Helicopter landing at Pebble Mill

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Still of a helicopter landing at Pebble Mill. This was probably during a Pebble Mill at One programme.

A ‘Pebble Mill at One’ director has suggested that this still may be from the very last show, when Marian Foster arrived in a helicopter.

England’s Greens and Peasant Land – press cutting

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This cutting is probably a Radio Times listing.  It dates from January 1982 and gives a synopsis and cast list for the Play for Today: ‘England’s Greens and Peasant Land’, which was produced by John Norton at Pebble Mill.  It was Yorkshire’s take on a Watergate like scandal, where a dirty battle is played out in the local government elections over whether the motorway extension goes through the golf course, or the allotments!

John Kenway was the cameraman, with John Parker on sound, Chris Rowlands: film editor, Ian Ashurst: designer, Jim Hill: director, Janice Rider was the costume designer.

Thanks to Janice Rider for making the cutting available.

Falling on the Cutting Room Floor!

Photo by Tim Savage, no reproduction without permission.

Sometimes recording on 2″ videotape did not go well, and the programme ended up literally on the floor!

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

Lynn Cullimore: “but you brilliant VT men always sorted it out didn’t you? Little geniuses…when often it was directors and producers who got the credit.”

Keith Brook: “I bet that was a stunt to scare the xxxt out of a director. The accompanying words were ‘Ah, I think the machine has chewed the only copy of your programme’.”

Home Front in the Garden

Home Front in the Garden










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

Pebble Mill was asked to produce a series of 8 episodes of the garden design programme, ‘Home Front in the Garden’, presented by enigmatic designer Diarmuid Gavin.  They went out weekly from October 2002.  The still shows Diarmuid relaxing in the company of project manager Sean Cunningham.

The series was producer by Patrick Flavelle, with David Symonds directing the first transmitted show, a garden in Chingford.

It was a challenging series to work on, with Diarmuid sometimes not turning up on location when he was supposed to, and getting fed up with most members of the production team at one time or another.  By the end of the series almost no one who was working on the show originally was still there!

The following information was added by assistant producer, Julie Richards:

“I was one of two AP’s on the series. We had an incredibly hard-working team but, one-by-one, they were deemed “unsuitable” by Mr Gavin which left us scrabbling around, working ridiculous hours, with some being on-site for weeks at a time. Memorable gardens were built, including one in Birmingham which involved installing a garage car-ramp which could raise the garden up over 10ft, a giant disco-ball shed, 100 white rabbits, a copper garden retreat and one “jungle” with a building clad entirely in cedar (I was banned from that garden so never saw how it turned out!!). The series ran over budget by an eye-watering amount as Diarmuid spent without our being able to control him. I was invited to a lunch with the then head of BBC2 who, once I’d recounted the goings-on, merely replied with a smile, “oooo he’s a one that Diarmuid, isn’t he”. However, I have a couple of lasting friendships from that series – it truly was one that, once you’d gone through it, you really felt like you’d been through a war, rather than merely making a television programme. David did a fabulous job in the face of some very trying circumstances and, due to all the overtime, I managed four days in Hoar Cross Hall. Not all bad then…”


Children in Need – Institute of Conductive Education





















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‘Children in Need’ in the Midlands gave funding to the Institute for Conductive Education in Moseley, Birmingham.  It was opened in 1995 by Princess Diana. Marie Phillips, who was the co-ordinator of ‘Children in Need’ at Pebble Mill was invited to the opening.  This is the invitation, and a photograph of Princess Diana meeting Marie.

Marie adds the following:

“Children in Need regularly funded the Foundation for Conductive Education which is based in Cannon Hill Park. It uses the Hungarian Peto method of helping children with cerebral palsy to achieve improved mobility. Believe it or not, part of the treatment involves the use of Ladderback chairs. Princess Diana was a Patron of the Institute and visited on that day to officially open a new wing. I was invited to represent Children in Need which was exciting enough and when I went along I had absolutely no idea that I was part of the group to be presented to her. I was astonished when I was told this and incredibly delighted and honoured. It was electric when she entered the room – her blue, blue eyes and dazzling smile captivated us all. She moved from group to group and she knew a surprising amount about ‘Children in Need’ and asked who that year’s programme Presenters would be. I told her it would be Terry Wogan and Gabby Roslyn and she was very complimentary about Gabby as well as the work of our Charity. A day I will always cherish.”

Thanks to Marie Phillips for making these stills available.