Tom O’Connor Roadshow – Mark Kershaw & Jane Mclean

The Directors: Chris Wright, David Weir, Mark Kershaw

The Directors: Chris Wright, David Weir, Mark Kershaw

Nicky Savage, Jane Mclean, Tom O'Connor, Jo Dewar

Nicky Savage, Jane Mclean, Tom O’Connor, Jo Dewar






















Photos from Jane Mclean, no reproduction without permission.

(The following blog was written after a conversation with director, Mark Kershaw in Feb 2014)

The Tom O’Connor Roadshow was a live entertainment show transmitted from around the country early 1987, it went out daily around 12pm on BBC1. The show was based in a different town or city each week, including: Derby, Falkirk, Port Talbot, Blackpool (twice!), Portsmouth, Newcastle, Cambridge, Exeter, Bradford, Londonderry with Liverpool being the final week’s location.

The show was commissioned to plug a gap in entertainment programming after Pebble Mill (the lunchtime magazine show) was decommissioned in May 1986. There was a move to use underutilised resources, and it was felt that outside broadcast scanners were busy at weekends during the winter, with football and other sport, but were available during the week. Therefore a live entertainment show, like the Tom O’Connor Roadshow, ticked all the boxes.

It was important that all areas of the country were covered, hence shows coming from Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, as well as England. Two versions of the set had to be made, travelling round the country in different directions, with one set being erected as the other one was in use.

There were three multi-camera directors assigned to the show. Mark Kershaw did all the advance planning. There was a main director of the week, which was either Mark, David Weir or Chris Wright. One of the others was the support director for the week, whilst the third, planned ahead for the following week.

The series encountered a few issues along the way. A week in Aviemore was planned, but because of an electricians’ strike had to be relocated as a return visit to Blackpool. Inserts from Aviemore were included instead. The Londonderry week was eventful. ‘The Troubles’ were still very active. The final show on the Friday in Derry had to be stopped part way through because of a bomb scare at the venue. The show went to an filmed insert, and never came back on air, with Pres taking over the transmission!  UHF mics had to be hired in for the Cambridge shows, as the University complained that the Roadshow mics were using the same frequencies as the lecturers, meaning that instead of some erudite academic lecture,the sound of the Tom O’Connor Roadshow was coming through instead!

The series was expensive to make, although it was popular with the viewers. It was its high budget that meant that it wasn’t recommissioned.

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

Jane Green: I worked on this series. It was great fun. I thought being sent to the Port Talbot TOCRS was drawing the short straw, until the Fine Young Cannibals came out of their dressing room dressed as Welsh Dolls and Miners to sing She Drives Me crazy!

Call My Bluff 1996

Call My Bluff VB1











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

This is a production and presentation team photo of Call My Bluff from May 1996.

Included are: Ros Holness (Bob Holness’s daughter), Clara Hewitt, Jane Hudson, Veronica Butt, Caroline Marshall, Sue Williams, Richard Lewis, Helena Taylor, David Weir, as well as presenters Sandi Toksvig, Bob Holness, and Alan Coren.

Thanks to Ronnie Butt for sharing the photo.


Call My Bluff 1997

Call My Bluff 1997 VB












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

Thanks to Ronnie Butt for making the photo available.

The photo dates from 1997, and was probably taken at the end of the Call My Bluff series for BBC 1 Daytime.

Included left to right are:

(seated) Luisa Prosser, Helena Taylor (producer), Alan Coren (presenter), Ronnie Butt, Royston Horsley ?, Bob Holness (presenter), Dougie Parker (warm-up), Sandi Toksvig (presenter), David Weir (director)

(standing) Lizzie Compton, Sue McConkey/Williams (red jumper), Dave Walters (just to the right of Sue), Roger Sutton (vision mixer), poss John Cooke, Kirsten Jones (sound, in blue top behind Helena), poss Roger Guest, Gill Thompson, Di Lester (to the right of Bob Holness), Paul Woolston (camera, just after the ‘Bluff’ on the background), Dave Wilkins (camera, under the ‘U’ on the background), Toby Horwood (camera), Jane Taylor (holding Bluff card), Sue Russell (red shirt, black jacket), poss Pete Eggleston, Sue Johnson, Michelle Furey (next to last on right).

Pebble Mill at One Production Team











Photo from Maggy Whitehouse, no reproduction without permission.

The photo is of the ‘Pebble Mill at One’ production team.

Included are, left to right, back row: Magnus Magnusson, Norma Scott, David Lancaster, Josephine Buchan, Anne Varley, Bob Langley, Pat Langley, Steph Silk, Steve Weddle. Crouching: David Weir, Jane Clement, Viv Ellis, Marian Foster, Di Reid.  Front row: Jo Dewar, Beverleigh Wildman (now Thompson), Sue Ashcroft, Peta Newbold, Paul Coia.


Cool It













Photos and drawing from costume designer, Janice Rider, no reproduction without permission.  The main photo is of Phil Cool performing a Rolf Harris sketch.

‘Cool It’ was a 1985 comedy series, presented by Phil Cool.  It was directed in Studio A by David Weir, and produced at Pebble Mill by Steve Weddle.  The script was written by Phil Cool, along with Jasper Carrott.

The following comments were left on the Pebble Mill Facebook group about ‘Cool It’:

Stuart Gandy: ‘It was the programmes he made at Pebble Mill that brought him to stardom.’

Lynda Kettle: ‘I remember this! Phil Cool was so stressed out spent ages pulling faces in the mirror! Needed a stiff drink!’

Denny Hodge: ‘I did the warm up on the show and Phil had the same manager as Jasper. Steve Weddell was the producer.’

Jane Green: ‘Oh crumbs I worked on this too. Must dig out the end of run photos. I playfully ‘punched’ Phil in the tummy as we joked about something. He then said he’d just had a hernia op. I laughed louder thinking it was a joke and then he said it was true. And it was. :-/ I was alone in a sound room with Jasper Carrott for this programme too, and Jasper just didn’t stop cracking jokes. My sides hurt from laughing. Great fun this programme. Loved it. I remember Denny’s audience warm ups – hysterical!!!’

Julian Hitchock: ‘I remember that Steve was very keen to give Phil Cool this opportunity. Now I hear nothing of him, or Steve, who I hope is well,- and haven’t seen Jaspar C for ages. As Jane said, he was hysterical and very clever indeed. Please come back, all of you.’