As part of my training in 1979, I was attached to the technical team of a couple of productions including a drama, a BBC Schools’ production of The Long, the Short and the Tall recorded over 3 days at Pebble Mill. The producer/director was Ron Smedley. Key acting cast is listed at https://www2.bfi.org.uk/films-tv-people/4ce2b73aef97d. The episodes were subsequently transmitted as a single play. More details at IMDB https://www.imdb.com/title/tt13411812/?ref_=adv_li_tt. I can recall the lighting director was Barry Hill, the technical manger was Ron Irvine, the sound supervisor was Alastair Askham, and the vision mixer was Mark Kershaw.
The production was divided into 3 half-hour transmissions, each episode was allocated one studio day and recorded “live to tape” multiple times. Ron Smedley wanted the uninterrupted action from the stage play to be available in this TV production, enabling the actors to react better to the rapid dialogue segments. The production used a single set that occupied most of the floor area in Studio A, including a jungle setting at the rear of the hut. One shot in the programme needed a wide shot of that jungle and the entrance to the hut, but the camera shot would have included a lot of the lighting rig, so a glass shot was created to hide this unwanted area.
by Andy Woodhouse
Lesley Weaver left the following comment on the Pebble Mill Facebook page:
The photos are from a Top Gear shoot about potential damage to a person’s head if involved in a high speed accident when not wearing a seat belt. The melon seen on some of the pictures was, medical specialists said, a good representation of the human skull. This segment used a high-speed film camera, with the principal photographer being John Williams, and Nigel Davey operating the camera. The item was recorded in the grounds of Pebble Mill.
Photos by Andy Woodhouse, no reproduction without permission.
Picture shows a rehearsal for capturing the moving head/melon. John Williams is second from left, Nigel Davey on camera.
Picture shows the fall of the melon from a two storey roof being recorded. Note the use of the coat to ensure the same melon could be used throughout until allowed to hit the ground.
Picture shows a discussion about the shoot process. John Williams is second from left, Keith Ackrill is fourth from left
Picture illustrates the impact of the melon on a hard object!