Reg Perrin

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Pot Black titles grab, copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission


Come Dancing, copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission



















Director and producer, Reg Perrin died last Saturday 11th June 2016, aged 90.

The information about him below is from Jim Dumighan:

“He lived in Eastbourne for some years, having moved there from Nottinghamshire, where he settled after retiring from Pebble Mill. He celebrated his 90th birthday on 24th May with a family gathering.

Having started in radio in his native London, Reg moved into television and joined BBC Midlands in the 1950s. He worked closely with Barrie Edgar and Phil Lewis, and for many years acted as studio director of Come Dancing. One of the first series he directed from Gosta Green was Keep Fit with Eileen Fowler.

In 1970 Reg replaced Phil Lewis as producer of Pot Black. He later produced Jazz at the Mill, the first music special to come out of Pebble Mill in 1973.”




CMCR9 Reconstruction – Broadcast Magazine

Broadcast magazine May 2016

Broadcast magazine May 2016

In the middle of May 2016, there was a reconstruction of the operation of the 1969 outside broadcast truck, CMCR9, which was Pebble Mill’s original CM1, and later became Manchester’s North 1. The truck was neglected for many years, but is in the process of being restored by enthusiast Steve Harris.

The reconstruction brought together retired crew who used to work on the truck in the 1970s, and resulted in the recording of a darts match! CMCR9 used to broadcast a lot of sports programmes, like Match of the Day, but would also have recorded Come Dancing, Gardeners’ World, as well as dramas.

The reconstruction was organised by Royal Holloway, University of London, and their ADAPT research project, which is recording now defunct pieces of historical television broadcasting equipment being used by the people who worked on them.

The occasion was marked by this article in the industry trade magazine – Broadcast.

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

Stephen Neal: ‘Chap in the red sweater is Roger Neal, my dad. He worked for OBs in London when CMCR9 was based there. I appear to be continuing the family tradition of working for Auntie…’

Annie Gumbley-Williams: ‘I worked in CM1. Happy days, Gardeners’ World and others’

Roger Neal: ‘I also worked on a range of small units as well, several of them called Lo21, Lo22, and Lo23. One of the LO21s is currently residing in Brian Summers front garden I believe.’

Phil Lewis

The creator of Pot Black, Phil Lewis has sadly died recently. He was a long serving television producer in BBC’s Midland Region, and later became Head of Events in London. Phil began his career on cameras at Alexandra Palace and Lime Grove. He produced a wide range of programmes, both in the studio and on outside broadcasts, including Come Dancing, and Miss World. Together with colleagues like Barrie Edgar and John McGonagle, Phil helped make BBC Birmingham into a prolific production centre and outside broadcast hub. He will perhaps be best known for creating the television snooker tournament, Pot Black, in 1969, which helped the BBC in the switchover to colour. He moved to London in 1970.

There will be a private family cremation, and a memorial service in September in Gerrards Cross.

(Thanks to Annie Gumbley-Williams and Jim Dumighan for supplying this information)

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

Julian Hitchcock: I remember several Christmas holiday sessions in Studio A working on Pot Black. Phil had a particular, very inclusive, rather old world warmth that endeared himself to all who worked on the show.

Tom Coyne RIP

copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission

Midlands Today presenters, 1977. Copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission














Former Midlands Today presenter, Tom Coyne (back row, right, in the photo), sadly died over the 2015 Easter weekend, in the Wolverhampton Nursing Home, aged 84.

Tom joined the Midlands Today team when the show started in 1964, at its Broad Street studios, before the building of Pebble Mill. He presented over 4,000 editions of the regional news magazine programme by the time he left the series in 1980. This video is of Tom’s last appearance on Midlands Today, in October 2014:

Tom Coyne also presented on Pebble Mill at One in the 1970s, as well as Songs of Praise, Come Dancing, and was even one of the founding presenters on  Top Gear, with Angela Rippon in 1977.

Tom also appeared in the Radio 4 drama series, The Archers, for three years, as a Geordie gamekeeper called Gordon Armstrong.

An obituary for Tom Coyne is on the ATV Today website:

Ron Cottrell – 1929-2014


Geoff Gough Big Band

Geoff Gough Big Band

Ron and Diane Cottrell

Ron and Diane Cottrell






















Photo copyright resides with the original holders, no reproduction without permission.

Ron Cottrell died a few weeks ago, in September 2014. His wife, Diane, wanted to make sure that colleagues from Pebble Mill knew about his death.

Ron was a musician, a drummer, with various bands, and he had a long association with the BBC. In fact he was in the orchestra for the original Come Dancing, the forerunner of Strictly, which was broadcast from Penns Hall, and presented by Katie Boyle.

As a young man with the Sonny Rose Orchestra, he broadcast from the old BBC Broad Street studios in Birmingham. The older members took him to the pub opposite, across a busy road and he was horrified that they’d left it so late to go back to the studio and they just made it with a minute to spare.

Again with Sonny at Penns Hall, Sutton Coldfield, Ron backed a young Morecambe and Wise. Ernie was very excited about their forthcoming television debut which sadly bombed, before they found success with their second attempt.

Diane and Ron met in 1966 at the newly-opened and highly glamorous Savoy Hotel Birmingham: Diane’s first and lasting impression was of a beautiful white pleated dress shirt, immaculate evening dress and a smiling face. He played with Maurice Udluff’s band who alternated with Harry Engleman’s band. One night he played all night because the Harry Engleman band got into a bitter argument during a card game in their interval and the drummer stormed off leaving Harry high and dry.

On another occasion he recalled a cold, dismal room with the band assembled to rehearse with Tommy Cooper. When Tommy suddenly entered they all collapsed into fits of laughter – which apparently was the usual response when Tommy walked into a room – and one which Tommy always failed to understand.

In 1972 Ron moved into perhaps the happiest and most fulfilling period of his musical career when he joined the Geoff Gough Big Band. The music was demanding and exciting and the band was full of characters.

Diane Cottrell would like to hear people’s memories of working with Ron, so please add a comment here, if you knew Ron.

(Thanks to Diane and to, Diane and Ron’s son, Simon, for sharing their photographs and memories).