Heads of Pebble Mill

There were six heads of Pebble Mill during the building’s lifetime, although some were Heads of Network TV, rather than Head of Building. Their tenure seems to get progressively shorter. This information was taken from the BBC Written Archives in Caversham. They were:

Phil Sidey – 1972-82 Head of Building

David Waine – 1983-1992 Head of Building

Rod Natkiel – 1992-1998 Head of Network Television

Kate Marsh – 1998-2001

Paresh Solanki – 2001-2002

Tessa Finch – 2002- end of Pebble Mill

Phil Sidey (right). Copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission

Phil Sidey (right). Copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission

David Waine. Copyright resides with the original holder no reproduction without permission

David Waine. Copyright resides with the original holder no reproduction without permission

Rod Natkiel. Copyright resides with the original holder

Rod Natkiel. Copyright resides with the original holder

Paresh Solanki. Copyright resides with the original holder

Paresh Solanki. Copyright resides with the original holder

Kate Marsh. Copyright resides with the original holder

Kate Marsh. Copyright resides with the original holder

Tessa Finch. Copyright resides with the original holder

Tessa Finch. Copyright resides with the original holder

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Lynne Cullimore: “My favourite is – Phil Sidey who put Pebble Mill on the map! and I liked David Waine who was a very nice man.”

Jane Upston: “I was there during David Waine’s tenure and part of Rod Natkiel’s. I worked in HR (was Jane Morgan then). The people I remember most though were Colin Adams and Jock Gallagher.”

Chris Marshall: “Agreed, David Waine was great to work for. Is that really Rod Natkiel? As for Kate Marsh…”

Carolyn Davies: “David Waine was one of the best ‘heads of’ anything I have ever met. Once you’d met him he always remembered your name and what you did and made a big effort to see those on the shop floor…..”

Dharmesh Rajput: “Wow – I thought there would be more… I started working in TV just end of 1998 whilst still working in radio and having done some work experience in Press & Publicity with Donald Steel’s team – so I remember Rod Natkiel from having to take press cuttings to his office. And then I was in TV and Online till the move to The Mailbox.”

Jane Ward: “Agree with Carolyn… David Waine was a great People Person…”

Viv Ellis: “I agree David Waine rocked. Lovely boss”

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Tony Inchley’s Retirement Photo

David Wayne, Tony Inchley's official retirement party PdW

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

The photo features, left to right: David Waine, Head of Building; Tony Inchley, Radio WM Manager; Pat De Whalley, Radio WM presenter. It was taken on the occasion of Tony’s retirement presentation.

Thanks to Pat De Whalley for sharing the photo.

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

Eric Smith: ‘Worked at Radio Stoke when Tony was News Editor there in 1979.
I remember a potteries union leader coming in and asking to see Tony, who was on holiday at the time.
He wouldn’t speak to any body else and came back with the story for our exclusive use when Tony returned.’

Tim Beech: ‘Tony gave me my first BBC job at WM in 1989. At the time the station was under threat of closure because of poor audience figures, but under Tony’s management the numbers were transformed. A quarter of a century on I’m a station manager myself and if I’m even half as good as Tony was I’d be completely thrilled. I learned so much and there probably wouldn’t have been a radio station post 1991 without him. I owe him a great deal and so does everyone who’s worked at WM since.’

Gregory M Hallsworth: ‘I think that must have been about 1995. LR could do with more radio people like Tony in charge these days!’

Maurice Blisson: ‘I worked with Tony at Radio Stoke and Radio WM. Great man.’

Jane McLean: ‘I still have my autograph book! And cut glass whisky glasses engraved with my name and dates of employment. All that’s missing is RIP. They’ve NEVER been out of the box!’

Donald Steel: ‘Tony Inchley was just brilliant and he was really great at telling you when he liked something you had done. And if you popped into his office to see him at the right time you got a gin and tonic.’

Jane Upston: ‘Maiden name Jane Morgan. I worked in the ‘Personnel’ Dept from 1984 to 1992. I left after maternity leave and I think Tony Inchley was still there then. I remember David Waine, Colin Adams, Jenny Brewer, Dawn Robertson and many others in the Network TV Department.’

Roland Allen: ‘My late Sister, Marion Allen was Senior Personnel Manager for the Midlands’ Local Radio stations and News around that time…’

Janet Bacon: ‘Worked with Marion Allen and then David Robey. Brilliant times at Pebble Mill, Tony’

Vicky King: ‘I was there 1987 to 1995 with Jane Morgan and Marion Allen – I remember Tony well – what great times we had at Pebble Mill’

 

1984 Spring and Summer line-up

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

This page from the 1984 Pebble Mill News, includes an article about David Waine’s press briefing about Pebble Mill’s output: 500 hours of network TV, 1,000 hours of network radio, and 160 hours of regional television. Highlights include a new Saturday night light entertainment show, new series of Top GearKick Start and Top Sailing, as well as Now Get Out of That, Gardeners’ World, Asian Magazine, and Gharbar. On the drama front there is mention of The Groundling and the Kite, Phoebe, The Amazing Miss Estelle, and Morte d’Arthur. 

Network Radio was also busy, with a new Radio 4 series of Enterprise, and Rollercoaster,  as well as hosting a Schools Radio Festival hosted by Sue Lawley, Rolf Harris and Duncan Goodhew.

In regional television there were new series of, Midlands Sound and Midlands Tonight, and a television version of Malcolm Stent’s Radio WM series, In the Barmaid’s Arms.

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

Peter Poole: ‘I worked on The Barmaid’s Arms in Studio A. They had a good band called The Nightriders. This was before producer choice. After that regional TV could never afford Studio A.’

Pete Simpkin: ‘As producer of the Radio version of the Barmaids it was quite pleasant to be a member of the audience with the real beer and not have to worry about anything! I do remember that someone had crafted a tiny hole in the chest of Malc’s shirt to take the cable for his personal mic.’

Lynn Cullimore: ‘Yes, Peter it was Mike Sheridan and the Nightriders…I was the PA and I loved it. Malc was wonderful to work with and i did many programmes with him. Malcolm is still going too..doing shows and things. Mary someone or other did a brilliant set for it…cannot remember her other name but she was very good.’

Peter Poole: ‘Hi Lynn, it was great when regional TV could do shows like this. Do you remember who the producer was? Malcolm often did warm up for PM at One. He always did a great job entertaining the audience.’

Lynn Cullimore: ‘The Producer was John Clarke whom I worked with for a long time. I did many Studio A programmes at one time – do you remember The Garden Game?’

Stuart Gandy: ‘I do remember The Garden Game. Wasn’t it on during the Friday night opt slot? In those days regional programmes had two opt slots per week.’

Peter Poole: ‘I remember John he was great producer and a very nice man. It’s amazing the programmes produced on such small budgets. I didn’t work on The Garden Game but do remember it. One of the many panel shows in Studio A. I always enjoyed working on regional TV programmes. The production teams were lovely people.’

Harry Greene (1923-2013)

Pattie Coldwell, Harry Greene, Gilly Love, Rick Ball

Pattie Coldwell, Harry Greene, Gilly Love, Rick Ball

 

 

 

 

 

Steph Silk & Andy Meikle - On The House

Steph Silk & Andy Meikle – On The House

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

The On The House publicity shot includes Harry Greene on the left, Pattie Coldwell above with the wallpaper, Rick Ball with the tape measure and Gilly Love with the drill.

Harry Greene died in March 2013 after collapsing at home. He was in his ninetieth year.

Harry Greene is best known as one of the presenters of On The House, the popular late 1980s DIY television series. Harry made DIY popular and accessible. He began with a career in theatre and television as an actor, and was married to actress, Marjie, with whom he had three children. He wasn’t in fact called ‘Harry Greene’, until he changed his name by deed poll in 1950, from Henry Howard Greenhouse.

Harry was always keen on DIY, but became the first TV DIY presenter in the 1980s when he made a series for Greg Dyke at TV-AM, about the renovation of a neglected house. TV-AM bought the house for the series, and filmed the whole conversion. The completed house was given away in a competition.

Presenting on Pebble Mill’s On The House, was a natural extension for Harry. On The House was the brainchild of Andy Meikle, with Stephanie Silk the programme editor given the task of turning the idea into a successful returning series on BBC 2. The On The House, house was a timber framed building situated in the back garden of BBC Pebble Mill. The house operated as a TV studio, and demonstration area for the series, and you had to remember that there was no plumbing in the house!

For more information about Harry Greene see his son in law, Mike Smith’s blog: http://mikesmithinlondon.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/harry-greene.html?spref=tw. Mike is married to Harry’s daughter, TV presenter Sarah Greene, who presented Pebble Mill’s Good Morning Summer, although she’s probably best known as a Blue Peter presenter.

I worked as a researcher on the last series of On The House in 1989, and enjoyed working with Harry. I remember he kept changing his mind about the size of screws he wanted, and as I’d bought what he’d originally asked for, we didn’t have the right size on location!

Vanessa

The following comment was posted on the Pebble Mill Facebook group:

Julian Hitchcock: ‘What a nice man. The screw size anecdote rings true.
I worked on the first series in, I think, 1986. I’d proposed a DIY series to David Waine, on the basis of the then explosion in DIY shares following the Thatcher reforms and boom in home ownership. David told me that Andy Meikle wanted to do the same thing and that a budget had been scraped together. Stephanie Silk joined to keep order and give the programme glossy lifestyle values etc. Andy was, however, very much the engine of invention. I just gave it its name (prize: one bottle of champagne) and directed gripping items on the installation of damp courses, latest trend in door mats and hammers (leading to the slogan, “On the House, the only programme with hammer glamour).

My recollection is that Andy revered Harry Greene because of an ancient connection with the previous icon of television DIY, Barry Bucknell. Incredibly, Bucknell’s heyday was in the 1950s. There had been nothing in between at all, so we had the satisfaction of breaking new ground, but I think Andy wanted to show the baton being passed on. Our first programme, as I recollect, looked back to Barry Bucknell. We found old footage of Barry boxing in a beautiful spindle staircase (planing off the rounded edges the better to support his streamlined hardboard) and various others acts of vandalism. I’m not sure that Harry quite got the joke (surely Barry had done a good, professional job?) but he was a lovely chap. I also credit Andy, Steph and BBC Birmingham in giving the job to someone of Harry’s age and, frankly, inexperience. He had great warmth, which viewers plainly appreciated.’

Retirees Lunch – photo from Stephen Davies

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

BBC Pebble Mill would hold annual lunches for retired staff, like this one being hosted by David Waine, Head of Building (extreme left).  The man on the right looking at David is Les Barlow, who used to work in Maintenance.

The photo dates from 1989, and was taken in Radio Studio 1.

Thanks to Stephen Davies for making the photo available.

Please add a comment if you can identify and of the retirees.