Bernstein, Sidney Lewis, Baron

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BERNSTEIN, SIDNEY LEWIS, BARON (1899–1993), British television pioneer and publisher. Born in Ilford, Essex, Bernstein inherited his interest in show business from his father, Alexander Bernstein (d. 1921), who owned a group of cinemas. Sidney Bernstein was a founder of the Film Society in 1924, and started his Granada chain of cinemas at Dover in 1930. During World War ii he was film adviser to the British Ministry of Information (1940–45) and chief of the film section, shaef (Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Force; 1943–45). Bernstein introduced additional entertainments into his cinemas, including art exhibitions, and established links with Hollywood. However, his most important interest eventually became the Granada group of television companies operating mainly from Manchester. Bernstein had seen the possibilities of television in 1948 but could not obtain a license until the British Television Act of 1954. The Granada companies made many endowments to universities. He and his brother, Cecil Bernstein (a fellow director), gave £300,000 in 1965 for the establishment of a Northern Arts and Sciences Foundation. After 1961 he acquired a substantial interest in the publishing companies of Rupert Hart-Davis, McGibbon and Kee, and several others. A Labour supporter, he was awarded a life peerage in 1969.

add. bibliography:

C. Moorehead, Sidney Bernstein: A Biography (1984); J. Tinker, Television Barons (1980); odnb online.

[John M. Shaftesley]

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Bernstein, Sidney Lewis, Baron

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