All Memories Great and Small – part 7, Carol Churchill

Photo of All Creatures Great and Small set in Studio A, by Tim Savage. No reproduction without permission.













Here is the latest excerpt from “All Memories Great & Small” – by Oliver Crocker.

This time, it is the memories of Carol Churchill (née Ganniclifft) (Make-up Artist):

‘I’d joined the BBC in 1973. I had heard they were looking for make-up artists at Pebble Mill and I thought it sounded interesting so I applied and I got the job – though when I applied, I really had no idea what it was! My mother had a hairdressing salon, so I had that skill, because in television you needed to do both. They sent me to London for a course for three months and then I was up and running. I feel very sad for the girls today because it is so hard to get into it and they have to pay for their training now, which for the same course I did is about £9,000, so not everyone can afford it.’

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












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

Richard Burn: ‘Great to see this set again, first programme I ever worked on in television. I did the pre-production sign design for Darrowby and packaging and signage for the Dispensary, I had never heard of set dressing before then.’

Andy Frizzell: ‘Ha! First studio drama I ever worked on. Bob Gell was TM1 (lighting director nowadays) the hands on the clock in the hall were held on with blue tack.’



Forget Carter – Chris Phipps

Copyright Mark Pinder photography, no reproduction without permission












Chris Phipps, who used to present on Look! Hear! at Pebble Mill in the early 1980s, and was the BBC’s Black Country correspondent in the 1970s, has written a book about the films and television of Newcastle.

Here is the publicity material from Chris:

We associate Newcastle with TV and Film icons Get Carter, Byker Grove, The Tube and Our Friends in the North. However, do you know where Ralph Richardson stole money from in 1939? Why a den of spies were living in Jesmond in 1951? Who met Tommy Lee Jones on the High Level Bridge in 1988? Why Gateshead High Street was under siege in 2009? and which Newcastle flats seem to appear in every programme or film made in Newcastle?

In his new book, media historian Chris Phipps takes us on his tour of Newcastle’s film and TV covering old favourites like Payroll and Auf Wiedersehen Pet and shining light on some hidden gems such as The One and Only, Unconditional and The Clouded Yellow. Newcastle continues to be the perfect film set, seeing filming for Vera and Transformers: The Black Knight in 2016. Forget Carter! What could be next for this photogenic city?
With contributions from directors Ken Loach (I, Daniel Blake, Kes) and Bryn Higgins (Unconditional), writers Peter Flannery (Our Friends in the North, George Gently), Ian La Frenais (The Likely Lads, Porridge, Auf Wiedersehen, Pet) and Lee Hall (Billy Elliot)and actors Melanie Hill (Bread, Coronation Street), Victoria Elliot (Hebburn , Emmerdale, The Kennedys, 55 Degrees North, Get Carter stage play), Charlie Hardwick (Amber Films, Emmerdale, Byker Grove) and Dave Johns (I, Daniel Blake), this book explores the background to the filming of many television programmes and films in Newcastle.”
The book is now available from AMAZON, The Tyneside Cinema and but will be available from Tyne Bridge Publishing:
Tyne Bridge Publishing
Newcastle Libraries
33 New Bridge Street West
Newcastle upon Tyne
Phone +44 (0)191 2774174

The following comment was left on the Pebble Mill Facebook page:

Andy Frizzell: ‘Co-presented look hear with Toyah Wilcox. One of the first things I worked on and the first time I met Barry Chatfield. A long, long time ago.’










Countryfile – Ken Pollock


Countryfile team

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













Regarding Countryfile, it is fun to look at the photograph and recognise old friends/colleagues.
My involvement was to be a producer on Farming, with Martin Small, and Exec John Kenyon. We wanted to acknowledge the large “over the shoulder” audience we had on Farming, and hence wrote the brief for Countryfile. I remember it well, sitting in John Kenyon’s office sketching in the idea, and kicking around names. I came up with the Countryfile name, although we may have thought it should be two words…
Michael Grade, Controller BBC1 accepted the idea, the team went from 4 to 24, and the Countryfile bandwagon started rolling.
After poor Brain Strachan died, there was a vacancy on Top Gear, and John Kenyon told me to get some broader experience, before applying to run Countryfile. So I did, but they did not want me to run Countryfile, as I was supposedly too biased to the farming community and Mike Fitzgerald got the gig.
I stuck with Top Gear and the rest is history…

Ken Pollock

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

Patrick Flavelle: ‘I started on a rolling weekly contract working with Fitz surfacing potential stories at the fag end of Farming…led to working on the show for its first 11 years. Happy days and incredibly boozy Xmas do’s…the one after this photo was very messy!’

Mick Murphy: ‘3rd from right, 2nd row – Sue Lloyd, Director. 1st on the left, front row – Barry Paine, former BBC producer / wildlife narrator, who used to voice over some of our films. Girl behind Fitz is called Sarah…? Great picture. ‘

Jane McLean: ‘John Clarke on the left .. who I went to Russia and Siberia with for Countryfile in 1989. Should try & find the Russian pix. Talk about an eye opener. The director was Dick Colthurst (what happened to him?) and the crew was Nigel Davey, Barrie Foster, Keith Rodgerson and Andy Frizzell. We were force-fed vodka shots 24/7 – honestly! ‘

Pam Relton: ‘Dick is very successful Jane – he went to BBC Bristol after CountryFile and is now MD at Tigress Productions.’

Jane McLean: ‘Good on him. Never heard of Tigress Prods – am SO out of the loop these days re anything telly!’

Viv Ellis: ‘I recognise Yasmine O’Grady looking glam – as ever. I worked on Farming for a few months’

Roy Thompson: ‘Spent a very happy attachment to Countryfile from Wood Norton even getting to direct a piece on arts in rural communities. Very supportive and friendly team.’

Andrea Buffery: ‘This picture would look amazing next to the Countryfile team today. It consists of 30 plus people.’

Steve Johnson: ‘I worked on Countryside for a short time in mid nineties, arranged the filming of the brand new RSPB reserve at Conwy.’

Pam Relton: ‘As a real City girl, CountryFile opened my eyes to so many things. I remember my first shoot – in a battery hen farm, a barn the size of a hanger filled with chickens in cages no bigger than themselves, floor to ceiling, the noise!! I’ve not knowingly eaten anything other than free range, outdoor-reared produce since. I learned so much about the pressures on farmers and producers to comply with the big supermarkets. This was the great thing about working on programmes like this – that open up the issues to do with farming and the countryside to everyone.’

Jane McLean: ‘I was country born & bred Pam – my brother was a pig farmer – and I know exactly what you’re talking about from the other side! ‘

Shalom Salaam tracking shot – Dave Bushell

Photo by lighting director, Dave Bushell, no reproduction without permission.

‘Shalom Salaam’, filming at Leicester Station, 1988.

John Trew laying a camera track (while there’s a perfectly good one already in place on the right). The rigger on the left is Peter Mylowski, and I think it’s Elson Godbolt (vision engineer) at rest on the dolly.

Just visible in the distance in the trademark sheepskin coat is director Gareth Jones.

Dave Bushell

(Thanks to Andy Frizzell for identifying the rigger)

Radio WM – John Taynton

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

John Taynton used to present the Late Show on Radio WM.  Sadly, he died in Feb 2011, after a battle with cancer.  The show he presented was current affairs and consumer based, and was one of the first shows to be syndicated across the Midlands network.

Thanks to Stuart Gandy for making this Radio WM Photocard of presenter John Taynton available.

Sparks, Andy Frizzell adds the following memory of John:

“One thing stands out for me. During the electricians strike in 1987 John came out to us on the picket line and handed us a bag for our hardship fund. It was full of cash from a collection organised by John and WM. Totally unexpected but very much appreciated. Came over as a kind and generous man and fully sympathised with us.”

Series producer and director, Kath Moore adds the following comment:

“John was my first boss. His 11am WM show circa 1987 was my chance to make tea, answer his phone-in phones and do the intro/ outro durations on the vinyls that he chose with consummate care and knowledge. He carried them to studio in a wire …supermarket basket I recall …. A real People’s Champ, he was tirelessly supportive and encouraging to those starting off – and there were many of us…. He set the bar high too on standards – and taught us to do the same, for which I’m grateful, daily. A lovely, feisty man.”

Producer, Rebecca Skidmore remembers listening to John’s show as a teenager:

“His show was my escape when I was being bullied at school in my teens. I used to lie under my duvet with my walkman on and listen to this very kind man helping people, and it just made everything seem better….”

Darren New travelled with John:

“I had the most amazing trip with John to Rwanda as part of Midlands Aid, Richard Uridge’s idea to raise money for the innocent people caught up in the genocide. His back pack never made it to Africa so we had to lend him some of our clothes. He was a great guy and a brilliant broadcaster.”