Tom O’Connor Roadshow – Port Talbot

Photos by Raymond Lee, no reproduction without permission






















The top photo is of SCV6 (possibly with Roger Guest operating), on the OB for the Tom O’Connor Roadshow in Port Talbot in March 1987. CM1 was also needed on the OB, because of the sound requirements. The lunchtime entertainment show toured the country with an OB unit, broadcasting a week’s worth of shows from each location. Unfortunately, although popular, it proved too expensive in the long term.

The lower photo includes soundman Tim Green on the left, and Mark Botfield with the blond hair, Kenton Allen in the demin jacket.

These photos were originally shared on the Pebble Mill Engineers’ Facebook group.

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

Raymond Lee: ‘SCV6 was an articulated trailer, of a similar length to to the Type 5 CM1. It had an SSL Desk, some specially shaped LS5/8s and a 24 track Otari Multitrack tape machine. It also had 2 or 3 1/4″ tape machines, a cart machine, and record deck. It was quite tight for space which is why the jackfields used Bantam Jacks, unfortunately, they proved fairly unreliable in O.B. conditions.’

Ray Sperry

I have received news that Ray Sperry, one of Pebble Mill’s vision crew, has died. Ray started working for the BBC in Birmingham back in the Gosta Green / Broad Street days and during the Pebble Mill period; working both on O.B.s and in the studios.  He rose to become Vision Supervisor on CM1 and CM2, and like everyone else in OBs, lost his job when Outside Broadcasts in the Midlands closed down, in 1992.

A much loved member of the crew, Ray was always convivial, professional and knowledgeable.

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

Robin Sunderland: ‘Ray was a lovely man’

Andy Frizzell: ‘I Remember Ray, as Robin says, lovely man, always a pleasant and knowledgable man. People like him are a breed that’s getting thinner on the ground in the TV industry and we’ll be all the poorer for it. ‘

Malcolm Hickman: ‘As Andy says, Ray was a great bloke. Very helpful when you were trying to put a rig in on OBs. Another good bloke gone.’


Outside Broadcast Culture – Adapt Project

This video is part of Royal Holloway, University of London’s ‘Adapt’ project, which organises and records reconstructions of heritage television production practices with the historic equipment. The project is led by Professor John Ellis.

In May 2016 the project arranged a the reconstruction of an outside broadcast, using the restored OB truck, CMCR9, which was Pebble Mill’s original CM1, later becoming Manchester’s North 3.

In this video the veteran BBC crew from the reconstruction discuss the culture of outside broadcasts in the 1960s and 70s. The crew is I think a predominantly BBC Manchester one.

This video is protected through a Creative Commons licence.

Veteran CMCR9 crew











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

Richard Stevenson: ‘Jane Whitmore is sat next to the first guy speaking. A BBC Sport PA whom I worked with on everything from cricket to bobsleigh. Dave Taylor, legendary camera supervisor from Manchester is to her right. Robin Sutherland to his right – ex KA camera sup. Roger Neale, KA Vision Sup (“Twink”) in the blue jumper under the camera by the dart board. Doug Whittaker (?) at 4’35” – ex KA sound sup.’

Dave Rimmington: ‘Geoff Wilson is the guy speaking next to Jane (ex BBC Manchester Director).’


CMCR9 on display at Shrewsbury Steam Fair 27-28 Aug 2017

CMCR9, in the 1970s, with rigger driver, Ron Lane. Copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission












Jerry Clegg has sent through the information below about the outside broadcast truck, CMCR9 being on display this bank holiday weekend:

“The heritage scanner North 3/CMCR9 will be at large again next weekend and on show at the Shrewsbury Steam Fair, Onslow Park, Shrewsbury. North 3 will be resplendent with its freshly renewed logos following a gradual wrinkling problem with the previous gold letters.

You can see details of the show using the following link :-

Do be aware that the show takes place on Sunday 27th and Bank Holiday Monday 28th August, so don’t turn up on the Saturday or you might get roped in to rigging the gazebo or the EMI 2001!

As always, we will be very pleased to meet up with any of you who can make it to Onslow Park. This is one of the best of its kind and a really good day out for everyone.”


Lining up cameras

This video demonstrates how the line-up for studio and outside broadcast cameras worked. It was produced as part of Royal Holloway, University of London’s, ADAPT project, using the restored outside broadcast truck CMCR9, Pebble Mill’s original CM1. The ADAPT project recreates how now defunct television production processes worked, and is run by Professor John Ellis. The video is protected under a creative commons licence.





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

John Greening: ‘Still have a line up before every studio day on EastEnders’

Carolyn Davies: ‘Still done in many studios…certainly not a ‘was’ process!’