‘Olivier was jealous of me’: TV drama pioneer Derek Granger at 100April 19, 2021
On his centenary, the veteran producer recalls adding punch to Coronation Street, bringing Brideshead to the screen and his ‘turbulent’ relationship with one of the acting world’s greats
There are more than 22,000 centenarians in the UK, and on 23 April there will be a sprightly addition to their number: Derek Granger, a former Granada TV producer whose credits include Brideshead Revisited and Coronation Street. Talking to Granger in his Thames-side flat, I don’t get the sense of a man who lives in the past: the latest books are on his desk alongside current copies of the New Yorker and the Times Literary Supplement, and he talks enthusiastically of pre-lockdown theatre visits to see Andrew Scott in Present Laughter and Ian McKellen in King Lear.
One figure who threads his way through Granger’s extraordinary life – and about whom he talks with caustic candour – is Laurence Olivier. It was through Olivier’s intervention that Granger, then a drama critic at the Brighton Evening Argus, was recommended in the mid-50s to the managing editor of the Financial Times, Garrett Moore, who later became Lord Drogheda.