be running on technology long pre-dating that era and air con seemed to a fanciful concept throughout much of the building but, well, it was our malfunctioning relic and some people had been there a long time.
While I wouldn't say anyone was desperately upset to leave (I heard someone make a barely credible remark about almost shedding a tear - which they quickly withdrew) there was a sense of trepidation about what life would hold in The Orange Building.
So one day in I think we have an idea of where things are going. To hold the analogy – right now we are feeling a bit Beth Tweddle - effusing technical brilliance but room for a smile or two mid routine - it will come but may take a stab from Jason's ascerbic tongue over the next week or two while it gets things in order.
All-in-all the new home is brilliant and much more befitting the sort of dynamic media company we have become at ITV. Things (like the lifts) work - the use of space is great and there are loads of breakout spaces to go and be spontaneous - Granada was never really intended for such purposes.
Beyond the functional though the old segregation of teams and disciplines from Granada days is also mercifully done with. Turn around and rather than an empty corridor you find Citv! which is brilliant actually. Look the other way and it's News - finally you get the sense of working in TV - ITV indeed.
Over the coming weeks white walls will be decorated with icons from the heart of popular culture and the confusion over which door leads to the loos versus the lifts will long since have passed. Once the stroll to the 5th floor for a coffee feels a bit more like part of the morning routine it's hard to believe anyone will offer much more than a cool shrug on account of our old home.