Pebble Mill at One rehearsal

Photos by Robin Sunderland, no reproduction without permission

Photos taken by Robin Sunderland, not to be reproduced without permission. Cameraman Robin Sunderland took these photos of a Pebble Mill at One rehearsal shortly after completing his camera training in the 1980s.  They feature presenters Marion Foster and Donny Mcleod, and a young looking Nick Patten (now Head of BBC Birmingham and Manchester Factual Programmes – Vision Productions) is floor managing.  The cameramen are: Brian Cave, Jim Gray and Dave Lawson with Alan Duxbury doing ‘Captions’ up on camera 5.  Please add a comment if you recognise other people in the photographs – thanks!

 

Keith Ackrill’s Memories of Working at Pebble Mill

Bob Langley dancing with Ginger Rogers

KEITH ACKRILL – MEMORIES OF PEBBLE MILL

I worked at Pebble Mill on Radio 4 and television, from the day it opened until I left in 1982.  I have very many pleasant recollections of the years I spent there.

The thing you noticed most was the tremendous enthusiasm that permeated the whole staff.

It was the feeling that we were in a brand new building hailed as the biggest combined radio and television complex in Europe.  We were all determined to make Pebble Mill programming a force to be reckoned with.

Hours and hours of top television had the Pebble Mill label.  As well as Birmingham productions, many London drama series were based in the studio or filmed on location, using Birmingham crews.

The Brothers, Poldark, All Creatures Great and Small, Juliet Bravo, Howards Way, even Basil Brush – the list goes on and on.  And that doesn’t include the many classic dramas that were produced in Studio A.

Radio was an important part of the building’s output too.  Radio Two programming found a home there, the Midlands Radio Orchestra was in residence for many years.  Folk music, pop music – every kind of music came from Pebble Mill.  And that’s not forgetting radio drama.   Pebble Mill, of course, was home to The Archers and many other dramas of all kinds were produced alongside, together with some fine radio documentaries.

There were many landmark programmes – Top Gear, Pebble Mill At One, Saturday Night At The Mill – all of which I was fortunate to have worked on.

My main memories from the last programme include talking to actor Robert Wagner, in the hospitality room, about English beer.  I know nothing about beer, but it was worth talking about it just have Natalie Wood’s dark brown eyes focused on me!  I remember sitting across the table from Ginger Rogers and, later, photographing Bob Langley dancing with her – lucky devil – accompanied by Kenny Ball and his Jazzmen, with guest trumpeter James Hunt.  Many, many great stars came to Pebble Mill to take part in the wide range of radio and television programmes that came from within that building.

I miss meeting them, but I also miss the camaraderie of the people I worked with, of being part of a team dedicated to putting broadcasting in the Midlands on the map.

Saturday Night at the Mill – Keith Ackrill’s photos

Bob Langley dances with Ginger Rogers

These photos are not be reproduced without permission.

Saturday Night at the Mill’ was a spin off from ‘Pebble Mill at One’, and featured live entertainment from the Pebble Mill foyer.  Kenny Ball’s jazz band was the resident band.  The show ran from 3/6/76 until 11/7/81, and there were 89 episodes.  The photos feature: Bob Langley dancing with Ginger Rogers, Jenny Hanley, Natalie Wood, John Bennett, Marvin Hamlisch, Roger Whittaker, Robert Wagner.

Weekend Live – Keith Ackrill’s photos

Photos taken by Ketih Ackrill, not to be reproduced without permission.  ‘Weekend Live’ was a live entertainment show, staged in the courtyard behind Studio 3.

Pebble Mill at One – Keith Ackrill’s photos

Most of these photos of Pebble Mill at One were taken by Director Keith Ackrill, and must not be reproduced without his permission.  They include photos of Donny Mcleod interviewing Ron Moody and Jimmy Saville, George Hamilton IV and Andy Williams in rehearsal, as well as a black and white photo from 1975 of the Pebble Mill film crew on location in Burnley.  This photo features, left to right: Richard Ganniclift (cam), Sam Hanna (contributor), Peter Casselberg (sound), Keith Ackrill (director), Tim Johnson (cam).