Asian Programmes Unit – ‘New Life’

These photos are probably by Willoughby Gullachsen, and have been given by Maggie Humphries from Film Unit.  No reproduction of the photos without permission.

BBC Pebble Mill was home of the BBC’s multicultural programmes.

The photos show a location shoot for the Asian magazine strand: ‘New Life’. They date from the 1980s, when the inserts were still shot on film.  The sound recordist shown is Alex Christison, and cameraman Steve Saunderson, the camera assistant Ian Churchill, and the PA Jayne Savage.  Standing on the stairs in the tie is the director/producer, Waseem Mahmood. The programme was a documentary on the first Asian model, Safira.  Nigel Pardoe-Matthews was the film editor.

The documentary was an occasional 30min special as part of the New Life strand. Waseem made three in the six years that he was at Pebble Mill: “Safira” about the model, a film about Asian Ballerina Nicola Katrak and a special where Marion Foster interviewed Ravi Shankar… the latter got a prime time slot on BBC2.

‘New Life’ from 1981 was called ‘Asian Magazine ‘- this must have been when Ashok Rampal took over as Executive Producer.

Please add a comment if you can identify other people in the stills, or can add more information.



7 comments on “Asian Programmes Unit – ‘New Life’
  1. Hi…really nice to see this site and these photos…

    My dad worked at Pebble Mill in the mid-80’s, on the 5th floor I think where the Asian programmes were produced (Asian Magazine as far as I remember). As kids me and my sister would visit during half term, sat in galleries, wandered the corridoors a bit. I’m now at the BBC myself and would love to hear from anyone who might have worked with my dad or knew of him in those days(he’s since passed away). His name was Yousuf Aziz, he would have been a producer at the Asian Unit…

    Thanks! x

  2. Hi Tariq

    I’d like to make your comment into a short blog post which I’ll post on the website and on the associated Facebook page, and then hopefully you’ll get some replies from people who knew and worked with your father. Also, have you got any photographs from any productions your father was involved in, which might be useful on the site?

    Best wishes


    Vanessa Jackson
    Degree Leader Television
    Birmingham City University

  3. Hi Vanessa

    Thanks for the reply. By all means, it would be great if you could forward my post to where you think it’s relevant. I have more memories of being a kid during half term at pebble mill if you think any of that will be of interest!

    I don’t think I have any photos, I’ll have a look. I do have several episodes of Asian Magazine that he produced (could also have been New Life and / or Gharbar) if you’d like those. Might be some BBC Copyright issues around that though!

    Thanks again


  4. Hi Tariq

    Good to hear from you. I’ll post up your comment now, putting it on the Pebble Mill website and associated Facebook page. I’ll email you with any comments that come back, or you’d be very welcome to join the Facebook page. I’d love to hear some more of your memories of Pebble Mill, and the programmes your father made. Unfortunately I can’t use any clips from BBC programmes, because of copyright issues.

    Best wishes


  5. Thanks Vanessa. Have sent a friend request to the facebook page, there have already been a couple of nice responses to your post! Will write some more about memories of Pebble Mill soon….

    Thanks again


  6. Hi Tariq. Hope you’ve seen the nice comments about your father on the Facebook page. Let me know if you want me to put you in touch with Waseem Mahmood, or whether you’ll contact him yourself through Facebook.

    Best wishes


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