Heron Crane – Bhasker Solanki

Photo from Bhasker Solanki. Copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission

 

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

Robert Meikle: Its a Heron. Great fun to drive in a studio with little in the way of a set. I tracked one for a series of dance shows, basically The Black and White Minstrels, but not with the black make up. Very fast crabs all over the floor, with Ron Greene being very cool on the front. Also good for very, very slow creep in, before zooms were commonplace. Example, also with Ron, Pete and Dud in ‘Not Only but Also’. Happy memories of obsolete ways of working. For the anoraks, powered by hydraulic motors, compressor powered by 3 phase AC, could go for a distance with electrical power off, in silence.

Ian Keown: It was a very scary machine to drive, as it could crab (all 4 corner wheels moving), or steer, with just the two rear wheels moving. It went forward and reverse, and in crab mode if you went all the way round with the wheels, they became reversed, as quite a few studio walls and sets could testify! On the front, the left foot pedal was for craning up and down, and the right pedal moved the seat left and right, but if you had your whole foot on the pedal, and pushed your toe down, the seat moved to the left!It was a monster whichever end you sat on!!

Mark Smithers: Once did a play called ‘The Fallout Guy’ with Dave Bushell as the LD. There was a longish scene with a drive through the desert, so to show movement we mounted a 5k lamp where the camera usually is and I sat on the front to point the lamp with the camera supervisor Paul Woolston driving.

Laura McNeil: That was the only drama I did from start to finish, sound from pre to post-production. I loved working on it. Then I didn’t get a credit on it but the runners did. I almost cried it was awful as I found out when the end credits rolled in the edit suite.

Richard Stevenson: Looks like it’s still in the camera store. All the cable coiled up on the back. As far as I know it never went up to [Studio] B – no height in that studio anyway.

Simon Tooley: It used to come out of the store for ‘Crimewatch Midlands’. There was one mark on the floor, and I used to sit on the back of it in the same place for the whole show! If I remember rightly.

Alan Hussey: Very versatile dolly in the hands of an expert tracker – you could slip it from track to crab on the move. On the front both feet and both hands had individual jobs.

Siouxsie and the Banshees – Look! Hear!


Photos by Christopher Glover, no reproduction without permission.

Siouxsie and the Banshees being recorded in Studio A for Look! Hear! Produced by Roger Casstles. Look! Hear! was a regional music and culture show. The photos date from the mid-1980s.

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

Phil Dolling: This brings back memories I was a very junior sound assistant on the floor, I recall the drummer ‘Budgie’ had his fold-back set to terrifying levels with all the high frequencies wound up. It was like razor blades coming out of the speakers. A brilliant series, it caught a great moment in Midland’s music.

Annette Martin: I mixed it she was v good. Just spotted the lovely Ron Sowton Floor Manager in 2nd pic.

Richard Stevenson: It is pre-1987 when I joined as the new cameras were in by then. Probably the Heron crane – one man to drive it and the camera op had a pedal for up and down plus a second pedal to rotate the seat. If you got them mixed up it got very messy!

Last episode of Pebble Mill at One

Photo by Simon Harris, no reproduction without permission

Photo by Simon Harris, no reproduction without permission

Photo by Simon Harris, no reproduction without permission

Photo by Simon Harris, no reproduction without permission

Photograph by Simon Harris, no reproduction without permission

 

Thanks to Simon Harris for sharing these photographs. They date from May 1986, and were taken on the last ever episode of Pebble Mill at One. The photos show the Royal Navy Sea King approaching Pebble Mill with the roof of the network radio studios in the foreground. Anne Barker, a Radio WM news producer is seen on the roof using a lip mic to give a live commentary. WM producer Conal O’Donnell, pint in hand, poses next to the Sea King. He and fellow producer Robin Brittan are pictured outside the club watching the Lynx take off.

 

 

David Waine 1944-2021- obituary from Jerry Johns

David Waine in 2017

David Waine, who has died at the age of 76, had a career with the BBC spanning 30 years ending as Head of Broadcasting at BBC Pebble Mill in Birmingham.

After leaving school in 1960 he joined the Newbury Weekly News as a trainee reporter where he remained for five years including a spell as Sports Editor at the age of 18. He left in 1964 to become a freelance reporter covering Reading and South Berkshire for BBC South in Southampton as well as regularly contributing to the Radio 4 Today programme and The World At One, where he was known as ‘Waine of Newbury’. Later he joined the BBC in Bristol as a trainee television journalist. Attachments to Plymouth and BBC Southampton followed. The latter post included a memorable encounter with the Duke and Duchess of Windsor aboard the Queen Mary when he persuaded the reluctant Duke to take part in a three minute interview.

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Dome on the roof of Pebble Mill

Photo by Bhasker Solanki, no reproduction without permission

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This dome appeared on the roof of the Pebble Mill office block circa 1980.

The following comments about were posted on the Pebble Mill Facebook page:

Annie Gumbley Williams: The dome was built to be used for recordings, interviews etc. Remember doing one there with Robin Cousins in Roy Ronnie & Roy Norton days. Roy Ronnie used it for meetings sometimes to get out of the office. It made a lot of noise when it rained so not good for recording!

Malcolm Hickman: It also acted like a greenhouse and anything left in there suffered with the condensation.

Andy Shepherd:The dome was bought second-hand from Granada who had used it in the summer of 1979 for their Saturday morning children’s show The Mersey Pirate. The show was based aboard the ferry MV Royal Iris moored at Liverpool Docks. The dome structure was built on the promenade deck of the vessel. The run of the series was cut short by the ITV strike which started in August.

Here are a couple more photos of the dome being installed in 1981. They are from Stuart Gandy.

Photo by Stuart Gandy, no reproduction without permission

Dome being hoisted on to the roof. Photo by Stuart Gandy, no reproduction without permission