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Monday, 10 September, 2001, 15:11 GMT 16:11 UK
Michael Grade: Media mogul
Michael Grade
Grade says he has never had a career plan
Michael Grade is a familiar figure in the broadcasting and entertainment industries.

Part of a showbusiness dynasty which includes impresarios Lord Grade and Bernard Delfont (his uncles) he was the son of Leslie Grade, the theatrical agent who booked stars like Bob Hope and Danny Kaye.

His career began in 1960 as a trainee journalist on the Daily Mirror, where he was sports columnist from 1964-66.

It has been said that his father's stroke when he was 23 was a watershed in his life.


Bernard Delfont told him: "You've got to get serious, young man - your father's not going to be the power he was and we need you to learn the business."

He consequently became a theatrical agent with the Grade organisation in 1966 and moved into TV in 1973 as deputy controller of entertainment programmes at LWT.

He joined the BBC One as controller in 1984 and became BBC TV's director of programmes in 1986.

He was widely seen to have had a feel for popular TV - he realised the winning potential of EastEnders - but he also surprised critics by scheduling quality arts programmes.

And Bob Geldof once said that nobody else would have had "the bottle", in what proved a remarkable coup, to hand over a network for 24 hours to Live Aid.


In 1988 he took up the post of chief executive at Channel 4 Television which he held until 1997.

In his eight years at Channel Four, its controversial programming led the Daily Mail columnist, Paul Johnson, to dub Grade the "pornographer-in-chief".

But he put the channel on a sound financial footing and oversaw a growth in its share of viewers.

He left Channel 4 to become chief executive of First Leisure, a post he held until 1999 - when he became chairman of Pinewood-Shepperton Limited, the result of a merger between Pinewood and Shepperton Studios.

He has said that he never had a career plan - some of his appointments have been a surprise.

A former director of the millennium dome project and Camelot, Grade was made a CBE in 1998.

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