Sir Terry Wogan 1938-2016

Dave Baumber (sound) with Terry Wogan (photo by Paul Vanezis, no reproduction without permission)

Dave Baumber (sound) with Terry Wogan (photo by Paul Vanezis, no reproduction without permission)

Vanessa Jackson (producer) with Terry Wogan (photo by Paul Vanezis, no reproduction without permission)

Vanessa Jackson (producer) with Terry Wogan (photo by Paul Vanezis, no reproduction without permission)

Steve Saunderson (camera), Vanessa Jackson, Gail Herbert (PA), Michelle Furey (AP) with Terry Wogan (photo by Paul Vanezis, no reproduction without permission)

Dave Baumber (sound, crouching), Michelle Furey (AP) Steve Saunderson (camera), Vanessa Jackson, Gail Herbert (PA), ?, ?, with Terry Wogan (photo by Paul Vanezis, no reproduction without permission)

Terry Wogan, Vanessa Jackson (photo by Paul Vanezis, no reproduction without permission)

Terry Wogan, Dave Baumber, Vanessa Jackson (photo by Paul Vanezis, no reproduction without permission)













































Terry Wogan died today (31st January 2016) after a short battle with cancer.

“It’s very sad that Terry Wogan is no longer with us. I remember an old BBC special, an hour of watching fireworks and fronted by Tel! He actually made it sound exciting. I only worked with him once in 2002, but I took these in September 2004, when the BBC opened Europe’s most modern, state of the art studios, promising the people of the Midlands broadcasting security for the next 25 years at least. Of course, that was a lie. But none of us knew that then, not even Terry who was presenting here a Points of View special. On camera, Steve Saunderson, producer Vanessa Jackson. Sound is by the late, great Dave Baumber. Gail Herbert is in there as well, as is Michelle Furey. Just 11 years ago.”

Paul Vanezis


“I remember this shoot well, especially how patient and generous Terry was with members of the public who were continually asking to have their photo taken with him – the rest of the production team certainly weren’t as patient about that! I used to really enjoy writing the Points of View script for Terry, it was very easy to get his voice in your head as you were writing. I also loved the way he would look over the script in a couple of minutes, and ‘Terryise’ it – changing the odd phrase, so that it sounded like he’d written it in the first place. I also remember Gail Herbert, who was the production assistant on Points of View for many years, saying to me that Terry Wogan was someone she considered a real star – and she was right, he really was!”

Vanessa Jackson

Uncertain Vision – Management as a neutron bomb

The entry below is from Georgina Born’s Uncertain Vision, her ethnography of the BBC. The book examines the changes to the BBC brought about under John Birt and Greg Dyke. This excerpt talks about the structural changes to the Drama Group within the BBC brought about under John Birt’s leadership in 1996. Michael Wearing was then head of Drama Serials, previously he had been head of Drama at Pebble Mill.

Michael Wearing in 2009

Michael Wearing in 2009












Diary entry 1996 Georgina Born:

It is late 1996, five months after the restructuring and everything remains supremely confused in Drama Group. Almost all the critical issues impacting on how the drama departments will operate have still to be clarified of even, it has become plain, decided. For Drama, the restructuring has an apocalyptic quality. Everyone knows that Birt has removed all certainties; but nothing has come in to fill the vacuum. It is management as neutron bomb. There is paralysis and seething frustration. We are in a Drama Editorial Board and it seems that today a few things might become clearer. Charles Denton, former head of Drama Group, has left. The acting head reports that ‘the new head of Drama Group, when he or she is announced, will be bi-medial and will embrace a larger territory including radio drama and the World Service’. Michael Wearing and Mark Shivas, the two most experienced and respect editorial heads, have received letters from the chief executive of BBC Production informing them that there is still time to apply for the job of CE of Drama Group, but Michael muses, ‘What’s really going on in this letter is evasive. It looks as though we’re being required to reapply for our own jobs.’ The acting head reports that there will henceforth be two rather than one Business Affairs departments, in Broadcast and Production. The drama executives are sceptical: ‘Surely that risks two sets of business practice competing with one another, let alone unnecessary duplication of jobs? Michael comments that such duplication will ensure that production departments continue to carry huge overheads, like before – one of the problems the restructuring was meant to overcome: ‘What a bloody mess.’

The acting head continues that leading figures in Broadcast have made clear that when disputes arise between Broadcast and Production, Broadcast will be the moderators: the final power will reside with Broadcast. They move to discuss the interface between the drama production departments and Broadcast, which is only just emerging. Drama’s independent commissioning group will move into Broadcast; and the proposal is that the drama units from the national regions – Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland – will also move into Broadcast, while London in-house and Birmingham will sit in Production. No one understands why. Several people express concern about the fragmentation of editorial purpose that will ensue; there seems to be a common desire to retain an integrated Drama Editorial Board.

Born, G. (2004) page 135-6, Uncertain Vision: Birt, Dyke and the Reinvention of the BBC. London: Secker & Warburg


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

David Shute: “Birt, who wasn’t even on a salary at the start of his damaging reign (tax dodge of course) brought in the dreaded McKinsey and the march of the suits began, that’s why I allowed myself to be head-hunted away from the Corporation I’d loved for a lot of wonderful years. Sadly I wasn’t alone but in my new life I was privileged to employ many of the talented PebbleMill professionals on a freelance basis.”

Tim Manning: “As a footnote to this, it’s worth remembering that – following an interim period where drama in the newly-created BBC Production was overseen by Ruth Caleb (from BBC Wales) and Alan Yentob – Colin Adams, who many will remember from his time as Head of Network Television at Pebble Mill, became Head of BBC Drama Production. Some months later, I also joined the London-based Senior Management Team of the department as Production Services Director.”


Studio 5 Control Room

Studio 5 control room, BBC Model B

Studio 5 control room, BBC Model B. Photo from Martin Fenton, no reproduction without permission












Radio Studio 5 was used by Network Radio shows, including Edwina Currie and Stuart Maconie. These photos are of the control room, and were taken by Martin Fenton in 2003.

“This BBC Model B was still being used as a call-queuing system until it went up in a puff of blue smoke in March 2003.”

Martin Fenton

Control room turntable

Control room turntable


Control room with shortcuts

Control room with shortcuts

Studio 5 tape rack

Studio 5 tape rack

Studio 5 dead room grass

Studio 5 dead room grass

Studio 5 view from control room

Studio 5 view from control room

The Terrace

Copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission

Copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission













The Terrace was transmitted on BBC1 in the autumn of 1996 at 3pm in the afternoon.

Here is the Radio Times entry for the first episode of the DIY series, courtesy of the BBC Genome project

“First of a new twice-weekly DIY and interior design series presented by ex-EastEnders star Mike Reid. Leaving the fictional dramas of Albert Square behind him, Reid experiences the real-life troubles of families living in a row of terraced houses in urgent need of repair in the heart of Birmingham. With Simon Biagi and Brenda Emmanus.”

The presenting team included Simon Biagi, who later presented Real Rooms, and Brenda Emmanus, who had presented on The Clothes Show.

Jane Lomas was probably the producer of this series.

Thanks to Ian Collins for sharing this titles grab, and to Nicola Silk for adding information.

Mark Westcott left the following message on the Pebble Mill Facebook page:

‘Jane Lomas did produce this, I worked on this show. Out of Roger Casstles’ department, exec’d by Mark Kershaw. My first network Director credit. Sharon Fisher, Paul Venezis, Sarah Marshall too I think were all involved.’


Noel Ford on Bob Monkhouse

Copyright Noel Ford, no reproduction without permission

Copyright Bob Monkhouse, no reproduction without permission













[Cartoonist Noel Ford wrote the following memories of his trips to BBC Pebble Mill]

“I do remember going there [Pebble Mill] on several occasions for various broadcasts. I did a TV chat about my cartoon work (Midlands Today?). What I remember most about that is that I really don’t like rehearsing – the spontaneous responses to questions lose something vital when re-hashed for the recording. I was also a guest on Woman’s Hour on one occasion and recall being surprised at the melting effect another guest, a particularly handsome, macho bloke, had on some of those otherwise hard-nosed, professional ladies. And I was also a little jealous, if truth be told!

I do remember, much more clearly, that Morning Story [Radio 4] recording session. I wrote two stories that Bob recorded (though the Radio Times Genome only appears to list one). They were both broadcast around the same time, so it would actually have been in 1976-7). I hadn’t met Bob before and was pleasantly surprised to find he was exactly the same off and on the air, a thoroughly nice man. And so professional. He recorded the fifteen minute story with only a couple of tiny re-takes. I had presented him with a cartoon I had drawn for the occasion (I do have a copy, somewhere) and he unhesitatingly produced pen and paper and drew one right back for me. I have attached a copy, below. It was also the first time I had met that other lovely bloke, producer, David Shute – a meeting that led to us doing a lot of work together after he left the BBC.”

Noel Ford

Noel Ford, Bob Monkhouse, David Shute

Noel Ford (left), Peter Belham? (SM), Bob Monkhouse (in the studio), David Shute (right)











Here are the entries from the Radio Times, of the two episodes of Morning Story written by Noel Ford and read by Bob Monkhouse, from the BBC Genome project:

Driving Lesson by NOEL FORD Read by Bob Monkhouse
‘ When you go to a party with a good line in chat to impress the ladies, make sure you know the thickness of the ice you’re skating on.’ Producer DAVID SHUTE BBC Birmingham

Security Risk by NOEL FORD
Read by Bob Monkhouse
No he wasn’t a nocturnal delivery man for a chocolate manufacturer. The midnight prowler had something else on his mind which wasn’t as dubious as it first appeared. Producer DAVID SHUTE BBC Birmingham