Former Radio and TV production assistant, Caroline Feldon (now Parsons) was going through some of her old BBC stuff and came across the stopwatch which she used during her Radio 3 and TV gallery days. It still works and as you can see has the official number on the back. Solid and reassuring!
When I joined the BBC in Broad street as a Studio Manager in 1963 after about 3 months training in London, one of my first experiences was as Spot Effects S.M on The Archers. Tony Shryane -Producer- sat at the mixing desk, controlling the programme levels. There was a Studio Manager playing in Sound effects off 78rpm records and also from from recorded tapes- recorded originally on 5″ full track tapes @ 7.5″/sec. on an EMI Midget battery powered tape machine. These tapes were edited and compiled onto 10.5″ dia.tape reels of which at that time there were about 2 dozen. These were catalogued originally in a box file but later on fullscap sheets in a spring back folder.
Within a few months I moved on from pouring cups of ‘tea’, opening and closing doors etc to become the Gram and tape S.M. Agriculture was as ever becoming more developed and this meant more mechanisation and more recordings required. F.M radio was expanding and quality sound effects were also required to replace some of the original 78 rpm recordings.
Another S.M joined the Archers Team-Peter Belham- and between the two of us we increased the Tape library for the programme vastly ,and were recording in Stereo, looking to the future for not only The Archers but Birmingham Radio Drama output. This library of effects moved to Studio 3 at Pebble Mill, along with a Mini Archive of significant Archers episodes. Before this time Tony Shryane had asked me to take over at the Mixing Desk. Peter, was grams SM but also mixed from time to time but was also Mixing Radio Drama. We tended to swop roles back and forth as needed and I was quite often Grams S.M. when Peter was mixing a Radio Play. On Tony Shryanes retirement I felt it was time to move on from The Archers. Some years after both Peter and I had retired Mark Decker moved the effects library to the Mail Box and began the process of transferring it to C.D before his untimely death from cancer.
These screen grabs are from the 1985, Joan Armatrading concert from the NEC, simulcast on BBC 2 and Radio 1, on 4th and 11th April. John Smith was the director, and Annie Gumbley Williams was the PA. Below is the entry from the Radio Times, courtesy of the BBC Genome project:
“The exciting singer songwriter, soon to embark on another long world concert tour, makes a rare British television appearance in a concert recorded recently at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham.
In her repertoire,
Joan Armatrading mixes previous chart successes with contemporary material, including ‘Love and affection’, ‘Heaven’ and ‘Temptation’.
Producer JOHN G. SMITH BBC Pebble Mill
A simultaneous broadcast with Radio 1. Viewers with stereo Radio 1 may wish to turn off TV sound and position their speakers on either side of the screen, but a few feet away.
Stereo headphones provide a suitable alternative.
(The second half of this concert will be shown next Thursday)”
Thanks to Stuart Allen for making the grabs available.
This link is to a short video posted by BBC Archive, of Bernard Falk taking a behind the scenes trip round BBC Pebble Mill in 1974.