Midlands Today – Best Regional Programme, RTS 1989

Copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission. L-R back-row: Brian Conway, David Waine, Steve Lee, Gary Hudson, Sue Beardsmore. L-R front-row: Kay Alexander, Roy Saatchi, Rick Thompson, the late Alan Towers.

Thanks to Jonathan Dick for sharing this article from the internal BBC newspaper, Ariel, featuring Midlands Today winning the Royal Television Society award for Best Regional Programme in 1989.

Alan Towers resigns from Midlands Today 1997

Alan Towers BBC Midlands Today resignation broadcast 1997 from Mark Davies on Vimeo.

Copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission.

Alan Towers presenting Midlands Today in 1997, and resigning live at the end of the show. Apparently he asked to say something at the end of his final show, but no one realised that he was going to explain why he was leaving. His timing was impeccable, as usual.











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

Becky Towers: ‘My LEGEND of a father! He’s been gone 9 years this month. Funny that you posted this. He always finds a way to let us know he’s still around!’

Robin Latchem: ‘I wish someone had the recording of when the VT went down on a Saturday sports show I was producing and Alan had to busk several minutes with no spare copy. He breezed through the empty time while I in the gallery could only thank someone’s God that he was presenting.’

Gordon Astley: ‘I remember watching this one Saturday afternoon. We all thought,”Hero”. The suits thought “Unprofessional “. Later on I interviewed Alan on my show after his return from from a motorbike trip abroad. After the show you couldn’t move for ‘suits’ welcoming him back into the building.’

Martin Fisher: ‘He was helpful to us in local radio for both news and sport and I am personally grateful for the assistance in my early years in broadcasting from Pebble Mill.’



Children in Need with Alan Towers

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Copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission.

These stills are from Children in Need from the early 1980s. These would have been from the Midlands contribution into the national Children in Need show. The presenter was Alan Towers, who was one of the Midlands Today presenter. The first still shows the volunteers taking the pledges of money on the phones.

Thanks to Stuart Allen for sharing the photos.

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

Ann Gumbley Williams: ‘Worked with Alan as assistant on the very first Children in Need. I was in the Gallery on my own when London said they were coming to Birmingham in 30 seconds. Had to run around to the newsroom and grab Alan and all those involve. Just about got there in time! Such memories, the first one was so crazy and laid back and hairy! If you can be both.’

Gary Hudson: ‘I knew Alan before I worked for the BBC, and on my first day he took me to one side:”Staff job, eh? Find yourself an empty office on the fifth floor and stay there till you collect your pension.”
Variously called everything from Beckenbauer to Uncle Barmy, he was a great character, loyal friend and I miss him. His wicked sense of humour wasn’t confined to the infamous farewell speech. Who remembers the Christmas studio decorations sign-off? As I recall, it was something like: ‘Do you like our Christmas tree? The fairies put it up in the middle of the night. Thanks, boys!”

Children in Need – Steve Cram and Alan Towers

Steve Cram & Marie Phillips

Marie Phillips & Alan Towers
























Photos from Marie Phillips, no reproduction without permission.

‘Children in Need’ has enjoyed some high profile supporters over the years.  In these photos Pebble Mill ‘Children in Need’ co-ordinator, Marie Phillips, is joined by middle distance runner, Steve Cram, and Midlands Today presenter, Alan Towers.

The following comments were left on the Pebble Mill Facebook Group:

Ruth Kiosses: “Guessing this was c1990 because if the plain blocks under Pudsey? The following year the blocks were coloured ! Sad to know this info but I remember the sweatshirts I bought each year. Still got my Pudsey on this design 22 years old and still taken into school every November!”

Marie Phillips: “Gosh Ruth, well remembered ! This was an athletics event at Alexandra Stadium where we were invited to take CIN merchandise to sell and Alan Towers was there to help with promotion and Steve Cram came over to the Stall – can’t remember if he bought anything but he attracted a crowd who did!”

Ruth Kiosses: “I started PM in 1990 and I knew that it was the first sweatshirt I bought! Loved CIN the busiest week of the year in Wardrobe. Light entertainment stuff arriving in van loads, long hours, but great fun. Loved doing the OB from the front lawn always such a great atmosphere.”

Marie Phillips: “I retired in 1998 Ruth, but as every November arrives I remember those nights – such fun, such hard work, such adrenalin and then twice a year being so proud to be able to allocate the fruits of all the effort. Hapy, happy days.”

Midlands Today – TV Ark link










Here is a link to ‘TV Ark’, a site which includes short clips from a number of ‘Midlands Today’ episodes.  Clips include the first Midlands Today from 1971, as well as excerpts from presenters David Stevens, Alan Towers, Kathy Rochford, Nick Owen, Sue Beardsmore, Kay Alexander, Brian Conway, David Davies, Bernadette Kearney, Andy Knowles, Richard Uridge, Lawrence Lee, Michael Collie, Stuart Linnell and Suzanne Virdee.  The last ‘Midlands Today’ to be broadcast from Pebble Mill is also included.


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

Jane Ward: ‘I vision-mixed that last 6.30 prog….an honour to do it, but very emotional….’

Stuart Gandy: ‘If you spend a few minutes looking at TV ark, you will find quite a lot from pebble Mill. After all we did make a lot of programmes there, probably more than the average viewer realised’

Ewan Kiel: ‘That is great. I probably spent far longer than I should have done on Midlands Today … but looking back, it was really fun and hey, it was where I met my wife – and now I list people people who were – to me – cool: Kay, Brian, Darren, Fiona Barton, Richard (Uridge), Steve (Lee), Pete Lowe, Patrick (thank you, Patrick), Cathy, Martin Dowell, David Davies, Fiona (again), Steph, Pam, Gary (yes, Hudson), Will Trotter, Mike Johnston, Paul Freeman, Ian (Pedersen – very cool man), John Carney, Kathy Rochford (always had a crush), Liz (camera diary – huge crush… huge), Harvinder ( coolest guy in the office), Fiona ( the memory won ‘t go away), Barbara Steele (were the rumours true?), Darren (again coz he is my abiding friend from that time, and I honestly love him … although nothing gay has happened yet!), Jane Green (aaah), Julie (Etchingham … didn’t she do well), Pete Wilson (cool), John McLeod (very, very cool), Peter Poole (loved him), Howard (HOWARD!!?), Sue Beardsmore (especially in that button up the front grey dress), Nick Patten (and his tendency to direct standing up), Merrick Simmonds, Mel and her stockings, Lindsay, Ian Bellion (and his gorgeous sideburns) …and christ, I spent too long there.’

Lynn Cullimore: ‘yep, worked on that….gallery flush as we called it always evident as things went wrong and you had to be on your toes! Dear david stevens too – dont think he is any longer with us. kay alexander too – she is lovely. oh many many names….oh yes geoffrey green – i loved him and he was so funny. Wonder if he is with us still?’

Peter Poole: ‘I will never forget Alan Towers resigning on air and his comments about BBC management. What a great presenter.’