Maureen and the Coffee – Pete Simpkin

Maureen & Pete

‘Maureen and the coffee’ One Christmas eve the BBC canteen had closed early for the holidays and we cheekily regretted the fact on air. This lady Maureen lived in one of the tower blocks nearby in Edgbaston and walked down to the studio with refreshments for we forgotten broadcasters!

Pete Simpkin

Brass Band Competition – Pete Simpkin

Dunchurch Silver Band

This shows Barry Lankester and I producing the annual Local Radio Knockout Contest organised by the West Midlands Brass Band Association. This was typical of the programming of the early days of BBC local radio….and the way in which the building itself was used to communicate with the public.  A community organisation would get the programmes organised and we would get them on air.

Barry Lankester was the driving force behind all sorts of artistic productions involving over the years literally thousands of local music makers from bands of all types, classical and pop , choirs and many others trooping into Pebble Mill, usually at weekends to record a multitude of broadcasts encouraging and entertaining the listeners.  The band shown in the picture is the Dunchurch Silver.

Pete Simpkin

Radio Birmingham – DJ Malcolm Jay

Malcolm Jay

Photo copyright of Willoughby Gullachsen, no reproduction without permission.

This photograph features Radio Birmingham presenter Malcolm Jay, and dates from the mid 1970s.  It was taken in Radio Studio 2 Control Room, which could operate ‘self drive’ or control the actual Studio 2 which is on the left of the picture.  Malcolm used to present a Tuesday night rock music show called ‘Heavy Pressure’

The Pebble Milly Polka – Pete Simpkin

NB: This song is not to be used in any commercial capacity.  The Pebblemill.org site has kindly been given permission to include it, by Denis Sheppard’s family.

THE PEBBLE MILLY POLKA

As producer presenter of the mid afternoon show on Radio WM I had to seek out all sorts of people in the community who were achieving things or involved in events and occasions which were important or interesting in the community of the West Midlands.

These could range from visiting personalities or experts or, as was mostly  the case, people who had done even one thing that was helpful to others or just plain interesting or entertaining.

Enter Denis Sheppard an octogenarian ex- Birmingham policeman and indeed Police Bandsman. Over the years he had composed music and songs on various subjects mostly annual expressions of love for his wife who was celebrated in many such songs. However living as he did in the Pershore Road he watched in the late sixties the development of the new building at Pebble Mill. He was moved to write a song in celebration of the opening and so it was when this came to my notice in 1982 some years later I just had to feature him and his music on the show. He gave a fascinating interview which has unfortunately not survived the move to the Mailbox but I still have a recording of the song which I enclose with this item together with copies of his original sheet music which you may be able to graphically include in the website. There is a mention of the BBC in the lyrics towards the end of the song.  These items are included with the active help and permission of his family.

Pebble Milly Polka by PebbleMill

‘Now The News From Your Region’ – Maurice Blisson

‘NOW THE NEWS FROM YOUR REGION’
I wonder how many people remember the VHF regional radio news bulletins that used to go out at 6.55 and 7.55 am every weekday from Pebble Mill during the 70s.They were read mainly by John Hogarth and also by Christopher Stagg, David Stevens, Terry Coates and Guy Thomas, if my memory serves me right- and it’s been 30 years!.They were written by a reluctant team of BBC journalists, including me, who got in before 6am and cobbled together a read of overnight stories(left by the late sub the previous evening) to give our limited, but growing, VHF audience the latest news from the West and East Midlands, together with a brief weather roundup. Sometimes a tape insert was included, from the likes of reporters Barney Bamford, Geoffrey Green and Kay Alexander. I seem to remember Sue Beardsmore may have been involved on the technical side.Then along came breakfast optouts, the continuing expansion of local radio, a separate East Midlands region based at Nottingham and waveband changes and the bulletin became superfluous and disappeared without any fanfare.   David and Guy went on to television news and continuity but the others disappeared.  How many are still with us?

Maurice Blisson