Gwen Arthy obituary by Carol Churchill
This obituary for Gwen Arthy, by Carol Churchill was published in The Guardian 15 July 2021. Here is the link to the article: https://www.theguardian.com/media/2021/jul/15/gwen-arthy-obituary?fbclid=IwAR0ps6b0vYMCqicmXcM5XFsZH3wQwyUkMuUr6SkrKtv2T7rErr68WLWmWfc
My former boss, Gwen Arthy, who has died aged 94, was head of makeup at BBC Pebble Mill from 1971 until 1985.
Gwen was born in Rochford, Essex, where her father was a baker.
She studied at the Central School of Art and Design in London, later to become Central St Martins. Her first employment was with a troupe of puppeteers, among whom was a young Ronnie Barker. She then moved to the costume-makers Angels, suppliers to film, theatre and TV, where one of her first tasks was to sculpt a nose for the baritone Tito Gobbi to wear in Tosca.
Gwen joined the BBC in London in 1964 to train as a makeup artist, before moving to the BBC studios at Gosta Green in Birmingham and then to the brand new Pebble Mill in 1971, where she became head of makeup. Programmes for which she designed makeup included Shakespeare or Bust (1970), The Brothers (1972), Nuts in May (1976) and Great Expectations (1981). When we worked on Who Pays the Ferryman? (1977), Gwen and I, as her assistant, were required to go to Crete for three months, where we shared many laughs, evenings in tavernas and midnight swims. As a result we became good friends
In 1985 she took early retirement and returned to her roots in Essex, settling in Leigh-on-Sea, where she found a lively artistic community in which she soon became involved. Over the years she became a prolific painter, in many different styles, and as well as having her own show her work was hung in many exhibitions, including the summer exhibition at the Royal Academy.
When ill health made her housebound she missed her art classes and her ability to put paint on canvas more than anything. Her interest in colour, form and texture was an integral part of her life. While she had still been able, she had travelled to many places to paint, in the UK and abroad, but her favourite, to which she returned many times, was the Isles of Scilly.
Gwen’s son, Tim, was given up for adoption in the early 1960s, but happily, in 2005, they were reunited and Gwen got to know her granddaughter, Amber.
While Gwen could be a demanding boss, she was very supportive of her staff and loved spending convivial evenings, and occasional lunchtimes, with them in the BBC Club, doing their best to empty the bar of its stock of Gordon’s gin. Gwen loved her home and garden and always had a cat, the last of whom was called Biscuit.
Great Expectations photos by Bhasker Solanki
‘Great Expectations’ 1981, made at Pebble Mill. It would have been recorded in Studio A, for the interiors and on 16mm film on location, for exteriors. Actor Philip Joseph playing Joe Gargery the blacksmith. The editor was Oliver White, assisted by Ian Bellion.
Here is the link to more information on the BBC Genome project: https://genome.ch.bbc.co.uk/search/0/20?q=Great+Expectations++Phillip+Joseph#top
Below is the listing for episode 1 from the Radio Times
‘Great Expectations’ by Charles Dickens, dramatised in 12 parts by James Andrew Hall
Starring Gerry Sundquist as Pip, Stratford Johns as Magwitch, Joan Hickson as Miss Havisham, Phillip Joseph as Joe Gargery, John Stratton as Uncle Pumblechook
A lonely little figure hurrying home across the marshes… The sudden terrifying appearance of a brutal escaped convict – and Pip is launched on an adventurous journey that changes him from blacksmith’s apprentice to snobbish young gentleman.
Juliet Bravo filming locations and nostalgia
In November 2020 a Facebook site was set up with the aim of trying to identify as many specific filming locations used in the Juliet Bravo TV series. At the time there was next to no details online other than the following information on Wikipedia:
Filming took place in the Lancashire towns of Colne, Bacup, Accrington, Nelson, Burnley and Todmorden. Other locations around East Lancashire, West Yorkshire and the Black Country (Tipton and Dudley) were also used. The exterior of Hartley Police Station seen throughout the entire series run was in fact the real-life police station in the town of Bacup.
The task was made even harder by the fact that many of the buildings and surrounding areas had been demolished or significantly redeveloped since filming days.
After a rather slow start the Facebook site began to gain interest and eventually had over 1000 members. Many of these people lived, or still live in the filming areas. Quite a few were young actors, mainly from the Burnley Youth Theatre, some as extras and some that actually starred in the program. Other members included cameramen, make-up artists and continuity managers. With all these people on board the members managed to identify hundreds of filming sites. They also identified other areas such as Blackburn, Bury, Kendal, Simonstone and Read, all of which had never been documented before.
Out of all the 6 series, one episode, ‘Lost & Found’ had no locations to find as it was filmed entirely in the studio. Another episode, ‘Talk To Me’ had all its outdoor scenes filmed at night which made location identification virtually impossible.
A document was initially created as a back-up for the Facebook site and updated as each episode was being researched. It has since morphed into something much larger and now contains nostalgia, filming photographs, letters from the BBC, continuity issues and photographs from numerous contributors. It also contains many ‘then & now’ photographs showing how certain locations have changed since filming days.
The document is available to view or download here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1M4JE-PSQojPhHfj4-_w35MzW6RIQgIrG/view
Throughout the investigations the group tried to be as accurate as possible when identifying each location but as mentioned, some sites / buildings had been changed beyond recognition. Sometimes it was necessary to hunt down old photographs of certain areas to positively identify a location.
Here is the link to the Juliet Bravo Facebook group:
Howards’ Way photos by Albert Sheard
These photos were taken on location in 1987 on the glamorous drama series Howards’ Way by Albert Sheard. They include iconic locations like Cowes Week on the Isle of Wight, Somerset House and the QE2. It is cameraman John Williams about to get into the helicopter, presumably to record aerial shots. Howards’ Way was produced by a BBC drama series team from London, but was hosted at Pebble Mill, using a Pebble Mill crew.
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