Dave Pick wins Radio Club prize

Pebble Mill News 1984

Pebble Mill News 1984

 

Copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission.

This cutting is from the Pebble Mill News, March 1984. This was the internal staff newspaper.

The article tells how Dave Pick, an OB Maintenance Engineer at Pebble Mill, won a short-wave radio competition, by contacting more short-wave radio stations than any other competitor. He did all this from the 2nd floor of Pebble Mill.

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

Roy Thompson: ‘I think it was a popular past time for many engineers, John Endall I think was one. At Wood Norton there was a radio shack which was popular with trainee engineers and operators.’

Malcolm Hickman: ‘There were quite a few Radio Amateurs at Pebble Mill. Dave is still about.’

Thomas Graal: ‘We shortwave fans were well served back in the day….unlike now.’

David Ackrill: ‘Many organisations had Amateur Radio groups as part of their sports and social groups. I belonged to the MEB Radio Club (G6MEB and G4MEB) on Mucklow Hill, Halesowen. I became friends with Giles Herbert when he moved to Birmingham and lived just down the road from each other for a while. I worked the Children In Need special event station and still have a QSL card for the contact somewhere.’

Dave Pick: ‘Yes we had a radio room in what used to be the 2nd floor club’s bottle store. We had access to the roof for aerials (not so much health and safety then!). Who remembers that geodesic dome they tried to use for programmes up there? I still hold the G2BBC call sign. Radio club had quite a few members including Maurice Darkin, John Endall, Simon Evans, Frank Stevens, Malcolm Hickman and loads more.’

Jim Lee: ‘I remember having a few plays on G2BBC in the 90s with Dave and Giles in that store. I remember going up on to the roof as well – probably with Dave – where there was a Cobwebb and the top of a sloping 160m dipole.’

Brian Empringham: ‘Hi Jim, don’t know about Pebble Mill, but there were some hams at Bush – including the late George Eason – who worked out of some sort of shack on the roof.’

 

Look! Hear! Toyah Willcox & Duran Duran

 

Copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission.

These grabs are from the Pebble Mill regional youth entertainment programme, ‘Look! Hear!’.  The programme was presented by Toyah Willcox, and regularly hosted performances by well known bands, like Duran, Duran.

Thanks to Ian Collins for making them available.

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

Stuart Gandy: ‘Yes I certainly remember working on this show with Duran Duran in it. It was I suppose unusual for a regional opt out programme to have such a big production as this. Each show would have 3 bands on at least and they always as far as I can remember played live, unlike TOTP where they usually didn’t. One of the first programmes I worked on in 1980 when I joined as a TA in opps, this was exciting stuff to get to see all these bands live.’

David Ackrill: ‘Don’t remember the actual show, but would have watched Toyah and Duran Duran on Look! Hear! if Mum and Dad had let me (until I left home and got married and no time to myself at the time). Strange to think a queen of punk would end up doing voice overs for the children’s program called Brum !’

Kenny Ball plays Saturday Night at the Mill

Copyright resides with the original holder

In 1977 Kenny Ball and his band were the house band for the entertainment show from Pebble Mill, ‘Saturday Night at the Mill’. The show was a spin off from ‘Pebble Mill at One’. Here is the title track of the band’s 1977 album, which was also the show’s title music.

Thanks to David Ackrill for sharing the link.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo of Donny MacLeod and the Kenny Ball band by John Burkill, no reproduction without permission.

The following comments were added on the Pebble Mill Facebook Group:

David Crozier: ‘I was the designer on a number of these shows. I remember them as being huge fun and with a very real sense of being live. It was working on Sarurday Night at The Mill which gave me the first yearnings for becoming a live programme, multi-camera TV director, which I later became. Great times!

Stuart Gandy: ‘It certainly was a fun programme to work on and like so many programmes we did, put Birmingham on the broadcasting map, something it sadly no longer seems to be.’

Julian Hitchcock: ‘I was Floor Assistant / AFM on any number if these and recall it all vividly. As David says, “great fun”.’

Kevin Lakin: ‘I remember Bruce Forsyth taking a very dim view of trays of beer being bought down from the bar on the 2nd floor during rehearsals . . . . pillock’

Janice Rider: ‘I earned the nickname Strobe Rider from Rob Hinds after the Hollywood movie star Joseph Cotten threatened to walk off the programme if he couldn’t wear his very inappropriate black & white dogtooth jacket which flared dreadfully during his interview !’

Julian Hitchcock: ‘Now this is interesting. I remember going on the studio directors’ course and wanting, in my final project piece, to show a scene in a cinema (it was an adaptation if Graham Greene’s short story, “A Place off the Edgware Road”. Cinemas are, of course, dark. However, the technical manager was adamant that if the scene was dark, no one would be able to see anything,- as if this could not possibly have been intended. I pathetically agreed, with the consequence that the cinema was entirely visible. On this basis, what would be wrong with a person appearing with a “strobing” jacket? When, having left TV, I found myself having to be interviewed in the foyer, I deliberately put on a check jacket because I wanted to strobe…’

Jane Mclean: ‘I did autocue. Maggie Walne (Kidger) was PA. Yes, a beautifully alcoholic programme to work on. And afterwards we always went to The Strathallan on Hagley Rd to wind down. Remember Roy Norton directing the early morning traffic! He directed with Roy Ronnie (I think I’m right).’

Julian Hitchcock: ‘I can never remember Roy Ronnie directing, but it’s possible. They were each great fun in different ways. Norton was wonderfully nervy. I well recall him ordering us ( the floor crew) to “make them laugh”. And thereon hangs another tail.’

Kevin Lakin: ‘Does anyone remember the ” The James Last Orchestra ” fiasco . . . the 50 piece Orchestra were going to be performing in the courtyard, then at 7 o clock we were told they would coming into the foyer, at 7.30 the whole Orchestra went back outside, and that’s when the two Roys went and hid on the 5th floor.’

Julian Hitchcock: ‘I do! Better with hindsight than at the time. I was the guy who had to tell Herr Last. I think this was one if the things that lead to the building of the quadrangle roof.’

Carol Churchill: ‘Oh l loved working on it , l remember making Kate Bush up on her first TV appearance .’

Tim Dann: ‘I did twelve of these beauties!!…& it certainly was off to the Srathallan afterwards!!…tho I don’t remember ‘winding down!!!’…The milkman beat me home every time!!!!…After the ‘credits’ Roy Norton the director, who was always in a state of high excitement…used to leap to his feet sending his chair crashing into the gallery window & screamed “Take me Pres, take me Pres!!!”….I can only imagine ‘Presentations’ enjoyment & envy of what fun we, in the Midlands were having!!…Designed the ‘Kate Bush’ prog too…which morphed into ‘Dave Brubeck’ & then we took the set to Glasgow for an ‘Andy Williams Special.’…. Thwarted tho by Production A’s/managers/managers industrial action!!…Roy Ronnie produced & Roy Norton directed them all.’

Kevin Lakin: ‘Andy Williams was cursed then, I worked on an Andy Williams Special from Warwick University which was thwarted by the Musicians Union, all the orchestra walked out 2hrs before the show started, and fair play to Andy Williams he did the whole show to just a piano accompaniment, it was recorded, but never went out. I think the two Roys were behind it, Mary Spencer was the Designer.’

Parachute jump on Pebble Mill at One

Photos by Chris Harris, no reproduction without permission.

The parachutists over Pebble Mill, must have been a John Smith special for ‘Pebble Mill at One’.  Today, I don’t suppose you’d  be able to do such a potentially dangerous item, Health and Safety, wouldn’t allow it.

Floor manager Eurwyn Jones remembers the ill-fated parachutist jump well, “I was with Marian Foster when the paras came down, some landed in the trees, in gardens, one just missed a bus and one came crashing down on the concrete by the security hut, we heard his bones crunch as he hit the ground.”

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

Julian Hitchcock: ‘Dear John Smith. He was brilliant at getting military stuff on the programme. It was all rather brash, but it didn’t matter at all because it was such fun. Except for the bone crunching parachutist, of course. Mention of health and safety puts me in mind of an escapologist we had on Saturday Night at the Mill programme, called Malik. He was suspended, in a straightjacket, from a flaming rope supported by a crane located in the quadrangle. A week or so later, he killed himself doing the same trick (somewhere else).’

David Ackrill: ‘I guess that it was incidents like this that ushered in the Health & Safety requirements…’

Julian Hitchcock: ‘Indeed. Floor managers had the most basic health and safety training; essentially concerning the use of weapons. There was a common sense approach, but floor managers, most of whom were looking to move up the career ladder, were easily cowed into submission. H&S legislation didn’t need the BBC to come into existence, but incidents such as that on Noel Edmonds programme lead to changes. That incident failed to surprise me: the degree of sycophancy surrounding Noel and his ilk was both nauseating and intimidating.’

Children in Need Staff List




 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright resides with the original holder.

The document is a staff list from the 1999 regional opt team for the Children in Need evening show.

Note that the presenters included Michael Ball, alongside Midlands Today presenters: Nick Owen and Nina Nannar.

Thanks to Harvey Pope for making the list available.

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

Matthew Sly: ‘I was Pudsey Bear that year, we did the majority of it from Nat West in the Town Centre.
I was approached to be Pudsey when I worked in the Post room, and obviously was honoured, I remember that night very well indeed.

I remember how torturous the suit was, it had a fan in the head, but you couldn’t use it. I remember meeting a lot of Children while they were Auditioning for a Martine McCutcheon Video and almost passing out near the end.

I also remember H, Pete, Matt Wall and Matt Evans laughing their heads off when I first put the thing on:)’

Marie Phillips: ‘Matthew – whilst I was Co-ordinator we had strictest instructions that the suit should not be worn for more than twenty minutes at a time – a ten minute break with the head off and so on. You were lucky you didn’t suffer any ill effects. My long serving Pudsey was Charlotte Mayberry (spelling?) who did a brilliant job.’

Matthew Sly: ‘Very true Marie, I was also given the same instructions I must admit, I think I was just a bit of a wimp, the ladies that looked after me were absolutely lovely, to my shame I can’t remember their names anymore.

They also sent me a lovely letter after the night and I’ve also lost that, such a shame, it would have been my pride and joy.’

David Ackrill: ‘A friend of mine (Giles Herbert) who was an Engineer at Pebble Mill helped to organize the CiN special event station using the BBC Amateur Radio Club station located in the Pebble Mill building one year and I have a “QSL” card for a CW (Morse code) contact with the station on 144MHz somewhere in my files.’