‘Angels’ – Janice Rider

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Specially shot interview with Janice Rider, about working as Costume Designer on the hospital soap, ‘Angels’. ‘Angels’ was a London production, hosted at BBC Pebble Mill. It ran from the mid 1970s until the early 1980s. Julia Smith, who went on to produce ‘Eastenders’, was the producer.

Pete Simpkin a producer and presenter from Radio WM remembers getting help from the ‘Angels’ cast: ‘When we relaunched Radio Birmingham two of the Angels’ actresses came with me to the old Moseley Maternity hospital to help publicise Radio WM’s first birth.’

Julian Hitchcock remembers ‘Angels’ well: ‘I worked on Angels from 1978 as a floor assistant and was very friendly with the cast and production team. I often wondered what became of them.  In 2001, I was working as a lawyer for Granada factual programmes in Manchester, when I heard that my old friend, Kathryn Apanowicz was presenting a programme downstairs on a regular basis. We meant to meet up, but I was appointed to a firm in Melbourne and it never happened, which was such a pity.’

Regional TV Presentation Studio – Peter Poole

Photos by Peter Poole, no reproduction without permission. I took these photos in 2003. They show the self-opt presentation studio which was operated by the news reader. They could opt out of the network programme and switch all the Midlands transmitters to enable a regional news bulletin. With the increasing number of regional bulletins during the Breakfast programme a dedicated production gallery was installed. This freed the news reader from any equipment operation. The gallery enabled video reports to be played and was operated by the director. This area also housed the computer graphics equipment. This was used for the weather maps.

Peter Poole

Stuart Gandy adds the following information: ‘In 1991 there was a project to make the presentation studios in all the regions stereo and included a new self op desk that the presenters used in the studio itself. At Pebble Mill though it was decided to build a gallery for the pres studio as well, that could be used to direct the shorter bulletins from instead of using the main gallery, so needing less people. Hence this was built with a tiny budget. The far end of the gallery here was where the news paintbox was located that was used to produce at very short notice, the graphics for Midlands Today.’

Pete Simpkin remembers visiting the self opt desk: ‘I remember visiting the late David Stevens at work in the self op days and noticed he sat on phone directories as he was a little short to be correctly framed by the locked off camera.’

Mary Sanchez remembers working in the Regional news gallery, ‘ I remember gallery B very well- worked from there for years- vision mixing and directing Midlands Today and Midlands at Westminster etc … Many happy ( and lots of scary!) memories! Self opt desk at 6am – hilarious with carol , sheila and Mandy ….!!’

Roz Gower remembers, ‘the terrifying experience of directing and vision mixing Mids Today! Did the gallery really look that tatty? And the monitor stack looks positively Heath Robinson! But in spite of the gut wrenching nerves it was somehow all great fun.’

‘Pebble Mill at One’ location shoot – Ian Collins & Jane Mclean

Photos by Ian Collins and Jane Mclean, no reproduction without permission.

These photos are of a ‘Pebble Mill at One’ location trip to the Netherlands and Belgium.  They date from 1982.

The photos include Stephanie Silk (white cardigan), producer; Tony Rayner, director.  The presenter in the red suit is Marjorie Lofthouse, and it looks like gardening presenter Peter Seabrook is also featured. Jane Mclean was the PA on the shoot.

The shoots covered Amsterdam, including a trip to a Dutch cheese factory, and the Floriade in Belgium.

Steph Silk remembers the trip: ‘ The girl in the boat was a Dutch pop star of the time and she was about to burst into song. To be fair to Tony Rayner the pic of him was taken in a Dutch cheese factory and not a brewery! The unusual pic of me with a glass of wine and a cigarette was taken at the Floriade, Holland’s gigantic Tulip Festival (when we had wrapped!) I vaguely remember that Tony Wolfe was there? The most notable thing about that shoot is that it was the first and last time that I ever saw Jane cLean in a skirt!’

Bugbusters pilot – Vanessa Jackson

The photo was taken on a location shoot for a Pebble Mill pilot programme called ‘Bugbusters’ circa 1991.  The photo includes Paul Hutchins (Magpie sparks), and Keith Conlon on sound, in the foreground (left to right) Pauline Pearson (PA), Vanessa Jackson (Researcher), Dr Moray Anderson (Entomologist and presenter).  The photo was probably taken by Robert Davies, who I think was the director on the shoot.

The idea was a spin off from the DIY series ‘On The House’, and was about the pests that live in our homes, and how to get rid of them – we’re talking rats, deadwatch beetle, woodworm, moths, wasps, ants etc.  Dr Moray Anderson was an Entomologist (insect expert) at Birmingham University, and was the presenter of the pilot.  I remember putting out calls for contributors on various local radio stations.  After selecting the contributors and recceing the locations we’d take Moray out with us, dispensing advice on how to get rid of the pests.

Stephanie Silk was the programme’s editor.

Unfortunately the series was never commissioned.


VT – photos by Jim Gregory

Nigel Evans & Ivor Williams in VTB

Brain Watkiss in VT A

Dave Schoolden in PSC A

Photos by Jim Gregory, no reproduction without permission.

These photos probably date from the late 1980s, judging by the 1″ tape editing machines, and labels for U-matic and D2 formats in the PSC A photo.

They show several areas of the VT editing department at Pebble Mill.  Programmes recorded in the Pebble Mill studios would be edited in the VT editing suites, and programmes recorded on film or PSC formats, would be finished and onlined in the VT suites.