Alan Miller 1951-2021

Countryfile team with Press Office. Photo from Tim Manning, no reproduction without permission. Alan Miller is fourth from the left, next to John Craven.

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

Alan Miller died on 16th March 2021. He was 69. Alan worked on a whole range of factual shows at Pebble Mill, but particularly Top Gear GTi and Countryfile. I worked with him on a couple of films when I was a researcher on Gardeners’ World in 1991. He was originally a sound recordist who then moved into directing. He will be remembered as a kind, funny and generous man, who taught a lot of us an awful lot. (Vanessa Jackson)

Annette Martin: ‘I first met Alan when I was on attachment to Glasgow as a Vision Mixer and he was in the Sound Dept. He was a generous and friendly colleague and even lent me his tent so I could enjoy the wonderful Scottish countryside. Then we met up again at PM and worked on many programmes together. He was a pleasure to work with and I’m so sad he’s passed on.’

Columbo Street: ‘This is so so sad. Alan’s generosity with his knowledge and experience was the bedrock of my (& many others) early tv life. Such happy memories as a new researcher of filming with Alan and John Craven – from every corner of the UK to Oz, Mauritius and the US … The TV industry in the Midlands and beyond is richer for being lucky enough to have Alan Miller as a part of it.’

Julie Mason: ‘This is very sad news. I worked with Alan a lot, shooting various things but Top Gear Gti in particular. We shared a lot of laughs. Went up and down the M6 – he drove like a lunatic – working with a small, bijou team who shot the items for the UK Horizons spin off. Fun times.’

Jim Knights: ‘Such sad news on the passing of a friend and colleague. Always a pleasure to be his cameraman on shoots. And most importantly always ensured a 1 hour lunch break, excluding travel. Good and generous guy. The likes of which we will never see again.’

David Waine 1944-2021- obituary from Jerry Johns

David Waine in 2017

David Waine, who has died at the age of 76, had a career with the BBC spanning 30 years ending as Head of Broadcasting at BBC Pebble Mill in Birmingham.

After leaving school in 1960 he joined the Newbury Weekly News as a trainee reporter where he remained for five years including a spell as Sports Editor at the age of 18. He left in 1964 to become a freelance reporter covering Reading and South Berkshire for BBC South in Southampton as well as regularly contributing to the Radio 4 Today programme and The World At One, where he was known as ‘Waine of Newbury’. Later he joined the BBC in Bristol as a trainee television journalist. Attachments to Plymouth and BBC Southampton followed. The latter post included a memorable encounter with the Duke and Duchess of Windsor aboard the Queen Mary when he persuaded the reluctant Duke to take part in a three minute interview.

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Cameraman, John Williams remembers John Kenyon

John Kenyon

Really sorry to hear of John’s death. He was one of the youngest Exec Producers in the BBC and ran the half-hour Sunday farming programmes 52 weeks of the year. He had a very small staff just two directors, I think 3 Pas, plus two well respected farming presenters, John Cherrington, later his son Dan, and David Richardson. Later, he was joined by Ken Pollock.

It was specifically aimed at farmers and took a look at food production across Britain and Europe including the Common Market. One crew a week would be allocated, which took us around the country and it opened my eyes to the wonders of food production from the abattoir, to growing watercress and our Christmas dinner, be that turkey or goose!

Later on in my career I would often talk with him about broadening the programme, but it never happened although in my mind his programme was the forerunner of the now very successful Countryfile programme that goes out Sunday nights.

John regularly gave me the chance to direct, by offering attachments; one I remember especially was on Dutch-Elm disease, a disease that has devastated the country of these fine trees. He was a good friend.

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

Andrew Thorman: ‘I never knew him but would like to think that those of us who followed in his path were walking a well trodden way.’

Midlands News 1992

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This page from the internal newspaper, Midlands News from 1992, shows what a vibrant place Pebble Mill was at this time, with both radio and television programmes winning all kinds of accolades, and even the restaurant winning an award for healthy food! Jeremy Clarkson is looking very youthful in the top right-hand corner, but down at the bottom the photographs for Countryfile‘s day out and Sarah Rowlands and Mark Decker’s digital editing session seem to have been swapped over – oops!

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John Craven on Countryfile

copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission

copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are a couple of screen grabs of John Craven presenting on Countryfile.
Thanks to Ian Collins for making the stills available.

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

Jo Moore: ‘I’ve got half an idea that I was the AP on this item…I think it was an Alan miller shoot – possibly when we were doing something about water/ irrigation etc.
I still see John from time to time and like most people who’ve been lucky enough to work with him – he taught me SO MUCH about all things tv. A total gentleman, generous of spirit and warm beyond measure. Some of my happiest telly times.’

Alan Miller: ‘It rings a bell with me too but I cannot be sure I was the director or merely compiled the programme it was in. That’s the trouble, I made so many films with John that I have lost track.’

Andrea Buffery: ‘The bath scene was for a compilation programme directed by Joanna Brame starring Bob the duck!?! and my old snorkel’

Dawn Trotman: ‘The compilation had Charlotte Smith’s bog snorkelling piece in it I think? The train pix was I think from the scenic train journey items we did just before we left Pebble Mill. John always pulled the whistle! A true legend and one of the nicest men in telly.’

Kulwant Sidhu: ‘I directed JC on a steam train thread for CF on several occasions…that screen grab looks like Severn Valley…but could be mistaken. Great man, great raconteur.’

Roy Thompson: ‘Such a great guy, really helped and guided me during an attachment to Countryfile.’

 

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