A Funny Thing Happened – David Shute

Copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission

Copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission













This photo was taken just a short time before we moved shop to Pebble Mill – late 1960s/1970.

Some of the under-dressed cast of A Funny Thing Happened on the way to the Forum.  Top left the amazing Jenny Brewer, next to her Olive McCosh (I hope that’s right ) bottom Left, Sandy Sutton wife of the redoubtable vision-mixer Roger Sutton.  This was BBC AmDram Society and producer David Shute caused quite a stir when he insisted that all the ladies auditioned in bikinis!  The amazing cast won a rare 5 star rating from the Birmingham Post & Mail’s theatre critic. We had to re-stage the show some months later for a second week’s run. What a hoot!

David Shute

Several Careful Owners













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

Several Careful Owners was transmitted between 1996 and 2001 on BBC 2, and BBC Choice. There were several series of the motoring programme, which traced the previous owners of different individual iconic cars, to learn the history of particular vehicles.

Directors included Dennis Jarvis, Justine Linnane and Ed Taylor, with Richard Pearson being the series producer. The cars involved included a Rolls Royce, and Hillman Pullman, a Rover 3.5 Coupe, an Austin Healey Frogeye, a Gordon Keeble, and a Dodge Ambulance – all with interesting stories to tell.

Thanks to Ian Collins for making the titles grab available.

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

Robin Sunderland (cameraman): “Yes, remember doing a number of these. Very enjoyable. Remember one about a ford capri, which started it’s life as a police traffic car! Always loved the irony of it having ‘careful owners’ !!”

Andrew Chorlton (soundman): “I recorded most if not all of them. Robin Sunderland on camera too.”

Radio Studio 3 Tape Library

Photo by Martin Fenton, no reproduction without permission

Photo by Martin Fenton, no reproduction without permission

Photo by Martin Fenton, no reproduction without permission

Photo by Martin Fenton, no reproduction without permission






















This photo is of the Radio Studio 3  tape library at Pebble Mill (used on The Archers, and many other radio dramas). All of the bird sound effects were verified by the RSPB, with explicit notes as to the times of year they could be used. We’d get letters otherwise…

Martin Fenton

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

Andy Walters: I think a lot of the tapes are now in the basement store at the Mailbox. I’ve definitely seen a master tape of the Archers signature tune down there along with the Midlands Today film archive.

Kath Shuttleworth: ‘The tapes were all transferred to CD for the move to The Mailbox. Those CDs have since been transferred onto hard drive and the sound effects are still used today, it’s just all a bit more high tech than a bank of tape machines! The original tapes were junked, apart from a few which I discovered contained missing episodes and rare Archers cast recordings. These were sent to archive and copies retained with The Archers team. Andy Walters, I don’t know what the tapes are in the basement. There were plenty of master tapes of the sig and vinyl copies too. Maybe someone brought them to The Mailbox as a momento! All the effects are now on a local server or hard drives of specific machines along with many other SFX collections. Well over 1TB when I last looked! We use two playout systems in studio (Spot On & Ableton Live). A lot of effects are still played in “live” for The Archers. All SFX are available to use at the click of a button and looping sounds is so much easier than it was in the days of 1/4″ tape!’

Andy Walters: ‘Possibly. There are a lot of programme tapes in the basement with codes that mean nothing to me. Or at least there were last time I was down there.’

Kath Shuttleworth: ‘If they’re still there we should take a look at them before they get junked as part of the current clear up regime! You never know, there could be a gem of a programme down there that’s missing from archive.’

Phil Lewis

The creator of Pot Black, Phil Lewis has sadly died recently. He was a long serving television producer in BBC’s Midland Region, and later became Head of Events in London. Phil began his career on cameras at Alexandra Palace and Lime Grove. He produced a wide range of programmes, both in the studio and on outside broadcasts, including Come Dancing, and Miss World. Together with colleagues like Barrie Edgar and John McGonagle, Phil helped make BBC Birmingham into a prolific production centre and outside broadcast hub. He will perhaps be best known for creating the television snooker tournament, Pot Black, in 1969, which helped the BBC in the switchover to colour. He moved to London in 1970.

There will be a private family cremation, and a memorial service in September in Gerrards Cross.

(Thanks to Annie Gumbley-Williams and Jim Dumighan for supplying this information)

The following comment was left on the Pebble Mill Facebook page:

Julian Hitchcock: I remember several Christmas holiday sessions in Studio A working on Pot Black. Phil had a particular, very inclusive, rather old world warmth that endeared himself to all who worked on the show.

Factual and Learning – We are BBC Birmingham

We are BBC Bham Factual & LearningCopyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission.

This sheet about the Factual & Learning department, was part of a booklet given to all staff when BBC Birmingham moved from Pebble Mill to the Mailbox in 2004.

The sheet lists various recent and current programmes made by the department, including: £1 Million Pound Property Experiment, SAS Survival Secrets, Casualty Saved My Life, All the Queen’s Cooks, Sylvia Young Theatre School, and Coast. Major series included: Gardeners’ World, Countryfile, Points of View, Call My Bluff, and Sky at Night. Daytime titles included: To Buy or Not to Buy, Houses Behaving Badly, Feather Your Nest, Trading Up, Big Strong Boys. Asian Programmes unit shows mentioned are: Nuclear Paradise, India’s Ladyboys, The Joy of Curry, Dating the Asian Way, Desi DNA and Malai Presents.

Factual & Learning was a prolific department, producing a wide cross section of shows for BBC1, and 2 as well as some for BBC3.

Thanks to Dharmesh Rajput for sharing the booklet, and keeping it for the last decade.