Will I ever work for ITV again? Today’s bad news about the broadcaster (pick your own story, there’s one every day) makes it seem increasingly unlikely that there’ll be an ITV to work for. It seems unthinkable. Like a High Street with no Woolworths’.
Today’s ITV isn’t a ‘dinosaur of the 60s’, as one commentator in The Guardian puts it, but a product of the rapacious, consolidating, asset-milking 90s.
ITV in the 60s was a robust, distributed, internally competitive, regionally-aware confederation of strong-management businesses. In the 70s, when I worked for Granada, I was part of a vigorous production centre bursting with an undifferentiated mix of low and high culture. I watched Marc Bolan tape a show in the studio and then went upstairs and peed in the next stall to Laurence Olivier.
Now it’s an inflated, vulnerable, London-based monolith with no identity, no staff loyalty, no viewer loyalty, and a helpless management.
It’s tragic. I loved ITV, it was part of my life until it switched its focus to the ever-dwindling demographic of couch potatoes that it saw as “the ITV audience”. Witnessing its day-to-day fall is like watching a zeppelin crash.