Gwen Arthy obituary by Carol Churchill

Gwen Arthy smartening Brian Glover up on ‘Shakespeare or Bust’. Photo by Graham Pettifer, no reproduction without permission

 

This obituary for Gwen Arthy, by Carol Churchill was published in The Guardian 15 July 2021. Here is the link to the article: https://www.theguardian.com/media/2021/jul/15/gwen-arthy-obituary?fbclid=IwAR0ps6b0vYMCqicmXcM5XFsZH3wQwyUkMuUr6SkrKtv2T7rErr68WLWmWfc

My former boss, Gwen Arthy, who has died aged 94, was head of makeup at BBC Pebble Mill from 1971 until 1985.

Gwen was born in Rochford, Essex, where her father was a baker.
She studied at the Central School of Art and Design in London, later to become Central St Martins. Her first employment was with a troupe of puppeteers, among whom was a young Ronnie Barker. She then moved to the costume-makers Angels, suppliers to film, theatre and TV, where one of her first tasks was to sculpt a nose for the baritone Tito Gobbi to wear in Tosca.

Gwen joined the BBC in London in 1964 to train as a makeup artist, before moving to the BBC studios at Gosta Green in Birmingham and then to the brand new Pebble Mill in 1971, where she became head of makeup. Programmes for which she designed makeup included Shakespeare or Bust (1970), The Brothers (1972), Nuts in May (1976) and Great Expectations (1981). When we worked on Who Pays the Ferryman? (1977), Gwen and I, as her assistant, were required to go to Crete for three months, where we shared many laughs, evenings in tavernas and midnight swims. As a result we became good friends

In 1985 she took early retirement and returned to her roots in Essex, settling in Leigh-on-Sea, where she found a lively artistic community in which she soon became involved. Over the years she became a prolific painter, in many different styles, and as well as having her own show her work was hung in many exhibitions, including the summer exhibition at the Royal Academy.

When ill health made her housebound she missed her art classes and her ability to put paint on canvas more than anything. Her interest in colour, form and texture was an integral part of her life. While she had still been able, she had travelled to many places to paint, in the UK and abroad, but her favourite, to which she returned many times, was the Isles of Scilly.

Gwen’s son, Tim, was given up for adoption in the early 1960s, but happily, in 2005, they were reunited and Gwen got to know her granddaughter, Amber.

While Gwen could be a demanding boss, she was very supportive of her staff and loved spending convivial evenings, and occasional lunchtimes, with them in the BBC Club, doing their best to empty the bar of its stock of Gordon’s gin. Gwen loved her home and garden and always had a cat, the last of whom was called Biscuit.

Carol Churchill

 

Tom’s Midnight Garden

Copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These photos are from the serialisation of Tom’s Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce. I think this is from the three part adaptation which was transmitted in January 1974 on BBC 1.

The photographs were originally shared on the Pebble Mill Engineers Facebook group.

The following comment was left on the Pebble Mill Facebook page:

Tim Dann: ‘If memory serves me correctly…I was the Design assistant…Location was I think, ‘Abbotswood’ in the Cotswolds near Stowe on the Wold. It was used primarily for its wonderful gardens. With no interiors used. Make-Up assistant was Carol Churchill…(known at PM as Carol Ganniclifft)…& the Director was Dorothea Brooking…..Memory has now ‘crashed!’..I seem to remember there was a lot of messing about in boats!

All Memories Great and Small – part 7, Carol Churchill

Photo of All Creatures Great and Small set in Studio A, by Tim Savage. No reproduction without permission.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is the latest excerpt from “All Memories Great & Small” – by Oliver Crocker.

This time, it is the memories of Carol Churchill (née Ganniclifft) (Make-up Artist):

‘I’d joined the BBC in 1973. I had heard they were looking for make-up artists at Pebble Mill and I thought it sounded interesting so I applied and I got the job – though when I applied, I really had no idea what it was! My mother had a hairdressing salon, so I had that skill, because in television you needed to do both. They sent me to London for a course for three months and then I was up and running. I feel very sad for the girls today because it is so hard to get into it and they have to pay for their training now, which for the same course I did is about £9,000, so not everyone can afford it.’

60 cast and crew have shared their memories for this new book, which is available to preorder now from Miwk – http://bit.ly/2d7p5ts

Copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Richard Burn: ‘Great to see this set again, first programme I ever worked on in television. I did the pre-production sign design for Darrowby and packaging and signage for the Dispensary, I had never heard of set dressing before then.’

Andy Frizzell: ‘Ha! First studio drama I ever worked on. Bob Gell was TM1 (lighting director nowadays) the hands on the clock in the hall were held on with blue tack.’

Save

Save

All Memories Great and Small

all-memories-great-and-smallOliver Crocker’s  All Creatures book is now available to Pre-order.

BREAKING NEWS! NEW ALL CREATURES BOOK COMING SOON!

Released as part of the 100th birthday celebrations for James Herriot, a new book “All Memories Great & Small” is being released by Miwk Publishing as an ideal companion to the classic BBC series. Every episode is accompanied by exclusive memories, thanks to 60 new interviews with cast and crew.

THE REGULAR CAST

Christopher Timothy (James Herriot), Robert Hardy Esq, CBE, FSA (Siegfried Farnon), Peter Davison (Tristan Farnon), Carol Drinkwater (Helen Herriot), Andrea Gibb (Deirdre McEwan), Jean Heywood (Mrs Alton) and Ali Lewis (Rosie Herriot).

GUEST CAST

Peter Alexander (St. John), Lois Baxter (Margery Egerton), Paul Clayton (Brian Weeting), Fine Time Fontayne (George Forsyth/Joe Bentley), Gillian Hanna (Betty Sanders), Derek Hicks (Willie Bannister), Pete Ivatts (Mr. Blackburn/Tom Maxwell), Vivien Keene (Mary Trenholm), Ray Mangion (Franco Pedretti), Norman Mann (Richard Edmundson), Nicholas McArdle (Mr. Worley), Joanna McCallum (Lady Hulton), Elizabeth Millbank (Alice McTavish), Suzanne Neve (Joan Clifford), Jonathan Owen (Peter Gillard), David Quilter (Andrew Bruce), Pamela Salem (Zoe Bennett), Jessica Sewell (Mary Clarke), Madeline Smith (Angela Farmer/Anne Grantley), Amanda Waring (Elizabeth Rayner) and Susan Wooldridge (Daughter of Margaretta Scott).

PRODUCTION TEAM

Bob Blagden (Director), Sandy Byrne (Widow of Writer Johnny Byrne), Alex Christison (Film Sound), Carol Churchill (Make-up Designer), David Crozier (Designer), Nigel Curzon (Designer), Roger Davenport (Writer), Rowena Dean (Make-up Artist), Mike Duxbury (Film Editor), Paul Finch (Son of Writer Brian Finch), Graham Frake (Lighting Cameraman), Roderick Graham (Director), Joyce Hawkins (Costume Designer), Terry Hodgkinson (Writer), June Hudson (Costume Designer), David Hughes (Sound), William Humble (Writer), Brian Jones (Gaffer), Peter Loring (Film Cameraman), Richard Martin (Director), Christopher Penfold (Script Editor/Writer), Les Podraza (Scene Hand), Janice Rider (Costume Designer), Tony Redston (Production Associate), Michael Russell (Writer), Helen Scarsbrook (Wardrobe), Bill Sellars (Producer), Pip Short (Grip/AFM/Location Manager), Sam Snape (Writer), Maggie Thomas (Make-up Artist), David Tilley (Assistant Floor Manager), Tony Virgo (Director) and John Williams (Film Cameraman).

PRE-ORDER NOW http://bit.ly/2d7p5ts

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.’