Marconi Mark One Camera – Pete Simpkin

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I remember the Marconi Mk ONE……we trained on them at Evesham (Wood Norton) and this picture is of three of us carrying out some ‘impact’ maintenance on one of them! On the left is Phil Upton showing where to hit the camera and wielding the panning handle is Keith Tucker. We were from all the regional studios and I cannot recall the members from Birmingham on TA Course 16 in the Spring of 1963.

Pete Simpkin


‘Fellow Traveller’ – interview with writer, Michael Eaton

This interview with writer, Michael Eaton, was recorded in spring 2011 at an archive screening event of the 1991 drama, ‘Fellow Traveller’.  It was the only feature film release from Pebble Mill, and was a co-production with HBO.  Michael Wearing was the producer, and Philip Saville the director.  It starred Imogen Stubbs, Ron Silver, Hart Bochner, and Daniel J Travanti.  The story covered the blacklisted American writers in the McCarthy era.  Many of these writers fled abroad, and some ended up working on British television shows like ITV’s ‘Robin Hood’.

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‘Fellow Traveller’ – Michael Eaton from pebblemill on Vimeo.

Telly Addicts – Hooferdoofer

One of the characteristics of ‘Telly Addicts’ was a specially made ‘remote’, which Noel Edmonds would use to cue the clips for the contestants. This device was called the ‘hooferdoofer’.

The ‘hooferdoofer’ was built by Dave Pick from engineering, ‘It was unusual in that it didn’t use infra red light like a TV remote, it used low frequency radio picked up by a wire loop that ran all round the set. This meant that Noel didn’t have to point it in any particular direction. The three buttons operated three lights in the gallery via tie-lines from the studio floor.’

Louis Robinson came up with the name of the remote:‎ ‘”Hooferdoofer” was a word I stole from my grandmother to describe the remote.The requirement was – if I remember – Jules May wanted Noel’s hooferdoofer to signal her as the director giving her freedom to cue the clips thus keeping her control of the studio. The tightness of the relationship between Noel’s intro and the start of the clip was 90% done by the excellent editing in post production.’

Marconi Mark 3 Camera – photo from Dave Kirkwood

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This is a very young ‘me’ with a Marconi Mark 3 camera. This was one of the iconic cameras of the era (1960s) used in studios and outside broadcasts. It was the one featured on the original opening shots for ‘Grandstand’.

(Incidentally it was the Grandstand titles that inspired me to go for a career in broadcasting). The camera was obsolescent by the time this was taken but still in daily use at Gosta Green (pre BBC Pebble Mill).

Dave Kirkwood

Former Radio WM presenter, Gordon Astley, remembers working at Gosta Green: ‘I was there as my first posting after Wood Norton. My biggest thrill was being allowed to play on the new colour cameras …I seem to remember a scanner outside. Then I went to be a boom operator on all sorts of shows such as “The Doctors”. Looking back I should have stayed on staff, and now would be living on an island on a hefty pension!!!’

The Power and the Glory – thank you letter

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This thank you letter was sent to Dave Mason for his dubbing of the motor racing series: ‘The Power and the Glory’.

‘The Power and the Glory’ was a twelve part series about the history of motor racing from the 1890s, looking at the designers, the drivers and the action on the race track.  It was a co-production between BBC Pebble Mill and John Gau Productions. It was transmitted in 1991.  Ivan Rendall was the Executive Producer.  Philip Tibenham was the narrator.