Reminiscences of a lifetime spent with the great director and actor
As literary consultant to Laurence Olivier in the early days of the National Theatre, and as producer of Brideshead Revisited in the 80s and a series of plays for Granada television, Derek Granger is uniquely placed to give an affectionate and personal celebration of the great director and actor’s life and career.
Granger first saw Laurence Olivier as a ‘quivering sex-mad Veronese’ in the 1935 stage production of Romeo and Juliet, beginning a lifelong admiration, professional collaboration and family friendship, all of which are covered in this entertaining and illuminating talk.
Derek Granger joined Granada in 1958 from the Financial Times where he had been the paper’s first drama and film critic. He was soon made head of the play department and in 1961 was appointed as the second producer of Coronation Street. His appointment partly coincided with the Equity Actors' Strike, which meant that his cast was reduced to fourteen members. He moved on to work on Cinema and World in Action. Following a period at London Weekend Television and the National Theatre he returned to Granada and worked on a variety of acclaimed dramas including Country Matters based on H.E. Bates’s stories and the 1976 production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof with Laurence Olivier, Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner. He is best known as the producer of the award-winning adaptation of Evelyn Waugh’s novel Brideshead Revisited. After he left Granada he produced a number of films including A Handful of Dust. He is now retired and lives in London.
Derek Granger’s Olivier archive is now part of the British Library’s permanent collection.
Image: Derek Granger with Olivier as Lord Marchmain and Stéphane Audran as Cara while shooting Brideshead Revisited in Venice.
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