It was ok I guess, but all that matters is Michael’s WATCH. It was wafer thin, and curved round his wrist. The winder was a jewel. It had cost £800, and been given him by The Beatles for directing ‘Let It Be’. When going on holiday he’d rung the suppliers, Cartier, and asked, ‘Is it shock-proof?’ ‘Oh no sir.’ ‘Is it waterproof?’ ‘Certainly NOT sir. Please regard it as a piece of jewellery…’
I’d cut ‘The Fishing Party’, directed by Michael Simpson, who was at that stage director of the Birmingham Repertory Theatre. So it was great to return to such excellent material, working with Brian Parker. A party of us went to see Brian Glover wrestle in Wolverhampton. Now Brian had had trouble being allowed to ‘have a go’, until one night the continental Super Star didn’t turn up, so they said, ‘You’re on! But you’re not Brian Glover, you are Leon Arras!’ So that’s the name Brian fought under, until one dreadful night a great Frenchman turned up, poked him in the chest, and said, ‘Vous est NOT Leon Arras, pour moi est le REAL Leon Arras!’ After that it was ‘Brian Glover’ who took to the ring! The night we went was the most hilarious of my life. When Brian was on top NO ONE could have looked more smug and arrogant! How we boo-ed! Then with one flick, he was on the floor, being squashed! NO ONE could have looked more abject, and hard done by. We were weeping with laughter…….
When Peter Terson came to see the rough cut. He was covered in blood. We didn’t like to ask what had happened. Had he murdered someone?
From PETE SIMPKIN – Radio Birmingham/WM producer and presenter 1970-1988
Pebble Mill was a pioneering Broadcasting Centre custom built to house the cream of the BBC’s non metropolitan broadcasting and its staff. It unified under one roof several premises in Birmingham and so brought together all the talent and technology for Broadcasting in the 70s and 80s. It also was the headquarters of the BBC’s non London Organisation. Others will tell the story of the building, of it’s multitude of programmes both on TV and Radio. There was a high profile Radio operation including drama and Music of all kinds, not forgetting of course the fact that it was the home of ‘The Archers’, the Radio soap opera.
For my part it was a terrific place to work. Local Radio was the first part of the operation to be homed here as it went ‘On air’ as the Mill was being commissioned. Wherever there are local radio broadcasters there are thousands of tales to tell and so I have collected here just four personal memories which pull together the magic of working at Pebble Mill and the ways in which this extraordinary building operated for good or ill!
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