The Tom O’Connor Roadshow – which was probably the most fun show to work on – ever – attracted amazingly good ratings in what had previously been the Pebble Mill At One slot, often peaking at over three million up against strong opposition on ITV. However, it began to prove very costly, as this tv circus travelled from town to town, week after week, so it was decided that the planned live shows from Aviemore, would be cancelled in favour of an extra week from Blackpool, although there were, rather bizarrely, pre-recorded inserts from the Scottish ski resort played into the second week in Blackpool. How do I remember this rather arcane fact? – I was Series Producer of this series; responsible for reinventing it after a rather sedate Down Your Way type pilot had been made by a different team. And I enjoyed doing this series so much I can still remember the precise transmission order of the various locations across the UK. How sad is that?! Suffice to say, it started in Derby and finished in Tom’s home town of Liverpool.
So an occasional glass of Blue Nun might have passed our lips after a hard day decorating Roadshow Cones, the quiz consolation prize, if my memory serves me well. Sadly, even if we had all signed the pledge it wouldn’t have saved it from getting the chop after only one really successful series. We should have done Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday live and then recorded Thursday and Friday on Monday and Tuesday afternoons, as we did in the later years of Pebble Mill Mark Two. That would have almost halved costs and made it viable again – although the quiz would have needed to be re-formatted. Classic telly!!! Why can I remember all this, when I can’t even remember what I did last week?!
The following comment was left on the Pebble Mill Facebook Page:
Jane Clement: ‘It was only costly because of the amount everybody drank! I was in charge of setting the quiz questions for the series so I travelled around with a suitcase full of reference books – no internet back then. Great fun.’