All Memories Great and Small – Part 9, Alex Christison

Alex Christison recording film sound on the Asian show: New Life. Copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission.





















This is the final excerpt from “All Memories Great & Small” – by Oliver Crocker

This time it is memories from Alex Christison (Film Sound):

‘The main problem on All Creatures was that we are talking about the days before multi-mic radio microphones were available – so you couldn’t just scatter personal mics around each actor and mix accordingly. We were also recording in mono audio, so I didn’t even have another track to play with like the dramas do these days with split track. Basically, I relied on my boom swinger to get my sound. We’d done away with the old sync lead by then, thank God, which meant I wasn’t joined up to the camera – the boom mic would be connected to my Nagra mixer and would be recorded separately to picture. The clapperboard really did concentrate the minds in those days because it was quite a costly process if you got it wrong.’

60 cast and crew have shared their memories for this new book, which is available to preorder now from Miwk –

Copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission



Gangsters series in Pakistan

Copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission














This photograph is of the arrival of the cast and crew of the drama series Gangsters, when the end of the series was filmed in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. Included in the photograph are Andy Meikle (production co-ordinator, far left, beard), Heather Storr, Ann Arnold (costume designer 3rd from the left next to Heather), David Rose (producer – centre front row, black top and sunglasses), Arthur Heywood (sparks, back row, to the right of David), Saeed Jaffrey (actor, next to David), Richard Ganniclift (camera asst/operator to the right of Saeed Jaffrey), Alex Christison (sound recordist, last but one on right, with beard and sun glasses), far right Ken Morgan ( lighting cameraman). Also there, but not included in the shot were: Alastair Reid, director; Philip Martin, writer.

Thanks to Jane Mclean, Steve Saunderson, Janice Rider, Susan Astle, Janet Collins, and Bill Bohanna for helping identify people.




All Memories Great and Small

all-memories-great-and-smallOliver Crocker’s  All Creatures book is now available to Pre-order.


Released as part of the 100th birthday celebrations for James Herriot, a new book “All Memories Great & Small” is being released by Miwk Publishing as an ideal companion to the classic BBC series. Every episode is accompanied by exclusive memories, thanks to 60 new interviews with cast and crew.


Christopher Timothy (James Herriot), Robert Hardy Esq, CBE, FSA (Siegfried Farnon), Peter Davison (Tristan Farnon), Carol Drinkwater (Helen Herriot), Andrea Gibb (Deirdre McEwan), Jean Heywood (Mrs Alton) and Ali Lewis (Rosie Herriot).


Peter Alexander (St. John), Lois Baxter (Margery Egerton), Paul Clayton (Brian Weeting), Fine Time Fontayne (George Forsyth/Joe Bentley), Gillian Hanna (Betty Sanders), Derek Hicks (Willie Bannister), Pete Ivatts (Mr. Blackburn/Tom Maxwell), Vivien Keene (Mary Trenholm), Ray Mangion (Franco Pedretti), Norman Mann (Richard Edmundson), Nicholas McArdle (Mr. Worley), Joanna McCallum (Lady Hulton), Elizabeth Millbank (Alice McTavish), Suzanne Neve (Joan Clifford), Jonathan Owen (Peter Gillard), David Quilter (Andrew Bruce), Pamela Salem (Zoe Bennett), Jessica Sewell (Mary Clarke), Madeline Smith (Angela Farmer/Anne Grantley), Amanda Waring (Elizabeth Rayner) and Susan Wooldridge (Daughter of Margaretta Scott).


Bob Blagden (Director), Sandy Byrne (Widow of Writer Johnny Byrne), Alex Christison (Film Sound), Carol Churchill (Make-up Designer), David Crozier (Designer), Nigel Curzon (Designer), Roger Davenport (Writer), Rowena Dean (Make-up Artist), Mike Duxbury (Film Editor), Paul Finch (Son of Writer Brian Finch), Graham Frake (Lighting Cameraman), Roderick Graham (Director), Joyce Hawkins (Costume Designer), Terry Hodgkinson (Writer), June Hudson (Costume Designer), David Hughes (Sound), William Humble (Writer), Brian Jones (Gaffer), Peter Loring (Film Cameraman), Richard Martin (Director), Christopher Penfold (Script Editor/Writer), Les Podraza (Scene Hand), Janice Rider (Costume Designer), Tony Redston (Production Associate), Michael Russell (Writer), Helen Scarsbrook (Wardrobe), Bill Sellars (Producer), Pip Short (Grip/AFM/Location Manager), Sam Snape (Writer), Maggie Thomas (Make-up Artist), David Tilley (Assistant Floor Manager), Tony Virgo (Director) and John Williams (Film Cameraman).


Studio C North Riser, Kathryn Shuttleworth

I seem to remember that these photos were taken with a panoramic camera that was being featured on the show that day. The photos were left in the North Riser so I took them home for safe keeping.

Left to right: Alex Christison, Michael Harrison, Guy Worth, Paul Scurrell, Kathryn Shuttleworth

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

Peter Poole:  ‘Many happy days in the North Riser trying to make the VHF Micron radio mics work!’

Laura McNeill: ‘Think I spent half my life there, yes Peter happy days.’

The Bollywood Story – Photos by Andy Frizzell

Photos by Andy Frizzell, no reproduction without permission.

‘The Bollywood Story’ was a two part documentary, produced at Pebble Mill by Narendhra Morar, about the history of Indian cinema from 1913.  It went out in 1989.  The film editor was Mike Duxbury, assisted by Victoria Trow.

These photos are from a trip to India (Bombay, mostly). The documentary title was The Bollywood Story’.  I think we spent four weeks in and around the Indian film industry in Bombay interviewing stars, prospective stars and key people from the industry. 
We spent a lot of time following Anil Kapoor who was a big star in India then. He will be better known to British film goers as Prem Kumar the ‘Chris Tarrant’ character in Slumdog Millionaire.

The crew were Paul Sen, Director; Cameraman was John Kenway; Assistant/Second camera Keith Froggatt; Sound Alex Christison PA was Douglas ???  He was one of only two male PA’s in the Beeb at the time and there was a researcher, Harbinder Minhas. We had a fixer called Uday who made my life a lot easier with the hired in crews for the studio shoot.

The studio we had was previously used for filming parts of ‘Ghandi’.  There were some dubious bits of kit. The crane looked like it was made from giant Meccano and the overhead lighting ‘gantry’ was just scaffold boards and rope.

 Conversation on arrival: John Kenway: (to me)

“You’re not going up there!….”

Me: “Damned right I’m not!”

As if he needed to tell me!

  I had a crew of twenty in that studio which was pretty good considering I only had fifteen lights!  
The dodgy wiring and mechanical lighting effect were both seen on set at another studio and both involved exposed conductors.  I’d like to point out they were nothing to do with me and I didn’t use them!

Andy Frizzell