All Memories Great and Small

all-memories-great-and-smallOliver Crocker’s  All Creatures book is now available to Pre-order.


Released as part of the 100th birthday celebrations for James Herriot, a new book “All Memories Great & Small” is being released by Miwk Publishing as an ideal companion to the classic BBC series. Every episode is accompanied by exclusive memories, thanks to 60 new interviews with cast and crew.


Christopher Timothy (James Herriot), Robert Hardy Esq, CBE, FSA (Siegfried Farnon), Peter Davison (Tristan Farnon), Carol Drinkwater (Helen Herriot), Andrea Gibb (Deirdre McEwan), Jean Heywood (Mrs Alton) and Ali Lewis (Rosie Herriot).


Peter Alexander (St. John), Lois Baxter (Margery Egerton), Paul Clayton (Brian Weeting), Fine Time Fontayne (George Forsyth/Joe Bentley), Gillian Hanna (Betty Sanders), Derek Hicks (Willie Bannister), Pete Ivatts (Mr. Blackburn/Tom Maxwell), Vivien Keene (Mary Trenholm), Ray Mangion (Franco Pedretti), Norman Mann (Richard Edmundson), Nicholas McArdle (Mr. Worley), Joanna McCallum (Lady Hulton), Elizabeth Millbank (Alice McTavish), Suzanne Neve (Joan Clifford), Jonathan Owen (Peter Gillard), David Quilter (Andrew Bruce), Pamela Salem (Zoe Bennett), Jessica Sewell (Mary Clarke), Madeline Smith (Angela Farmer/Anne Grantley), Amanda Waring (Elizabeth Rayner) and Susan Wooldridge (Daughter of Margaretta Scott).


Bob Blagden (Director), Sandy Byrne (Widow of Writer Johnny Byrne), Alex Christison (Film Sound), Carol Churchill (Make-up Designer), David Crozier (Designer), Nigel Curzon (Designer), Roger Davenport (Writer), Rowena Dean (Make-up Artist), Mike Duxbury (Film Editor), Paul Finch (Son of Writer Brian Finch), Graham Frake (Lighting Cameraman), Roderick Graham (Director), Joyce Hawkins (Costume Designer), Terry Hodgkinson (Writer), June Hudson (Costume Designer), David Hughes (Sound), William Humble (Writer), Brian Jones (Gaffer), Peter Loring (Film Cameraman), Richard Martin (Director), Christopher Penfold (Script Editor/Writer), Les Podraza (Scene Hand), Janice Rider (Costume Designer), Tony Redston (Production Associate), Michael Russell (Writer), Helen Scarsbrook (Wardrobe), Bill Sellars (Producer), Pip Short (Grip/AFM/Location Manager), Sam Snape (Writer), Maggie Thomas (Make-up Artist), David Tilley (Assistant Floor Manager), Tony Virgo (Director) and John Williams (Film Cameraman).


Colin Pierpoint blog – Part 16 Comms on Location 2

CMCR9 photo by John Abbott, no reproduction without permission

CMCR9 photo from John Abbott, no reproduction without permission












(Here is the continuation of Colin Pierpoint’s blog about his BBC career).

I did 5 days in Wales for Songs of Praise to BBC Wales from St Asaph. Several days in Hastings for a cricket OB. (A great moment here. There was a delay in setting up the link signal which was received at Swains Lane in North London. The London Comms Engineer there said on the RT (Radio telephone) “I suppose we are waiting for Birmingham are we?” So Paul in the Birmingham links van replied “No, actually we are waiting for the London Links van to arrive”! I did a link at the Oval Cricket Ground for a test match, working late into the night sending VTR recorded on site to the Television Centre VT.  And of course I did Edgbaston several times (My first ever radiolink which was a bit of a disaster! The Cricket Ground were having a management meeting when we arrived for the Vision Circuit Test and they had all parked where the links van should be. I sent requests to move their cars but they would not come out. Our van was one from Wales and all the mains sockets were different from ours!) I also did the radiolink for the opening of the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) by the Queen [see comment at the bottom of this post]. It was freezing cold with snow on the ground and I had to stand outside CMCR9 with a field telephone in my hand for ages, doing a lines test which had problems. It was at the NEC on a later OB that I was ordered off the site by the Shop Steward because I was not a member of the ABS (Association of Broadcasting Staff). I went to tell the Engineering Manager in the scanner (CMCR) first, who agreed that it was best if I leave, and then reported it to the CPE in Pebble Mill. In fact, all I had missed was the derig and making the tea for our rigger-driver! It was the Rigger-Driver Jim, who asked me to leave! He should have waited until I finished making his tea before he told me.

There was one cricket match Television OB while the BBC were having strike action. Sound was cut for some programmes but not all. The Engineering Manager came to my links van and said “What action have you taken to ensure that our sound is not cut?” So I said that on yesterday’s cricket match from somewhere else (not mine) the OB had rung the Television Centre and said can you guarantee that our sound will not be cut? So they cut it! I told the EM that because of this I was keeping my head down. He said “Good Idea” and our sound was not cut. (Although I was not in the union at that time, I did contribute to the strike fund. Later I also joined BECTU  trade union at Wood Norton and did go on strike for one day in support of my colleagues). I also did a midpoint at Daventry Transmitter site; it was only a test in case of London flooding, but a chance to talk to my transmitter colleagues.

Sometimes we operated a repeater inside the telephone exchange. This is a box of BBC equipment used to correct the frequency response before it is passed on to the nearest BBC centre. (Later this was stopped when the Post Office union decided that their staff should do it). I did repeaters in Kettering, Coventry, Hanley and Shrewsbury. I did the repeater for the famous broadcast for the BBC anniversary at Sudley Castle. Very embarrassing!

You will remember that I preferred to take the Comms self-drive car for lines tests. My own Land Rover was getting rather elderly and unreliable at the time and if it brike down on official dury, it would have been my fault. So I thought that by using the Comms Department car there would be no problem if it stopped working. How wrong I was! At Burghley Park for the horse trials I took the self drive car which did break down! I was crossing the course near the finishing post when the engine stopped half way across the track; right where the horses would be finishing the event! An image entered my mind of people at Pebble Mill watching the trials on BBC2 as the horses went round an abandoned car at the finishing post, saying “Isn’t that the Comms Self drive car?” So I rang the transport office Neville Mowl and they called out the AA. It seems that I had flooded the carbuettor with an automatic choke (Ford Escourt). The AA man told me that I should have told him where I was and not where the car was, but I had to move about and get on with testing the cross course cables as there was less than an hour to transmission.

An interesting lines test was at Holme Pierrepont, the national watersport centre. The man on the gate let me in a few times, and then said “You have been through here too often today, I am not letting you in again”! So I showed him my BBC pass. When he saw the name Pierpoint, he thought there was a fiddle somewhere but couldn’t quite put his finger on it. Meanwhile, the Post Office Engineer, who I was working with, went in and out past me without being stopped once!

Colin Pierpoint

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

Malcolm Hickman: ‘Jim Lloyd and I were stood by the link on the roof of the NEC because it was a grade 1. It was hissing down, so we took shelter in a walkway that crossed the roof. There were 2 men stationed there who were in suits and they had shoulder holsters with guns. We could see a semicircle of people inside the building at the end of the walkway. We did look a bit scruffy in rigging jackets and duffle coat and as the queen got a bit closer, they told us to get out, so we never actually got to shake hands.’







Shoot First – no ordinary life – John Williams

copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission

copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission

The news is out ! My memoirs “Shoot first No Ordinary Life” is at the printers. I’ve looked at publishing, all want lots of money with little return so I’m having copies printed for family, friends and those interested. Its tells of a 30year career making programs for the BBC and although not a definitive history it is a recollection of the “golden age” of Television production that was Pebble Mill Birmingham

Professor Paul Long  Director,   Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research. Writes

While we’re overloaded by celebrity tales, we need more of this kind of autobiography from those who created programmes and of course created the BBC’s reputation as the country’s foremost cultural institution. Williams insights into the nature of regional and national production, the personalities and roles, the (literal) nuts, bolts and decision making of making TV in the post-war era adds an invaluable resources for the understanding the social history of modern Britain which, if anything is bound up in the story of TV and the stories it has told.

David Waine   (Head of the Network Production Centre 1983-86; Head of Broadcasting 1986-94).Writes

What has emerged is something more than that. It is a small piece of history written with the     passion and involvement that only someone so committed can do.


 Others have said “The book is a rollicking good read”, “boys adventure  stories ( adult boys )”. “the book is illustrated on every page ; a coffee table book ,one to share with family at Christmas”.


For those of us from Pebble Mill this is an adventure story with a difference because many of you will know of these adventures and some of you will surely  be familiar with the characters  involved . There are, so many memories!

The Book is A4, 216 pages full colour , 96,500 words and I’m selling them first come first served at cost £14 plus postage  or can be collected.

anybody who would like a copy please  contact me on


Mob  07742671586

John Williams




Top Gear Rally Report


Copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission

Copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission














This titles grab from Top Gear Rally Report dates from the 1990s. Rally Report was a spin off from the motoring magazine show, Top Gear.

There were several series of Rally Report, which followed the RAC Rally. It was produced and presented by members of the Top Gear team. Thanks to Ian Collins for making the grab available.

I remember when I worked in Film Unit that we had to order in lots of extra editing equipment for the series to edit out on location. I also remember an unmanned camera being destroyed by one of the rally cars leaving the track!



The Deep Concern – press pack

Copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission

Copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission

the-deep-concern-press-pack-synopsis the-deep-concern-press-pack-episode-credits






























































Here are a few sheets from the press pack to accompany the 1979 thriller series, The Deep Concern, on BBC1. It was written by Elwyn Jones, directed by Richard Callanan, produced by David Rose and script edited by Michael Wearing.

Thanks to Beth Porter, who played the character, Carrie Stone, for sharing the press pack.

Beth Porter’s (long and amusing) autobiography Walking on my Hands, is available for a couple of pounds on Kindle, on the link below. Chapter 12 includes Beth’s adventures with the BBC.