Laurence Olivier was 'jealous' of me - Eastbourne TV pioneer spills the beans on working with stars

240422 Derek Granger on set of Brideshead Revisited in Venice
Derek Granger with Laurence Olivier during the filming of Brideshead Revisited in Venice Credit: Eastbourne College

A television drama pioneer has been telling anecdotes of his work as a producer in the early days of Coronation Street.

101-year-old Derek Granger also worked on the Bafta-winning Brideshead Revisited starring Laurence Olivier.

Mr Granger was speaking to students as part of the new Circus Creative Arts Festival at Eastbourne College, with proceeds from ticket sales raising money for the school's bursary programme.

He is the school's oldest living former pupil, and was in Powell House at Eastbourne College from 1935 to 1939.

Derek Granger (middle row, far left) at Eastbourne College in 1938 Credit: Eastbourne College

Describing his time on Coronation Street, Derek told ITV Meridian: "I loved it. I absolutely loved it. I think I was probably actually happier during that than anything else in television.

"And you have such a terrific power because you're a sort of godlike figure and you order all these little lives."

After the Second World War, in which he served as a lieutenant in the Royal Navy, Derek worked as a journalist in Brighton as a drama critic for the Evening Argus, socialising with the likes of Laurence Olivier, before being headhunted by the Financial Times as their first drama and film critic.

That led to an invitation from Sidney Bernstein, the head of Granada, to work in television.

He was a producer of Coronation Street in its early days and later became Granada's head of drama.

Speaking of his time being a producer working with Laurence Olivier, Derek Granger revealed: "The thing about the thing about Olivier is he's so jealous of you. He's really furious because you know all the ins and outs of television production, and he doesn't. And it's driving him absolutely mad."

Eastbourne College Headmaster Tom Lawson said: “As we emerge from the pandemic after the challenges of the past two years, it feels especially important to celebrate the power of the arts and storytelling, which can bring us closer together and promote empathy and understanding.

“We’re excited to welcome back Derek Granger, our oldest living former pupil and television legend, to hear tales from his remarkable life and to mark his 101st birthday."

Mr Lawson went on to say the TV veteran continues to be “a great inspiration for all our pupils, staff and audiences."