Film Editors – Peter Poole

Photos by Peter Poole, no reproduction without permission.

The photos include film editors: Oliver White, and John Rosser, along with others, like Dave Brazier, who went on to become a floor manager.  They were taken in the early 1980s, in the Pebble Mill canteen. Also included with John Rosser is Judy (film editor, Ian Bellion’s partner), and film librarian Karen Coulthard. (Thanks to Sharon Pemberton for identifying some of those included).

Please leave a comment if you can identify any others.

Peter Poole

Visiting Pebble Mill – Dave Ackrill

photo by Ben Peissel













I remember going to Pebble Mill as a Scout, for some anniversary or other, being told wonderful rubbish about how the programme wanted to show the ‘modern’ scouts and then almost all the programme focused on the old “dib dib dib” (a phrase that went out in the 50s as far as I can tell) uniforms. It was one of those moments that etched on to my young mind never to trust a journalist…

Later on I met and befriended a young technician who had moved up to Birmingham from London to work at Pebble Mill, he and his (then) wife bought a house not far from where my (now ex) wife and I bought ours. He even bought that off us when we moved further north.

He worked in the control room and did some OBs and had to set up and man some mid point links as well. We were both Radio Amateurs and I think I still have a QSL card from G6BBC and the special event station run from Pebble Mill for ‘Children In Need’. The antennas for the Amateur Radio station were on the roof with long cables down to the ‘shack’ so they put the amplifiers on the roof, near the antennas, to overcome the losses.

The name of my friend was (still is..) Giles Herburt and I still keep in contact with him at times, but he lives near Gloucester now I think.

He did organize a visit to Pebble Mill for a group of radio amateurs and, on odd occasions, I managed to get in to see him when I was an MEB engineer and had to go into the substation that fed Pebble Mill.

On another occasion I was the MEB standby engineer on permanent loan for a day to cover the Test Match at the Edgbaston Cricket Ground. We used to draw lots for that job! I found that the radio technicians were more friendly to a fellow engineer interested in the technology (I was already a Radio Amateur by then) than the TV ones. Maybe the TV lot had more to do, I don’t know, but the radio OB people would allow me to sit and watch them at work and would often brew a cup of tea and have a chat when the cricketers were having lunch or tea. The TV people hardly even acknowledged that I existed…

Dave Ackrill

The following comment was left by Pete Simpkin on the Pebble Mill Facebook Group: ‘Very interesting. Just refering to the point at the end, when I was an OB engineer the commentator, scorer, the PO engineer and I would often be at the other end of say a cricket ground and felt more of a close knit family than the dozens of people at the other end with their catering vans and all day transmissions..much more civilised!’


Demolition of Pebble Mill

Copyright remains with the original holder, no reproduction without permission.

This photo was taken in 2005, when BBC Pebble Mill was being demolished.

Thanks to Tom Poole for making the photo available.

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

Gary Hale: ‘Sacrilege! It breaks your heart.’

Tracy Crump: ‘so sad was the end of an era and so may memories.  Such a sad waste I finished working ther in 1992 but thought it would be there for a long time , BBC should hang there heads in shame !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!’

Tom Poole: ‘Not my shot, but a shot which some folk at the BBC should look hard at and ask the question whether they made a good decision when they destroyed the place. It wasnt just a building which was taken away. What was the cost of this decision? After many years as a pile of rubble they are replacing it with a dental hospital.’

Hilary Hughes: ‘Think they made a huge mistake with the whole thing x very sad and lost a whole load of talent in x that’s letting accountants run the business. The building did have asbestos but when I was speaking to the guys who looked after the building (can’t remember the company name but that was another ‘contracted out’ job) they said it would have been cheaper to stay and get rid of the asbestos, than knock it down, move location and not pay the peppercorn rent x like I said before, that’s what happens when the accountants take over. Beeb made a booboo and couldn’t go back on it without getting egg on their face and wasting licence payers money.’

Mike Eastman: ‘What a shambles ! Who made this ridiculous decision ? We are supposed to be the ‘Second City’ and should have large studios to represent the BBC in the Midlands.’

Helen Smith: ‘It is a sad picture. Many peoples life times were spent in that building. I just take the experience and happy memories.’

Peter Poole: ‘I remember contractors removing asbestos near Studio B. I can’t remember the year, but it was a very hot summer. The air con had to be switched off. The temperature in the gallery was almost unbearable. The studio was even worse, lights were turned off when running VT. Most people were dressed in t shirts and shorts. Even some presenters had shorts on behind the desk! One evening during a live Midlands Today the vision mixer started to switch randomly between cameras and VTs. This was traced to the electronics rack in TAR overheating. The engineers managed to cool it down by pointing fans at it. I think a CO2 fire extinguisher was also used. This seemed to work and the mixer was soon back in action.’

Caroline Parson: ‘Interesting that this photo provokes so much feeling about the loss of BBC Birmingham. I can’t imagine there’ll be anything like the same reaction to a semi-empty Mailbox photo, which is the real end of BBC Brum. I have felt bereft twice! It’s a horrible atmosphere in the mailbox now, much worse than you can imagine. What a sad, drawn out and totally un-necessary demise.’

Dawn Trotman: ‘It is truly awful.’

Studio 3 – Kathryn Shuttleworth

Photos from Kathryn Shuttleworth, no reproduction without permission.

We went through a phase of putting signs on the studio doors of the productions that were currently being recorded.

I spent a lot of time in Studio 3. Always busy with The Archers and Radio Drama. Should I mention that I have the door signs at home!

Kathryn Shuttleworth

Boogie Outlaws – sketches & polaroids by Janice Rider


















































Sketches and polaroids by Janice Rider, no reproduction without permission.

‘Boogie Outlaws’ was a 1987 drama produced at Pebble Mill by Carol Parks, and directed by Keith Godman.  It was written by Leslie Stewart and was about a band on the run from the police.

Janice Rider was the costume designer on the drama.  The sketches are of Janice’s original costume designs, and the polaroids were taken on set, as a continuity record of the actor in the costume for that particular scene.

The following comment was made on the associated Facebook page by Paul Vanezis: ‘Boogie Outlaws was great. It would never get commissioned today!’