Granada TV shows like Coronation Street, University Challenge and the Comedians will forever hold a special place in the nation’s viewing memories.

But how many will remember less familiar productions like The Man in Room 17, Nice Time or the 1970s pop sensation Shang-a-Lang?

How many will recall the play series Laurence Olivier Presents, crime drama Cribb or short-lived sci-fi programme The Corridor People?

Wendy Padbury in the Granada drama series Seasons of the Year, May 1971

Wendy Padbury in the Granada drama series Seasons of the Year, May 1971

All these, and many shows like them, were part of Manchester’s weekly TV viewing from the 1960s to the 1980s.

Some helped launch household names like Kenny Everett and Julie Goodyear while others faded into obscurity after lasting just a few episodes.

The sketch show Nice Time, broadcast from 1968 to 1969 proved so popular that it was extended to the whole ITV network.

Gillian Hills in the Granada children’s TV drama The Owl Service, August 1969

22 year old Gillian Hills, the girl who plays the leading part in the new Granada TV series “The Owl Service”. 28th August 1969.

The programme was built around viewers’ requests to see favourite moments from comedy films, but also featured original stunts and sketches.

One of these involved Grand Prix drivers Stirling Moss, John Surtees and Denny Hulme racing each other in Dodgem cars!

Nice Time gave young DJ Kenny Everett his first TV break and also featured little-known Warwick University lecturer Germaine Greer. It was produced by future BBC Director-General John Birt.

Julie Goodyear, left, in a scene from The Man in Room 17, December 1965

Julie Goodyear, left, in a scene from The Man in Room 17, December 1965

The Man in Room 17 was an extraordinary 1960s crime drama where former wartime agent and criminologist Edwin Oldenshaw (Richard Vernon) solved difficult police cases by discussing them with his assistants played by Michael Aldridge and Denholm Elliott.

Vernon and his panel never actually left the room –the police did all the leg work. Separate directors were used to film the interior and exterior scenes to give the two elements of the programme their own identity.

The Man in Room 17 ran from June 1965 to August 1967. Our picture from December 1965 shows Julie Goodyear, left, in one of the episodes along with Averil Hudson, Celia Rhodan, Maureen Hayden, Muriel Roberts and Lis Brown.

Robert Wagner and Natalie Wood fly into the UK for Granada TV’s Laurence Olivier Presents, April 1976

Robert Wagner and Natalie Wood fly into the UK for Granada TV’s Laurence Olivier Presents, April 1976

The show’s new star, Amber Kammer, is sitting on the car bonnet. She played Tracey Peverill in series two and also appeared in Z Cars, the Troubleshooters and ITV’s Play of the Week.

Few stars were bigger than Natalie Wood and husband Robert Wagner when they appeared in the Granada series Laurence Olivier Presents in April 1976.

The American duo flew into the UK to perform in Olivier’s TV version of the Tennessee Williams’ play Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

Cilla Black in Granada’s TV special The Music of Lennon and McCartney, November 1965

Cilla Black in Granada’s TV special The Music of Lennon and McCartney, November 1965

Six plays were adapted for the series – and Olivier starred in five of them. Other performers included Edward Woodward, Alan Bates, Carrie Fisher and Helen Mirren.

As well as employing Olivier, Granada TV was renowned for pioneering the work of new writers and backing cutting-edge directors.

Wendy Padbury was one of the stars of the 1971 drama Seasons of the Year, a highly acclaimed series of six plays about the occupants of a country house over 150 years.

Olympic swimmer Anita Lonsbrough, centre, wins the Northern Sporting Personality of the Year Cup alongside Burnley captain Jimmy Adamson and sprinter Dorothy Hyman, December 1962

Olympic swimmer Anita Lonsbrough, centre, wins the Northern Sporting Personality of the Year Cup alongside Burnley captain Jimmy Adamson and sprinter Dorothy Hyman, December 1962

Actress Anne Kirkbride made her TV debut playing a footballer’s girlfriend in the Jack Rosenthal drama Another Sweet Sunday and Sweet F.A. in October 1971.

The one-off play was part of Granada’s Sunday Night Theatre series and led to her being offered the part of Deirdre Barlow in Coronation Street.

The eight-part series The Owl Service, adapted from Alan Garner’s children’s fantasy novel, broke new ground when it was screened in the winter of 1969 to 1970.

Band leader Count Basie and singer Annie Ross recording at Granada studios, April 1962

Band leader Count Basie and singer Annie Ross recording at Granada studios, April 1962

It was Granada’s first fully scripted colour production and was filmed almost entirely on location at a time when almost all TV drama was shot in the studio.

There was a deliberate sense of disorientation. Two time periods overlapped as the young cast, led by actress Gillian Hills, faced the ghosts of Welsh myth and legend.

Critics at the time thought the series too avant garde and frightening for children. But The Owl Service today is regarded as a landmark production in children’s drama.

Big names in the world of sport and music were continuously coming to Manchester for programmes like the annual Northern Sporting Personality of the Year awards and the ground-breaking So It Goes hosted by Tony Wilson.

Anne Kirkbride, right, and Clare Sutcliffe in Granada’s Another Sunday and Sweet F.A., October 1971

Anne Kirkbride, right, and Clare Sutcliffe in Granada’s Another Sunday and Sweet F.A., October 1971

The Beatles often recorded shows at Granada’s Manchester studios during the 1960s. But one of their productions, the Music of Lennon and McCartney made in November 1965, was a little bit different.

It featured other artists singing Beatles’ songs.

Cilla Black performed It’s For You, Lulu belted out I Saw Him Standing There and Esther Phillips flew in especially from the USA to sing And I Love Him.

The highlight of the show was Peter Sellers’ version of A Hard Day’s Night delivered in the style of Shakespeare’s Richard III.

It’s still a cult classic even now.

Denny Hulme races Stirling Moss on the Dodgems for the TV programme Nice Time, July 1968

Denny Hulme races Stirling Moss on the Dodgems for the TV programme Nice Time, July 1968

Many more unmissable pictures and memories of the past can be found in Clive Hardy’s brilliant book Around Manchester in the 1970s – now on sale at a reduced price for M.E.N. readers.

Clive’s two companion books, Around Manchester in the 1950s and 1960s, are on offer at a reduced price too!

Just check out our online shop for more details or ring 01928 503777 to place your order.