John Holmes’s memories of working at Pebble Mill

John Holmes

I was fortunate enough to work at Pebble Mill during those heady days of regional TV when we had the luxury of not only ‘Midlands Today’ but two half hour opt-outs a week, Tuesday evenings and Friday nights.

That legendary producer Roger Casstles was the first to ask me to join the ‘Look! Hear!’ team as a presenter alongside Chris Phipps and Michael Woods. After the first series Michael left and Toyah Wilcox replaced him. At one time the programme was so popular we were receiving over 600 letters a week.

As a result John Clarke, another legend, asked me to present a new hobbies based series called ‘Sparetime’. The moment I saw the opening credits that Anne Jenkins had created I knew we were on to another winner.

The ground breaking programme ‘Together’ followed this. Ground breaking at the time because it focussed on the lives of communities that had settled in our region. The programmes objective was to bring us all closer together. I well remember the Sikhs of Coventry, the Muslims in Stoke, the Irish in Leicester and the Caribbean community in Handsworth, an OB.

If you have memories of this please contact me. They were halcyon days at The Mill.

I’ve written about it all in my autobiography, ‘This Is the BBC Holmes Service’.

For more details visit johnholmes.co.uk 

Alan Towers and the Golden Eagle

 

Presenter Alan Towers with contributor and Golden Eagle. Photos by Bhasker Solanki, no reproduction without permission

 

Alan Towers presenting an episode of Midlands Today from Studio B at BBC Pebble Mill, accompanied by a handler and Golden Eagle.

 

Siouxsie and the Banshees – Look! Hear!


Photos by Christopher Glover, no reproduction without permission.

Siouxsie and the Banshees being recorded in Studio A for Look! Hear! Produced by Roger Casstles. Look! Hear! was a regional music and culture show. The photos date from the mid-1980s.

The following comments were added on the Pebble Mill Facebook page:

Phil Dolling: This brings back memories I was a very junior sound assistant on the floor, I recall the drummer ‘Budgie’ had his fold-back set to terrifying levels with all the high frequencies wound up. It was like razor blades coming out of the speakers. A brilliant series, it caught a great moment in Midland’s music.

Annette Martin: I mixed it she was v good. Just spotted the lovely Ron Sowton Floor Manager in 2nd pic.

Richard Stevenson: It is pre-1987 when I joined as the new cameras were in by then. Probably the Heron crane – one man to drive it and the camera op had a pedal for up and down plus a second pedal to rotate the seat. If you got them mixed up it got very messy!

Presentation studio 1980s

Here are a couple of photos of the presentation studio at Pebble Mill from the 1980s.

Photos by Simon Harris, no reproduction without permission

Terry Dobson

Terry Dobson, who launched the Pebble Mill at One programme in 1972 and remained its editor until 1978, died on Saturday, 19th September in Devon. He was 87.
Terry joined Pebble Mill from BBC North East, and left Birmingham in 1978 to become Regional Television Manager at BBC South, Southampton.
In the mid 80’s he returned to Pebble Mill as Managing Editor, English regions.
(text from Jim Dumighan)
The photos feature Terry Dobson and the Pebble Mill at One production office, and date from the mid 1970s. They were taken by Ken Williams.