Empire Road – Wedding

Photos from Janice Rider, no reproduction without permission.

The wedding episode of the black soap opera, ‘Empire Road’ was transmitted on 25 October 1979, it seems to be the final episode.  It was directed by Horace Ove, written by Michael Abbensetts, and produced at Pebble Mill by Peter Ansorge.  Janice Rider was the costume designer.

Norman Beaton played Everton, Corinne Skinner-Carter played Hortense, Wayne Laryea played Marcus.

The photos include publicity stills, polaroids taken for continuity reasons and the original drawn design for the wedding dress.



Writer, David Rudkin, talking about Alan Clarke

David Rudkin on Alan Clarke from pebblemill on Vimeo.

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Specially shot interview with writer, David Rudkin, talking about working with director, Alan Clarke, on the 1974 Play for Today, ‘Penda’s Fen’.

‘Penda’s Fen’ was produced at Pebble Mill by David Rose, and  script edited by Tara Prem.  The film tells the story of Stephen, a troubled 18 year old who rejects the traditional church he was brought up into, in search of an older pagan faith.

Telecine – Ray Lee (Part 3)











Photo by John Kimberley, no reproduction without permission.

One aspect of telecine operation involved tariffing the film. TARIF was an acronym for Technical Apparatus for the Rectification of Indifferent Film. (There were other translations). The problem was that standard film prints have too high a contrast range and too variable a colour range to translate well into TV pictures, and so some means of correcting this was required. Where films were shot specifically for TV, special low contrast prints were used, but news items on reversal film had no opportunity to be graded other than by the camera operator getting the exposure right in the first place. The TARIF unit worked in conjunction with the TK processing chain, and was usually operated by a pair of joysticks. The left hand one affected the blacks, and had green red and blue on 3 axes at 120 degrees apart, and a twist control to alter the overall black level. The Right hand one was similar but affected the whites, with the twist control setting overall signal level (or brightness).
There was a display which showed the red green and blue signals just below the transmission monitor, to help guide the operator, and a greyscale light box above the monitor to allow for both monitor calibration and a guide to the operator for overall colour balance.

The tarif control panel also had a set of rotary switches which could be set to fix a specific colour axis and then just use a master lift and gain. This was rarely used, as it could not be changed quickly and was only really of benefit where a properly graded print had a particular colour cast which needed correcting without the need to be changed. The joystick control provided the quickest means of correcting the errors, but relied on the quick reactions of the operator.

Ray Lee

Gardening Neighbours – Becky Land

Ali Ward pictured with Adam Pascoe, from ‘Gardener of the Year’

‘Gardening Neighbours’ was the first of a series of shows where a street got together to redesign their gardens and a common piece of land. Presented by the wonderful Ali Ward and Diarmuid Gavin the idea was that they would work on their gardens from designs by the experts. Even today I have used some of their tips in my own garden, so they were really useful. It was set in a leafy part of Sheffield, the exact part I cannot remember but it was lovely and on one of the city’s many hills. It was an small cul-de-sac of late Victorian/ Edwardian villas populated by a range of people from large mature families to retired couples and young marrieds. There were lots of very small babies and toddlers about through the months we were there, which was useful for me as I was heavily pregnant at the time ( I am sure the digging helped for a smooth birth ). As for the placenta incident…. The couple had decided to ‘plant’ the placenta under a special tree, despite warnings by Ali and Diarmuid that the intense nutrients would fry the poor plant. I was on sound and as the couple asked for some privacy we filmed from afar. Which was a good job as I was still suffering for severe ‘morning sickness’.. yes even at seven and eight months… My one overriding memory is the quelch and flopping sound it made as it was poured into the hole from the plastic bowl it had defrosted in…

Becky Land

The following comments were posted on the Pebble Mill Facebook Group:

Nicola Silk: ‘I was the director, Rachel Innes-Lumsden (Rachel Adamson now) produced, Nigel Walk and Ann Banks were APs, Becky (what was your surname back then – I’m sure it wasn’t Land!) researched, Chris Hardman was the PA, Ian Churchill (cam) and Ross Neasham (sound) were the crew across the whole series, Roger Casstles was the exec and James Hey cut it. I might have left out a few people…but it was 14 years ago! It was my first series director gig and I’ve got very happy memories of weekends spent in Kenbourne Grove, Netheredge over the summer of ’98.  The sound of the placenta sloshing out of its tupperware into the ground will stay with me too!’

Becky Land: ‘Wow Nicola my memory is not that good, Kenbourne Grove, Netheredge….. I do remember trying to find metal planters that were “three foot by three foot by three foot”. I was Lloyd back then, even though I was married and was close to having first baby. Hubby finally flipped when we watched an episode go out in the maternity ward the day before I gave birth. My name came up as in the credit as Becky Lloyd and he demanded I changed it!! He’s never insisted on much, poor dab. Do you have photos?’