Phil Reay-Smith loves the first purpose-built TV studio and its proximity to Coronation Street celebs, but is turned off by a new London hospital wing that looks ready to croak

My favourite building is the Granada TV building in Manchester, an excellent modernist fifties office block with the words “Granada TV” written in very dated lettering at the top.

It was the world’s first purpose-built TV studio and predates the BBC Television Centre in Wood Lane, which was built in 1960. These days it’s half empty because ITV has consolidated to cut costs rather than operating a federal system like it used to. But in its heyday it was the headquarters of the busy ITV northern bureau.

The fact that the lettering remains, even though Granada does not, is a marker of how proud people in the region are of their television service. The building is a focal point of that pride. Whenever I work there, I feel like I’m in a proper news building.

I also like the fact that I can sometimes see celebrities wandering around the set of Coronation Street next door and get a bit of glamour in a job that doesn’t offer very much of it.

My least favourite building is the new wing of the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel. I understand that it needs to be big and that we can’t afford the kind of pomp and glory that you might want to lavish on it, given the recession and everything.

But not only does it seem cheap, it also looks like the sort of thing they put up in the seventies which, as soon as they were built, someone said: “Oh, God, we’ve got to tear that down.” I wonder who thought anyone would want to live with it for generations to come. I also worry about the colourful wrapping they’ve used on the outside. It looks like they might have to replace it in a few years. Not just on taste grounds, but because it won’t weather well.

Phil Reay-Smith presents a daily Campaign Mash on ITV’s News at Ten covering the election as seen by social media and the internet. He has worked for ITN since 2000.



Granada House was designed in 1956 by Ralph Tubbs, known for his work creating the Dome of Discovery for 1951’s Festival of Britain on London’s South Bank. The high modernist eight-storey building was the first commercial building to be constructed in Manchester after the war and one of the first created with the curtain wall method of construction.


The £1bn Royal London hospital extension is being built by Skanska to designs by architect HOK behind the original 1750s building. The massive job, which received planning permission in 2006, comprises up to 70 buildings, 12,000 rooms and over half a million pieces of medical equipment.