With those words [surely one of the best ever cues over talkback!] John Smith, the Director, began yet another “first” for the Pebble Mill @ One team with a live broadcast from a nuclear submarine, HMS Dreadnought, near Faslane off the west coast of Scotland on the 14th February, 1980. The submarine took it’s cue, broke through the surface of the choppy Firth of the Clyde and appeared in all it’s glory to the music of the opening title sequence. What happened next – I will never forget.
John Smith was an inspirational Producer/Director and not exactly known for taking “No” or “It can’t be done” for an answer. He was the driving force behind many of Pebble Mill’s ambitious live programmes – particularly those involving the military.
These photos have been shared by cameraman, Alec Robson’s son Michael. They look like they were taken during a television drama training exercise, probably during the 1960s.
Alec is on the left in the first photo.
Derek Price thinks that the second photo includes, left to right – Derek Price, Tony Wigley, possibly Tony Rayner, Alec Robson, and possibly Peter Booth.
Radio Birmingham and Radio WM presenter and producer Pete Simpkin sadly died on 29th June 2020.
The following comments were shared on the Pebble Mill Facebook page:
Gyn Freeman: He really was Radio Birmingham then newbies arrived with “ideas” change of name for the station and other changes. He was loved by his listeners and years after I found him being kind and help elderly residents – so a real Brummy a decent chap.
Clive Payne: I knew Pete when I joined WM in 1989. In those days the BBC invested heavily in training people and Pete did a lot of that as well as being a highly acclaimed and established producer and presenter too. He taught me everything I knew and it is down to him that I have the radio career that I have today. Without him, I know it would not have happened. I grew up in Shirley; Pete lived there with his wife Pat, so I used to see them around anyway. Pete and I used to come home together on the 49 bus sometimes and used to put the world to rights. He taught us all on our course about the ‘red light rule’ i.e. not entering a studio with a red light glowing, an ethos I am a stickler with today. On the odd occasion where people have come into my studio through a read light – they have had a reality check from me not to do it again! Pete taught me to edit on quarter inch tape, like we all did in those days and how to research an item and importantly not to over -research it. He also taught me how to deliver speech on air and the importance of articulation and comprehension. Speech based radio is still by far my favourite form. I am glad that I and other like me knew him not only as a colleague but a friend too and received the value of his many years of experience and training. My career and I are far better off with it.