Radio Studio 5

Photos by Philip Morgan, no reproduction without permission.

These photos are of the cubicle in Studio 5, one of the network radio studios at Pebble Mill.  They were taken by Philip on the viewing day before the auction to sell off the equipment from Pebble Mill that wasn’t being taken to the Mailbox.

Kathryn Shuttlecock adds the following information: ‘This was our main GP (General Purpose) studio and was used for most of our Radio 2 specialist music shows as well as plenty of live broadcasts such as Late Night Currie with the dear Edwina. This got a bit hairy in the later days as the desk was really on the way out and many a time an SM could be seen taking bits of the desk to pieces live on air to try and keep the thing running! Emergency calls to London to say we might actually fall of air were not unknown! The last time this studio was used was when we had actually moved to (and were broadcasting from) the Mailbox. I used the desk and the ISDN lines in there to do a live link up to Late Night Currie for Halloween when we had ghost hunters and psychics trying to work out if all the ghostly tales of the Mill were true. I had just enough bits of kit and cables to run from Studio 5 into Studio 3 where we had set up for the evening. By that time Pebble Mill was a spooky place to be regardless of any ghoulish happenings and the ghost hunting team were so fascinated they returned a few weeks later to do a full overnight ghost watch! This was probably the last thing to happen on site before the doors were closed to us for good.’

Steve Peacock adds the following: ‘It was also the studio for many fairly hairy live Farming Todays after the move from London and before we fell victim to a plague of Boyle and started pre-recording. 14 minutes live can be a tricky number for the numerately challenged.’

Midlands News 1992

Copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission.

These pages are taken from the Midlands News 1992 (regional internal BBC newsletter).

This two page spread is about the expansion of Pebble Mill’s, Radio 2, Popular Music Department.  Also included is how Pebble Mill’s Radio 3, Serious Music Department, has escaped the cut backs faced by other departments in the regions.

Thanks to Marie Phillips for making this newsletter available.

Recording The Archers FX on a Mellotron













Gordon Astley worked on ‘The Archers’ in the 1960s, at the BBC studio in Broad Street, Birmingham, and remembers using one of the first Mellotrons to play in the sound effects.   Apparently John Lennon had the other Mellotron which was used on ‘Strawberry Fields’.

The Mellotron looked like an electronic keyboard – it was an electro-mechanical, polyphonic tape replay keyboard, which was developed and made in Birmingham.  It was the first sample playback keyboard for music.  Each key allowed the playing in of pre-recorded sounds.  The Mellotron had a major impact on the rock music of the 1970s.

Gordon Astley went on to present on the final series of Tiswas in 1982, and on various local radio stations, including Radio WM.

Peter Poole remembers that the Mellotron was in the Dubbing Theatre at Pebble Mill in 1976. By then it was very unreliable and little used.

Martin from Streetly Electronics, who knows about Mellotrons has added the following information: ‘The mellotron used by the BBC was one of approx. 60 SFX versions of the instrument that were loaded with 1260 sound effects from the BBC library. Hissy owls and scratchy gunfire were the trademarks but in the mid 60s it was a miracle machine for dubbing to radio and tv productions including live broadcasts. John Lennon’s instrument can be seen on our website –’


Archers for Comic Relief – Kathryn Shuttleworth

Photo from Kathryn Shuttleworth, no reproduction without permission.


The Archers for Comic Relief (The Mailbox)


Of all the people I worked with this brief encounter with Victoria Wood has to go down as one of my favourites. She had written some special episodes of  ‘The Archers’ for Comic Relief and came along for the recording.  She was very hands on in studio helping with the effects. This was also the only time I have ever asked someone I have worked with for their autograph – well she is my all time comedy hero!

Kathryn Shuttleworth



Recording Sound Effects for the Archers

Photo from Gill Powell, no reproduction without permission.

The photo shows sound recordists Lee Harrigan and Rob Taylerson, in the Pebble Mill car park making a recording of Carl Dolan’s car engine for when Eddie Grundy went stock car racing in ‘The Archers’.

Gordon Astley adds the following comment on the Facebook Page: ‘recording Archers FX was my first job when I joined Broad Street in’69. I believe we played them in on one of the 1st Mellotrons. John Lennon had the first. Do I remember correctly? I have dined out on it ever since .’