Studio Operations (Part 1) – Ray Lee


Studio A lighting gantry 1975, by Jim Gregory

Studio A lighting gantry 1975, by Jim Gregory


Studio A production gallery 1971, by Ivor Williams

Studio A production gallery 1971, by Ivor Williams

























I joined studio operations (as part of the operations engineers “merry go round”) around July 1974. For some historical reason by that stage Studio A was entirely staffed by operations engineers 3 in the gallery and 3 in TAR, whereas Studio B only the gallery was (1 or 2 engineers), the TAR staffing being done by Comms & Engineering services staff. I suspect it was largely due to power struggles / empire building by managers on the 3rd floor trying to justify their existence. At that time Bill Berry was in charge of operations engineers as Ops Organiser, a position which a little later (1976?) John Lannin took on. The Manager Comms. & engineering services at that time was Tony Pilgrim, who in later years was replaced by Doug Taylor, and later still Frank Stevens in the early 1980’s.

Studio operations staff also rotated onto CMCR9 to staff the O.B.s although it was only a sub group who for reasons explained later were often referred to as the Mafia. The staff who at that time crewed both studio’s an O.B.’s were John Bradley, John Moore, Ron Pickering, Steve Searley, Ray Sperry, Jim Cleland, John Abbot, Elson Godbolt. John Allison was the VCMS for the scanner, and Peter Hodges and Mike Lee the VCMS (Vision Control  and Maintenance Supervisor) for Studio A. In theory all 3 VCMS’s could work on the scanner, or in the studio, but in practice Peter and Mike, apart from a brief stint, stayed largely in the studio. Peter had only been appointed VCMS in early 1974, so was quite new in the job when I started working with the Studio A crew.  The other  Studio A engineers included myself, Dave White (who later moved to Norwich), Dennis Kiddy, John Kimberly, Peter Wood-Fisher, Ian Dewar,  and Brian Jones (who did go out on O.B.s’ later- I think he was the first to break in to the select group). There may have been others, and the staff movements were fairly fluid at that time around the studios, VT and TK, although there was no real movement with regard to scanner crewing until around 1977. Jim Howarth was basically the engineer for Studio B gallery, (I don’t recall Jim ever working anywhere other than Studio B) aided by one of the other ops engineers on his days off, and Pebble Mill at One Days. Jim Howarth could very often be found in the club bar, sometimes with only minutes to go to transmission, but always seemed to manage to turn up just in time!

Ray Lee

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