The Archers’ stairs

3 different staircases, wardrobe MFPhoto by Martin Fenton, no reproduction without permission.

This photo was taken in 2003 in Radio Studio 3 at BBC Pebble Mill. It shows three differently textured staircases – carpet, concrete and metal, so that the sound effects on The Archers and other radio dramas were authentic.

Martin tells me that it was usually the technical staff doing ‘spot’ sound effects on radio drama who would walk up the stairs, rather than the actors themselves, but sometimes the actors also used them.

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

Richard Abraham: ‘Once did spot for a single episode of the Archers. When you’ve jiggled four belts to emulate bridle noise behind Sara Coward & Judy Bennett then you’ve really lived. Largely because to get their voices right for riding they shifted from one Foyt to the other. Their bottoms were a joy to behold!’

Carolyn Davies: ‘Definitely both the spot fx person and actors used them….think there was a fake door at the top….and it wasn’t just the Archers, ST3 did tonnes of radio drama..’

Peter Wild: ‘It was a bit of both. If you can it’s always best to get the actor to do it for real. Sometimes that just isn’t practical. I directed many scenes on those stairs – which offered four surfaces. Take the carpet off and you have bare wood.’

Maggie Humphries: ‘My claim to fame is my ‘laughing’ dubbed onto a girl in a market in Israel with Topol for a documentary made by the Pebble Mill at One team…….’

Hedli Nik: ‘My great claim to fame is being Juliet Stevenson’s feet running down the stairs in Jane Austen! I did have a part as well…’

 

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