Gyn Freeman and Nicky Steele, Radio WM

Photo by Rod Fawcett, no reproduction without permission

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Co-presenters, Gyn Freeman and Nicky Steele in Area 2 of the Radio WM studio at Pebble Mill.

Thanks to Rod Fawcett for sharing the photo.

The following comments were left on the Pebble Mill Facebook page:

Gyn Freeman: Stuart Roper left, they brought Nicky to enable the station to still have a “double-header” – so I was the co-presenter of the show, as I was with Roper. Actually Nicky and I got on well together and the programme was popular but no way would either of these chaps let me drive the programme unless they took a break or I was doing the phone-in. Just to say that I am feeling just fine, but of course both Stuart and Nicky died so young. I did a double header on Radio 4 for a couple of series, the other presenter was Peter Purves, looking good and even older than me and the producer Peter Everett.’

Tim Manning: ‘If you look through the window, you’ll see that I was the producer, although not for the whole time that they worked together on air.’

Tim Beech: ‘Area 2. John Taynton always used that one for the shared evening show across the Midlands. Ed was always in 5, “driven” from Area 4. As was Tony Butler.’

Anthony Worrall: ‘I remember Nicky’s discos at Honiley Boot before his radio days!’

Gary Hudson: ‘I remember Nicky presenting gigs at Birmingham Town Hall in the 70s. He was already a star of BRMB, and – a day after the sad death of Ed Doolan – that’s a reminder that the commercial lot created all the major local radio personalities in those days – certainly in the West Midlands. Tony Butler was another contemporary, and of course Les Ross, who’d left Radio Birmingham for the glamour of the former Aston Hippodrome.’

Steve Jarvis: ‘I remember Nick when he was Nick Aire at Bishop Vesey School. He had the mot remarkable ten pin bowling style!’

Ed Doolan receiving a lifetime achievement award in 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Australian born, Radio WM presenter, Ed Doolan, has died today (Jan 16th 2018) aged 76. Ed revealed that he was suffering from vascular dementia in 2015.

Radio WM paid tribute to him in the following announcement:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05v1x7y

The following comments were left on the Pebble Mill Facebook page:

Tim Manning: ‘I was Ed’s first producer at Radio WM when he moved to the BBC from BRMB in 1982. There was a bit of nervousness behind the scenes, as this was really the first time the BBC had poached a big name from a commercial rival for a local radio station. Bosses in London were reportedly a bit uncomfortable about the cost, and some staff at WM weren’t too happy, worrying that they were being pushed aside. Ed was also nervous, as he feared that his listeners might desert him and that Radio WM’s audience wouldn’t take to him. John Pickles, then the manager of the station, was convinced that the publicity coup of Ed’s arrival would lift the station’s profile, and that Ed would fit in; he was proved right.

In fact, Ed settled in really quickly, and Radio WM gave him space to grow. Ed was a great showman, with a style more akin to the big TV chat show hosts of the era than conventional radio presenters of the time, and he loved doing celebrity interviews. Nonetheless, underneath the larger-than-life on-air persona, he was a sharp current affairs journalist with a real sense of what mattered to his audience and he really knew and understood Birmingham and the West Midlands. I’m glad he was never spirited away to Network Radio (there was talk of it), as he was at his best skewering local and national politicians on behalf of his listeners. Few broadcasters have had such a lasting impact on their local community.’

Linda Flavell: ‘Ed did quite a lot on Regional TV too, although I thibhe was at his best on radio. Sad loss.’

Katie Cooper: ‘I’m so glad to have seen him at the last Pebble Mill coffee morning I got to. Lovely man.’

Photo from Jonathan Dick, no reproduction without permission

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Midlands Today newsroom at Pebble Mill from the early nineties.

Cathy Houghton in the foreground and David Davies in the background, at BBC Pebble Mill, Birmingham. The computer system was BASYS, which Cathy apparently excelled at!

Thanks to Jonathan Dick for sharing the photo.

The following comments were left on the Pebble Mill Facebook page:

Malcolm Hickman: ‘As a Comms engineer, we sometimes had to see Gwen Smith when there had been a problem with the Saturday results feed. Her bark was always greater than her bite. When you got it wrong, she gave you a tongue lashing, when it went right, she sent out a hero gram. A lovely lady.’

Jane Partridge: ‘I remember when Phil was doing a Saturday Comms shift and I was away (possibly at Guide Camp in those days) he took our eldest daughter into work with him, she was 5 at the time (so 1989-90) and he was heavilly involved in setting up the BAYSIS system. She was used to using the BBC Model B computer we had at home, so going into the newsroom with him, she perched on a stool and was happily occupied tapping away on a keyboard…. the report I got was that there was a newsroom of open-mouthed journalists nervously attempting what this 5 year old didn’t bat an eyelid at.’

Diane Kemp: ‘I remember when BASYS came in. There were some ‘super users’ who taught the rest of us. Jane Green was one, I think??’

Becky Harris sadly died in December 2017, aged 83.

Becky joined the BBC when she was only 14, and worked for the Corporation for over 40 years. Even after she retired, she went back to work for the BBC part time! She worked in different departments over the years, starting in the post room at Carpenter Road, and including working for a Miss Bastipol (sp?) in Personnel, who was apparently very strict. She also worked in the Cash Office at Pebble Mill, as a clerk in Personnel, as secretary to the canteen manager, who I think was Stephen Davies, and for Children in Need. She was never reluctant to pick up new skills – Rani Randhawa in personnel ‘got her on the computer’. Becky knew everyone, and loved working for the Corporation, she would go to work even when she was ill, and regarded the BBC as her second home. She was particularly proud when photographed for the local paper with Ross King, to celebrate her service of 40 years.

Thanks to her daughter, Mandy Scholes, for sharing Becky’s story. Mandy herself worked for the BBC, because of Becky, who introduced her to the right people!

The following comments were left on the Pebble Mill Facebook page:

Rani Randhawa: ‘Kind, hard-working and a very funny lady – I worked with her for many many years and what she didn’t know about filing – wasn’t worth knowing.’

Marie Phillips: ‘Becky was quite simply not A Gem but THE GEM and a friend. She was unusual in loving filing and establishing systems. An absolute Master of the filing cabinet ! My Children in Need paperwork was immaculate in her hands;. she could lay her hands immediately on what was wanted. Becky and I had such fun. A loyal BBC stalwart dearly loved and missed.’

Stephen Davies: ‘I’ll remember Becky for the enormous pride and pleasure she took from her work, which she did brilliantly; and for being a wonderful friend and colleague to everyone she worked with at Pebble Mill.’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission.

Merseybeat was a police drama series which dates from the early 2000s. There were at least four series.

Thanks to VT editor Ian Collins for sharing these screen grabs.

The following comments were added on the Pebble Mill Facebook page:

Steve Saunderson: ‘I was DOP on a few episodes up in Runcorn.’

Fiona Stennett: ‘It was filmed in Runcorn and edited on site by Adam Trotman and John Rosser.
I tracklaid this with Kate Davis. Dave mason and Andy Freeth I think were the mixers.’

Janet Collins: ‘Ian Collins and Mike Bloore were also on site editors The exec producer was Mal Younge. Two of it’s stars were Haydn Gwynne & Leslie Ash.’

Ian Barber: ‘I did the first episodes with Michelle Fairly, later Hayden Gwynne, producer Ken Horn, originally titled Silver Command. Shot in and around Runcorn.’

Barrie White-Miller: ‘I was a regular PC ‘Extra’ way back then, had a chat with Chris Walker about Merseybeat a few months ago. The Police Station set was in Runcorn. Great memories, thank you for posting the photos.’

Anne Sweeting: ‘Celex provided alot of the extras it was filmed in Runcorn’

Daniel Klarfeld: ‘I was a runner on it for a bit’

Dave Rhodes: ‘Leslie Ash joined in series 3 – me and Russell Parker assistants.’

Paul Shuttleworth: ‘It was shot on location in Liverpool logged as a Pebble Mill production.’

Debbie Mitchell: ‘also shot in Widnes and Runcorn. The ‘police station’ was filmed in the old Golden Wonder crisp factory.’

Paul Shuttleworth: ‘I was an extra in a few eps at the crisp factory.’