Photo from Bhasker Solanki. Copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission
The following comments were left on the Pebble Mill Facebook page:
Robert Meikle: Its a Heron. Great fun to drive in a studio with little in the way of a set. I tracked one for a series of dance shows, basically The Black and White Minstrels, but not with the black make up. Very fast crabs all over the floor, with Ron Greene being very cool on the front. Also good for very, very slow creep in, before zooms were commonplace. Example, also with Ron, Pete and Dud in ‘Not Only but Also’. Happy memories of obsolete ways of working. For the anoraks, powered by hydraulic motors, compressor powered by 3 phase AC, could go for a distance with electrical power off, in silence.
Ian Keown: It was a very scary machine to drive, as it could crab (all 4 corner wheels moving), or steer, with just the two rear wheels moving. It went forward and reverse, and in crab mode if you went all the way round with the wheels, they became reversed, as quite a few studio walls and sets could testify! On the front, the left foot pedal was for craning up and down, and the right pedal moved the seat left and right, but if you had your whole foot on the pedal, and pushed your toe down, the seat moved to the left!It was a monster whichever end you sat on!!
Mark Smithers: Once did a play called ‘The Fallout Guy’ with Dave Bushell as the LD. There was a longish scene with a drive through the desert, so to show movement we mounted a 5k lamp where the camera usually is and I sat on the front to point the lamp with the camera supervisor Paul Woolston driving.
Laura McNeil: That was the only drama I did from start to finish, sound from pre to post-production. I loved working on it. Then I didn’t get a credit on it but the runners did. I almost cried it was awful as I found out when the end credits rolled in the edit suite.
Richard Stevenson: Looks like it’s still in the camera store. All the cable coiled up on the back. As far as I know it never went up to [Studio] B – no height in that studio anyway.
Simon Tooley: It used to come out of the store for ‘Crimewatch Midlands’. There was one mark on the floor, and I used to sit on the back of it in the same place for the whole show! If I remember rightly.
Alan Hussey: Very versatile dolly in the hands of an expert tracker – you could slip it from track to crab on the move. On the front both feet and both hands had individual jobs.