Free Screening Event – Sat 5 March

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On Saturday 5 March, Birmingham City University are holding a free screening event at the School of Art in Margaret Street, very near the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.  The event is open to the public, and it would be great to see as many people there as possible, so please come along if you can.

We’ll be screening three BBC Pebble Mill dramas: Fellow Traveller, (the only TV film made at Pebble Mill) TX 1991, which will be introduced by Exec Producer Michael Wearing and writer Michael Eaton; A Box of Swan , starring Adrian Dunbar and Pete Postlethwaite, TX 1990; and A Touch of Eastern Promise, TX 1973, which will be introduced by writer Tara Prem and script editor Peter Ansorge.

There will also be the opportunity to see excerpts from a Philip Donnellan documentary made in Birmingham before the building of Pebble Mill: Joe the Chainsmith.




The schedule for the screenings is as follows:

11am-12pm and 2pm-3pm: ‘A Touch of Eastern Promise’ (1973) & ‘A Box of Swan’ (1990)

12pm-1pm: ‘Joe the Chainsmith’ (1958) & ‘A Story of Cradley Heath’ (2010)

1pm-2pm: ‘Made in Birmingham’ (2010).

3pm-4.30pm:            ‘Fellow Traveller’ (1991 )


I hope to see you at the event on Sat 5 March. For more information see this link:


‘Eat Your Words’ – photos by Lynda Kettle

Photos by Lynda Kettle, no reproduction without permission.  Lynda Kettle was a Production Designer at BBC Pebble Mill, working on factual, entertainment and drama shows in studio and on location.  The photos were taken as records of the Sets.

Eat Your Words was a studio quiz show on the subject of food, presented by Lloyd Grossman, with team captains Valentina Harris and Robert Carrier.  The series went out in June 1996 and was made for BBC 1 Daytime, and recorded in Studio A.  There were 10 episodes and each team had a cooking and a non cooking guest. The guests were: Michael Barry, Helen Atkinson-Wood, Derek Nimmo, Anthony Worrall-Thompson, A.A.Gill, Gloria Hunniford, Thane Prince, Carmen Silvera, Juliet Harbutt, Craig Charles, Oz Clarke,John Mcririck, Rosemary Moon, Colin Baker, Denis Quilley, Eve Pollard, Frank Bough, Steven Saunders, Cheryl Baker, Ian McCaskill, Richard Shepherd and Lesley Water.

The production team included series producer Mary Clyne, producer Celia Marks, researchers Vicky Jepson and Nick Harris, PA Marilyn Ward.  Nicola Silk helped develop the series and came up with the title.

Production Designer, Lynda Kettle also worked as a theatre designer and an artist, and now runs courses from her art studio  She is a member of the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists, Birmingham Water Colour Society. Midland Pastel Society and Birmingham Art Circle . She exhibits her paintings several times a year at selected galleries.

Thanks to Veronica Butt, Nicola Silk, Vicky Jepson and Melissa Feather  for adding information about the show.

Eat Your Words studio set

That’s a Wrap! – Andy Meikle’s farewell

Order of Service - Andy's funeral

Andy Meikle’s funeral today was a bitter sweet occasion.  It was sad to be saying goodbye to a man who was loved and appreciated by so many people – for his humour, his positive attitude on life and his ability to get stuck in and complete the task in hand, whether that task was a television programme, a DIY job, or some other project.

A lone piper led the cortege into the Crematorium and to the Chapel.  There was standing room only inside, and the service is one he would have approved of – a celebration of Andy’s life, rather than all sadness and tears.  The coffin was banded with tape – the lower layer advised ‘handle with care’, whilst the upper one said ‘this way up’.  Andy would certainly have appreciated the thought – and that health and safety was important to the end!

The service consisted of some well chosen readings, including a verse read by Jon Meikle (Andy’s eldest son), and a beautifully written poem by one of Andy’s grandchildren, Holly, as well as moving memories about Andy’s life at the BBC and beyond by John Williams, and about his childhood and youth by his brother, David.  David Hogg (Nicola Silk’s partner) spoke eloquently about his memories of Andy.  There were smiles as well as tears – and the service was a certainly a celebration of life rather than a commemoration of death.

It was fitting to see so many former BBC colleagues, and old friends, at Andy’s send off – and lovely to share thoughts of him with them.

There was also a silver lining for me, in meeting up with some of the people who’ve contributed to this website – but that I hadn’t known before!

Our thoughts are with Steph and family, and with Andy’s sons and family at this sad time.


Stefan Buczacki – ‘Gardening Britain’ & ‘Gardening Roadshow’

Photos by Gail Herbert, no reproduction without permission.

Gardening writer, presenter and plant pathologist Dr Stefan Buczacki made a number of gardening series at BBC Pebble Mill:

  • Stefan Buczacki’s Gardening Britain was a six part series transmitted in 1996 on BBC 2.  Stefan travelled round Britain dispensing gardening advice.  This series was recorded as a two camera outside broadcast.  The producer was Clare Boulter and the series producer Clare Stride. (The end of run meal features in the photos).
  • Stefan Buczacki’s Gardening Roadshow was a similar gardening advice show produced at Pebble Mill in 1998 for UK Style.  Again it was recorded as a two camera outside broadcast.  The crew for the series included cameraman Nigel Davey and Noel Paley, and sparks Herbie Donnelly.
  • Stefan also presented several stories for Gardeners’ World in 1990-1, including a feature on the restoration of Heligan Gardens in Cornwall, shown in one of the photos (Stefan with umbrella and palm trees).
  • Stefan also presented a series for UK Style called Stefan’s Ultimate Gardens, where he helped garden owners create a particular style of garden.  This series was recorded single camera.  Series producer Vanessa Jackson, director Paul Newman, researcher Emily Rusted.

Thanks to production assistant Gail Herbert for sharing her photos.

Stefan Buczacki at Heligan Gardens

‘Pebble Mill at One’ – Mark Kershaw

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

The photograph shows Mark Kershaw directing in Gallery C, for a Pebble Mill at One, circa 1984.  Dave Bushell lighting director is at the far end, a Vision Mixer on attachment from Northern Ireland (I forget the name), me and production assistant, Jane Mclean.

Mark Kershaw

Mark Kershaw directing 'Pebble Mill at One'