Michael Grade: Screening the Image
Virgin Books (1992)
Michael Grade is one of the most colourful and controversial figures in British broadcasting. The red braces, flamboyant style and `family’ cigar typify a man whose career has, by any standards, been dazzlingly successful. He is at the peak of his profession. All who know him speak of his ready wit, immense charm and mastery of the one-liner. Even his critics admit it: Michael is fun.
Yet critics there are. To some broadcasting insiders Michael Grade’s achievements are questionable. He has, they say, never made a programme in his life. His appointment at Channel 4 was greeted with horror by insiders who accused him of dragging ITV and the BBC downmarket and feared the same for their channel. He is dismissed as a self-publicist whose best work builds on the achievements of others.
Grade’s personal life, like his career, has been punctuated by controversy and unhappiness. Abandoned by a mother of whom he never speaks, twice divorced, and alienated from a sister to whom he has not spoken for 20 years, his personal life betrays the complexity of the man.
Michael Grade — Screening the Image examines the man behind the myth. A man whose achievements are undeniable, but a man driven by the need to match the success achieved by his uncles — Lew Grade and Bernie Delfont — and whose fame appears never to have given him what he seeks.