Heron Crane – Bhasker Solanki

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.

Dome on the roof of Pebble Mill

Photo by Bhasker Solanki, no reproduction without permission

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This dome appeared on the roof of the Pebble Mill office block circa 1980.

The following comments about were posted on the Pebble Mill Facebook page:

Annie Gumbley Williams: The dome was built to be used for recordings, interviews etc. Remember doing one there with Robin Cousins in Roy Ronnie & Roy Norton days. Roy Ronnie used it for meetings sometimes to get out of the office. It made a lot of noise when it rained so not good for recording!

Malcolm Hickman: It also acted like a greenhouse and anything left in there suffered with the condensation.

Andy Shepherd:The dome was bought second-hand from Granada who had used it in the summer of 1979 for their Saturday morning children’s show The Mersey Pirate. The show was based aboard the ferry MV Royal Iris moored at Liverpool Docks. The dome structure was built on the promenade deck of the vessel. The run of the series was cut short by the ITV strike which started in August.

Here are a couple more photos of the dome being installed in 1981. They are from Stuart Gandy.

Photo by Stuart Gandy, no reproduction without permission

Dome being hoisted on to the roof. Photo by Stuart Gandy, no reproduction without permission

 

Pebble Mill site 2020

Pebble Mill site 2020

Posted by Bhasker Solanki on Thursday, 9 January 2020

Thanks to Bhasker Solanki for sharing this video of the Pebble Mill site in Jan 2020. It looks very different from when it was a broadcast centre, with only the road past Security at the end of the video looking the same.

Copyright Bhasker Solanki, no reproduction without permission

Pebble Mill Cameramen’s Reunion

Pebble Mill Cameramen’s reunion Aug 2019. No reproduction without permission.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The photo includes: Dave Wilkins, Phil Wilson, Dave Ballantyne with Alan Duxbury in front, Bhasker Solanki, Doug Smith?, Bob Meikle, Robin Sunderland and John Couzens.

Keith Salmon held the reunion for Pebble Mill cameramen at The Kings Arms in Knowle in Aug 2019.