We are BBC Birmingham – Nations and Regions

We are BBC Bham Nations and Regions We are BBC Bham, Eng Regions






















These pages are from a brochure called We are BBC Birmingham, which was issued to staff and others when BBC Birmingham moved from Pebble Mill to the Mailbox in 2004. An important part of BBC Birmingham was, and still is, as the headquarters of English Regions, which these screen grabs give details of. The English Regions controlled regional programming, local radio, and the websites associated with the local radio station areas – called, Where I Live, sites in 2004.

Thanks to Dharmesh Rajput for making these pages available.

How to Get on TV

How to get on TV















This press cutting from the Birmingham Evening Mail dates from July 31st 1998. It features two shows from BBC Birmingham – Cafe 21, and the Really Useful Show. Cafe 21, was an Asian youth series, which discussed issues affecting young British Asians. The Really Useful Show was a BBC1 Daytime consumer affairs series.

Thanks to Dharmesh Rajput for sharing the cutting.


Cafe 21

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Café 21 mug from series in 1998, courtesy of Dharmesh Rajput

Below is a excerpt from a briefing document about Café 21, which was used in providing press information

Café 21 has its first series running from mid-November 1997 to the end of January 1998, at 11.20 am on Saturday mornings, BBC 2. A part of the Asia 2 slot, which also includes Network East and Q Asia, the show heralded the arrival of young British Asians being able to talk about themselves on national television. A milestone in Asian programming.

Café 21’s ethos is to give young British Asians a voice. Across 9 shows last year, including a 1 hour special on Sexuality, the show became a talking point in its own right. Tackling issues like Asian identity, families and mixed race relationships head on, put the show on the map. Myths were exploded and stereotypes challenged, while the Café guests put paid to the, ‘corner-shops and curry’ image it could be argued still exists with regard to the British Asian population.

Café 21 balanced hard-hitting opinions and personal stories to create what could be described as a ‘chat-show soap’.

Series 2

Café 21 wants to continue in this spirit to find fascinating people for Series 2. Due to the success of the first series, the show will have a longer run and a higher profile slot. As well as maintaining the Saturday morning slot, the first airing of each week’s topic will now be late on Friday night on BBC 2.

This late night slot means that this series will be even more revealing, controversial and risky than the first.

We need to appeal to young Asians, between the ages of 16 and 29, to apply to be on the show. Potential contributors don’t need to be experts – we need real people with real life experiences, not accomplished television professionals. That is not what Café 21 is about.

We are particularly keen to ensure that all regional areas of the British Asian community are represented on the show this year. We need to hear from people outside of the Midlands and Greater London. We want varied accents and backgrounds on air to reflect that the Asian population is significant nationwide!

The new series will start on Friday 2nd October and will run for 11 weeks. During this series we will tackle such diverse topics as the question of whether Asians can laugh at themselves and Boypower, Taboos and Brothers – A girl’s best friend or her worst enemy?

We are conducting auditions now, and will be travelling around the country to meet with people.

Thanks to Dharmesh Rajput for this information.

(The mugs were used by guests on the show. The show was recorded in the Crush Bar cafe on the first floor outside Studio A).

It was alright in the 70s – Pebble Mill at One clip













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

There is a clip of a Pebble Mill at One programme from 1976, about 32 mins in, to this archive clip show It was alright int he 70s on Channel 4 recently.


The clip illustrates the casual sexism that was inherent in 1970s society, including television coverage. It features presenter Bob Langley, at the Spring Show at the NEC, surrounded by what he calls, ‘dolly birds’ – glamorous girls promoting various products at the Show. Bob is sitting rather higher up than the sometimes scantily clad lovelies, who include Miss World, promoting saucepans. It appears like a rather sexist set-up, but I’m sure it wouldn’t have been deliberately planned with that in mind – I suspect that it probably just seemed normal at the time. Jenny Eclair, watching with the benefit of hindsight, is suitably shocked! Definitely a product of its time.

Thanks to Dharmesh Rajput for pointing out the clip.

Here is a link to the same clip on YouTube.

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

Keith Brook: ‘I think I vision-mixed that programme!!’

Network Radio – We are BBC Birmingham

We are BBC Bham Network RadioCopyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission.

This grab is from a brochure called We are BBC Birmingham, which was given to all staff, and others, when Pebble Mill closed in 2004, and BBC Birmingham moved to the Mailbox.

It shows the diversity of Network Radio being produced at BBC Birmingham at the time, including radio drama and factual rural affairs series on Radio 4, and 30% of Radio 2’s output, as well as Asian Network and interactive services.

Thanks to Dharmesh Rajput for keeping the brochure safe for the last decade, and for sharing it.