Studio A Refurbishment – Stuart Gandy

Refurbished Studio A Gallery. Copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission.











Hard to believe but this month (March 2018) it is 20 years since Studio A came back into use after it’s digital widescreen refurbishment. The strip out had started just before Christmas 97, and then the rebuild continued early 98. Sadly as we all know the new studio had a very short life. I could be wrong (corrections please) , but I think the first programme in the new studio was Can’t Cook Won’t Cook. The picture is of the new production gallery.

Stuart Gandy

Pebble Mill Props Cages

10269346_10152452206602139_1156570742662719721_nPhoto by Karen Bond, no reproduction without permission.

This photo shows some of the props cages at Pebble Mill, together with a man in a very bright florescent vest! Props cages tended to be stored either in the basement of the building, or near the scene dock on the ground floor. They had wheels on the base, and so could be wheeled around easily. They were mostly used for dramas, although the studio and make-over shows also used them. I remember sometimes the cages weren’t where you’d left them, because they had been wheeled away by someone, which was rather disconcerting!

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

Steve Johnson: ‘I remember these. I used to work in the News Library next to the newsroom so was often in the basement looking for tapes or film reels.’

Andy Walters: ‘There are still a couple of props cages in the Horsefair car park. They still have the names of the last home makeover shows they were used for scribbled on the side in chalk.’

Marie Phillips: ‘Lovely House Services comandeered several each October for storing my Children In Need merchandise in the cabin loaned for free every year. Also – one Appeal Night me and Gyn Freeman got stuck in a lift behind one and had to keep going up and down until there was someone to rescue us. If you know Gyn and I you will know how funny that was !!’

Carol Churchill: ‘I remember the Props parties, well when l say remember that may be stretching the truth!’

Scott Holdsworth: ‘There were loads of these throughout the basement. I remember when Can’t Cook Won’t Cook finished and all the brand new pans were stored there for years. When there was a clear out I ended up with a kitchen full of lovely new utensils.’

Andy Bentley: ‘Props was great for fun when on nights, when we were in the old Security office at the back of the building we got a head from props. We put the head on a long pole and put it up to the edit suite window above the office. I reckon they could hear Trudy [Offer] and Ingrid [Wagner]’s screams in town. It looks more like Mervin in the photo.

Ruth Kiosses: ‘Best memories of the Props/costume store best known as Smelly (Oak). The Props Lads as they were affectionately known were real characters, especially Jacko who gave himself a wonderful long title which meant props lad. They had a tea room furnished in old Howards’ Way set so the drawers were dummies but it looked swish. I remember a lot of practical jokes after shooting a sex shop scene for a ‘murder mystery’? Series (title eludes me) although I remember costumes really well, lead lady in full Burberry check trousers etc, fabulous purple suede suit! Anyway the props as you can imagine were inflated and used for all sorts of interesting decorations!!!’

Teresa Fuller: ‘Was only privileged to visit Pebble Mill once, on an induction day. But when I worked at The Mailbox, we had storage cages over at the multi storey car park (the one with local rats and the fear of having a friendly local resident chucking something from the adjacent tower block as you walked back from your hire car drop-off)! Anyway, we used the cages to store props for To Buy or Not to Buy and one day a colleague and I had the pleasure of cleaning a cage out that was covered in mouse droppings. Nice.’

Andy Bentley: ‘There was also the skeleton propped up against a door in the basement so when Ted went on patrol and opened the door it fell out on him. Again I reckon the screams could be heard in town.’

Ainsley Harriott – Good Morning with Anne and Nick

Ainsley with HotlinersAinsley Harriott











Photos by Karen Bond, no reproduction without permission.

TV chef, Ainsley Harriott, on Good Morning with Anne and Nick, visits the Hotliners, who manned the phones of the daily live magazine show. The photo dates from the early 1990s.

Thanks to Karen Bond for sharing the photos.

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

Stuart Gandy: ‘Ainsley once gave me an apple! It was at the end of one of the recordings of Can’t Cook, Won’t Cook. I was on the studio floor clearing up after the programme for the day, when he suddenly declared there were lots of apples left over, and promptly dished them out to many of us.’

Bridget Vaughan: ‘I appeared on Can’t Cook with BBC Wm’s Bob Brolly, we won.’

Carolyn Davies: ‘Was thinking of GM today! Ainsley used to cook a separate batch of food especially for the crew….’