Geoffrey Green

1974 Midlands Today screen grab

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a 1974 BBC1 screen-grab of one of the original Midlands Today journalists Geoffrey Green – reporting on how transplant surgeons removed a Birmingham man’s kidney not realising he was still alive. Green, who was from Coventry, did his first BBC broadcast on radio in 1950. He died in 2003. Thanks to Andrew Hewkin for sharing this.

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

Colin Pierpoint: ‘I remember Geoffrey, we occasionally had a chat in the corridor, and I am sure I worked with him editing his radio 4, and earlier Midland Home Service reports at Pebble Mill and Broad Street. A nice man. Never self important, but a friendly colleague with a laugh and a smile. I remember him laughing at the funny notice in the PM lift about one of our managers. I also came across him on the end of the line with a COOBE doing football reports. Always cooperative. In Broad Street Control Room we used to ring down the line to see if anyone had arrived, and every time Geoffery Green had just put the headphones on, we heard “You rotten bastards!” come down the music line. But always in a light hearted way, and we would all have a laugh about it.’

Pete Smith (former Midlands Today cameraman): ‘Worked with him many times.. a proper gent, lovely man.’

Wendy Edwards: ‘Gronker! Legend of the Newsroom.’

David Lowe: ‘“Hello Flower” was always the greeting I got from him.’

Conal O’Donnell: ‘Geoffrey “Gronker” Green was a great character and a thoroughly professional journalist. He earned his nickname “Gronker” doing live two ways into both radio and tv programmes when he’d ask the producer “how long do you want me to gronk on about this” If it was 45secs that is what you got -neither more nor less. During the 60s & 70s Geoffrey used to vie for airtime with Peter Colbourne over the polonged death throes of BMC/British Leyland/ BL/Rover in all its various guises.I do not recall the kidney story but Geoff turned out high quality accurate material for decade after decade. His live commentary of the RAF helicopter delicately putting in place the metal spire atop Coventry Cathedral was to me especially memorable.Geoffrey was a portly chap who never took himself too seriously. During one hilarious medieval battle re-enactment piece for Midlands Today he could be seen huffing and puffing across “the field of battle” every inch a modern re-incarnation of Shakespeare’s Falstaff. Geoff joined a Coventry news agency as soon as he left school, acting as a runner during the infamous blitz of 1940. I met Geoff occasionally for a drink at the Durham Ox, Shrewly, after his retirement.

Chris Phipps

Chris Phipps trails Look! Hear!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chris Phipps died suddenly on Friday 23rd August, 2019. Chris was a reporter on BBC Birmingham/ Radio WM and co-presented on Look!Hear! with Toyah Willcox in the 1980s, before becoming a presenter on The Tube.

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

Conal O’Donnell: ‘Chris was a wonderful erudite popular culture man who could literally turn his hand to anything.I have very fond memories of him at Pebble Mill in the late 70s.The kind of colleague who made one proud to work for the Beeb.’

Kate Boston Williams: ‘Chris was my first colleague when I made the move to Newcastle in 1998. He remained a loyal friend. He had an encyclopaedic knowledge on all things musical and his anecdotes were legendary. I’ll miss our meetings at the Tyneside cinema, his wit and kindness.’

Michael Fisher: ‘Chris was a great colleague at Pebble Mill who gave me an interest in the Black Country and encouraged my occasional forays into the world of music.’

Photo from Janice Rider, no reproduction without permission

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Janice Rider: ‘It was only a short while ago in Sept 2017 , that I met up with Chris again after many years , when he gave a talk at Birmingham City Uni about his career & books he had written.’

Mick Murphy: ‘Thank you for tickets to see The Heavy Metal Kids at the Odeon New Street, in the 70s. My ears are still ringing, but it was a musical turning point for me. So sorry you’ve left the stage.’

Janice Rider: ‘A wonderful memory Mick . I have one too when Chris took me for a surprise lunch and it turned out to be with David Essex ! I was so overwhelmed I just sat transfixed & hardly ate a thing !!’

Pete Simpkin: ‘Worked a lot with Chris at BBC Birmingham and Radio WM and eventually took over his post at Wolverhampton in the late 80s.’

Stuart Roper and Gyn Freeman, Radio WM

Photo by Rod Fawcett, no reproduction without permission

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Radio WM presenter, Stuart Roper, with fellow presenter, Gyn Freeman in the background. This was on a live outside broadcast in Guernsey.

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

Andrew Thorman: ‘The only OB I remember was Chemsleywood …! We were pelted with rubbish and so a fence was erected around us. I think the presenter was Ken Dudney.’

Heather Dale: ‘Gyn presented very much with Stuart and she replaced Viv Ellis who left in the early 80’s. When Stuart left, Gyn continued on her own for a number of years being produced by either Sue Kelly or Soo Welch (can’t exactly remember who). Gyn herself left in 1988 but continued at PM concentrating on Children in Need in regional television. She now lives in France with her husband Paul and she is an artist.’

Conal O’Donnell: ‘I should imagine, but don’t know for sure, there was some new Birmingham to Channel Islands air route opening up which wanted the publicity that WM might provide. Freebies were welcome!! Gyn & Stuart co-presented so its likely there was a separate producer.

John Taynton at the Birmingham Superprix

Photos by Rod Fawcett, no reproduction without permission

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The photos show Radio WM presenter, John Taynton at the Birmingham Superprix circa 1986. The top photo is of John with his production team, and he is interviewing Councillor, John Charlton, in the second.

Thanks to Rod Fawcett for sharing the photos.

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

Lynne Smith: ‘I think the woman on the right is Jane Stanton.’

Conal O’Donnell: ‘Yes its Jane alright-the guy in the blue with glasses is Steve Woodhall.The super prix had such bad luck especially with the weather but it was an exciting time for the city nonethgeless.I was pleased to meet one of its great supporters Martin Hone at Ed Doolan’s funeral earlier this month.’

Gordon Astley: ‘I think the other two are Steve? and Catherine? I’m just aiming for half marks here !!’

Sheila Brown RIP

Sheila Brown sadly died on 14th April 2015, at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham. Sheila started work as a secretary in Personnel, and then later in the Press Office and PR department, organising visitor tours of Pebble Mill.

Sheila is shown in the right of this photograph, which was taken at the Friday Night at the Mill party in 2004. The party which marked the closing of the Pebble Mill building, prior to its demolition in 2005.

Clara Hewitt, Janet Collins, Margaret Barton, Sheila Brown

Clara Hewitt, Janet Collins, Margaret Barton, Sheila Brown. Photo by Ruth Barretto, no reproduction without permission

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Andy Bentley: ‘Remember Shiela well, she received an MBE if I remember right. Lovely Lady.’

Malcolm Hickman: ‘We used to take parties around the Mill, including parties of staff newly arrived at Bush House. Sheila used to organise the catering and for some inexplicable reason, there was always one or two bottles of red wine left over. A very sweet lady and an accomplished ballroom dancer in her younger days.’

Jane Ward: ‘Wasn’t she a keen ballroom dancer?’

Conal O’Donnell: ‘I remember Sheila very well- quite mischievous on her way & always good fun .I am sorry to learn of her passing.’

Julian Hitchcock: ‘What a lovely, funny soul she was: her very memory brings a warm smile to all who knew her. I do hope she enjoyed her later years.’

Tim Manning: ‘I’m so sorry to hear the news about Sheila; she was – as others have said – a lovely lady, and someone who cared deeply about Pebble Mill. And yes, Jane Ward, she was a very keen and skilled ballroom dancer; when I was directing a film for The Golden Oldie Picture Show, she loaned me all her trophies and lots of memorabilia.’

Marie Phillips: ‘Sheila was very kind to me when CIN was regarded as something of a misfit in the Press Office. Very very efficient. A well deserved MBE.’

Andy Caddick: ‘We used to have long chats on the No1 bus on the way to Pebble Mill. So sad, lovely lady.’