I first worked at Pebble Mill in 1973 after I landed a job as a news producer on BBC Radio Birmingham, the forerunner of BBC WM. It was a case of third time lucky getting into the BBC, having failed twice in the previous months to get a job in the Midlands Today newsroom. I arrived from The Birmingham Post and was overwhelmed with all the technology! I was always hopeless with anything mechanical, so learning to work a tape recorder was terrifying, but I got the hang of it in the end and became pretty adept at editing too, with razor blades and tape etc! I was told I had a fairly boring voice so I had to work on my intonation, to try to sound a bit more interested, but I really felt I had found my vocation. In fact, I loved it. It wasn’t long before I read my first live bulletin – I was introduced on air by a young disc jockey called Les Ross, but I have no idea what happened to him!
Ultimately, I became Sports Producer, following my friend Jim Rosenthal, and that took me all over the country and Europe following the fortunes of our football teams. Up the corridor, of course, was the Midlands Today newsroom with such luminaries as Tom Coyne, Alan Towers, Geoffrey Green and Tony Francis ( whom I’d trained with long before I came to Birmingham). I remember one day Tom Coyne said hello to me in the gents and I was so thrilled I nearly had an accident.
I left in 1978 to join ATV but returned to Pebble Mill to present Good Morning with Anne and Nick in 1992. More about that some other time, but I have to say thanks to the BBC at Pebble Mill for giving me my first chance in television back in August 1977. They were doing a regional opt to herald the start of the football season, but Tony Francis, who would normally have been expected to front it, was away on holiday so they were clearly desperate and asked me! I co-hosted it with Peter Windows, then a familiar face on continuity, and our studio guest was someone who became a great friend Larry Canning, the former Aston Villa player, then well known as a reporter for Sport on Two. The show was produced by another long standing friend, Rob Kirk, now at Sky News.
Some very happy days!