Memories of Broad Street

Photo by Martin Fenton, no reproduction without permission. These audio tapes are from Radio Studio 3 at Pebble Mill.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

John Pierce

The Archers studios – the Mailbox

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These photos are from The Archers’ studio at BBC Birmingham. It’s interesting to see how many of the props and sound effects are still the same as at Pebble Mill, e.g. the doorbells and Jill Archer’s aga.

Joan Armatrading

Copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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)”

https://genome.ch.bbc.co.uk/19c900f984ed49c7a3b6cfe25aa40eec

Thanks to Stuart Allen for making the grabs available.

Mike Marshall remembers John Kenyon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

John was my mentor over the years from 1967 when I came on an attachment from BBC Bristol for three months as a Production Assistant. The three months became six, and eventually I stayed on in the Unit as an Assistant Producer until 1972. It was the most exhilarating experience – John let me have full rein very quickly at a challenging time when the UK was in the throes of entering the Common Market! Agriculture was in a period of considerable adjustment as a consequence, and our programming always tried to reflect that.

Much of the knowledge in production that I gained working there is due in no small way to the guidance and encouragement that John gave me. He was also extremely tolerant of the fact that I was a non-golfer! The photo below was taken on an EBU Farming tour in the Netherlands in 1971, and shows many of the BBC’s Agricultural Radio and TV Producers – including John Kenyon.

Mike Marshall