John Endall RIP

John Endall on a PM@1 OB in the Cotswolds. Photo by Tim Savage, no reproduction without permission.

John Endall on a PM@1 OB in the Cotswolds. Photo by Tim Savage, no reproduction without permission.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m sorry to have to tell you that John Endall died on Saturday morning. He didn’t recover from his fall in the autumn of last year, despite having had a new hip replacement. His daughter, Penny told me that he had been in Kidderminster hospital for quite a while, for recuperation, but had developed various infections and also hadn’t really been given enough physio to avoid muscle wastage. The latter meant that he hadn’t the strength to attempt to walk towards the end.

I visited him in Redditch hospital a few weeks after his operation, and he seemed quite chipper at the time. I told him that only the previous day I had been walking near Rutland Water and had come across the pub in Whissendine where we used to stay whilst doing Gardeners’ World from Barnsdale. Needless to say many ‘fireside O.B. yarns’ were told after that!

John Kimberley

John worked at Alexandra Palace after the war and then Carpenter Road and later Pebble Mill. Known to many as ‘Biggles’, he had a good innings reaching 90 years and was active with swimming and sailing throughout his retirement.

Anne Gumbley-Williams

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

Tim Dann: Dear old John, God Bless…RIP….”Biggles” it said in the link above…I remember well entering the bar when it was on the second floor at PM…in a ‘Posse’ of Designers & Design assistants looking for mischief…. & John, leaning on the bar, giving it ‘rock all’ about the war & his time in ‘Fighters.’ & the Battle of Britain…..”Bloody hell!” cried one of our company rather uncharitably…”Not another one of the bloody ‘Few!!’….you buggers must have been eight to a Spitfire!”….John nearly swallowed his pipe, spilt his bitter down his front before collecting himself & raging at our raiding party about being lucky and what the ‘Few’ had sacrificed before stomping off in a haze of blue pipe smoke….No lasting damage done (save perhaps from the passive smoking of the era!)…just another example of the amazing relationship that we all had with each other during certainly my time at PM which was 73 – 79…….Off into the ‘wild blue yonder’ John…Give em hell!

Katie Cooper: ‘Such a lovely ‘wicked’ man…… Always a giggle…RIP’

Diane Reid: ‘He was the pilot for my first ever glider flight – he also taught me a thing or two about OBs – a real gent.’

25 Years of Gardeners’ World – 4 Aug 1994

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

This titles grab is from the 25th Anniversary edition of Gardeners’ World. The special programme went out on 4th August 1994. The programme was produced by Keith Hayley, and exec produced by John King. It was presented by Geoff Hamilton. This was during the ten year period where Gardeners’ World was made by the independent production company: Catalyst, but it looks like this show was made in-house by BBC Pebble Mill.

Here is the link to the Radio Times listing for the show: http://genome.ch.bbc.co.uk/69dd0c60a4194396bc6f549e1d26aa5f.

Thanks to Ian Collins for making the still available.

CM2 and CMCR40 at Chester Races

CMCR40 Chester Races 1985

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photos by Robin Stonestreet, no reproduction without permission.

The photo shows Pebble Mill’s small-ish outside broadcast truck, CM2, with the larger CMCR40 truck at Chester Races in 1985.

The OB trucks were scheduled all over the country, depending on where they were needed, they covered football matches, cricket, as well as working on factual shows like Gardeners’ World.

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

Dave Bushell: ‘Pretty sure we had CM2 out on Vanity Fair in 1987 and other dramas.’

Ray Lee: ‘The cameras were Philips LDK14’s with the Triax adaptor LDK514. From memory there were 3 cameras, but whether there was a spare as well I can’t now remember. The cameras had a short multicore cable (10metres or so) between the triax adaptor box and the camera, then the base station in the vehicle was a modified LDK5 base station which powered the camera and adaptor box down standard triax. (at that time CM1 was a type 5 with Philips LDK5 cameras which also used triax but all the way to the camera) The front area had 2 VPR2 1″ videotape machines. CM2 was thus a complete production and recording vehicle, which meant for programmes like Gardeners World, the could leave site with a complete edited programme, apart perhaps from some captions.’

Bryan Comley: ‘Gardeners World has a very simply caption generator, so we did leave site with a TX tape, and this was 30+ years ago!’

History of the BBC in Birmingham

photo by Ben Peissel, 2003, no reproduction without permission

photo by Ben Peissel, 2003, no reproduction without permission

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

History of the BBC in Birmingham

(taken from notes held at the BBC Archives in Caversham)

 

1922 Nov 15               British Broadcasting Company begins transmitting from rooms at the GEC Works at Witton. Managed by Percy Edgar and Pat Casey, it consisted of three room: one contained the transmitter, one was the office and the other was the 12x20ft studio.

1923 Dec 6                 The first ever Children’s Hour comes from Birmingham. Children’s circle established, proceeds of which were donated to West Midlands Children’s charities.

1924                            Witton premises too small. Moved to top storey of 105 New Street. One studio and a suite of offices.

1926                            New Street premises too small (and rat infested). Purpose built studios at 282 Broad Street acquired. Largest studio could accommodate a full orchestra and chorus.

1927 Jan 1                   British Broadcasting Company dissolved and the British Broadcasting Corporation constituted under Royal Charter.

1927                            Daventry ‘Experimental Transmitter’ replaces 5 IT at Witton.

1938                            First episode of Paul Temple attracts 7,000 fan letters.

1949                            Sutton Coldfield transmitter opens bringing television to the Midlands.

1951 Jan 1                  The Archers first appears on the Light Programme. Brookfield Farm was located in Studio 2 at Broad Street for 20 years.

1951                            BBC acquired the lease for Pebble Mill site.

1954                            Carpenter Road, Edgbaston became the new Broadcasting House.

1955 Dec 29                First Midland Region television studio opened at Gosta Green, Birmingham.

1956                            Gardening Club (now Gardeners’ World) began.

1957 Sept 30               First BBC Midlands TV News broadcast each weekday evening. 6.10-6.15.

1962                            Nightly TV magazine programme – Midlands at Six  

1962                            A model of proposed BBC Pebble Mill Broadcasting Centre was show to the press.

1964 Sept                    First episode of  Midlands Today presented by Barry Lankester and produced by Michael Hancock. News items were a football bribery trial, a new course on local government, Swedish sport and an item called ‘the body beautiful’.

1965                            Immigrants Unit set up by Patrick Beech to provide Hindu/Urdu programmes. BBC’s first bi-media department, making programmes for both radio and television.

1967                            First BBC Local Radio Station in Leicester.

1967                            Pebble Mill – first sod was cut by then Director General Sir Hugh Greene.

1970 Nov 7                 Pebble Mill began with Radio Birmingham, later became Radio WM.

1971                            HRH Princess Anne officially opens the new Pebble Mill studios.

1972-86                       Pebble Mill at One, presenters included Donny Macleod, Bob Langley, Ross King, Judi Spiers and Alan Titchmarsh.

1976                            Saturday Night at the Mill – live. All staged in either one of the studios or outside the front of Pebble Mill. The courtyard around the back was constructed into a mini ice-rink with a canopy area for if it rained when live bands were on.

1977                            The Horror of Fang Rock, only episode of Dr Who to be filmed here at The Mill. The set consisted of a lighthouse built in the studio, and it was the setting for a battle with an alien shape shifter. The story featured the one and only appearance in the series of a Rutan – seen in its natural state as an amorphous green blob with trailing tentacles. It was the fifteenth season of the series and the  Doctor at the time was Tom Baker. It was transmitted between 03/09/1977 and 24/09/1977.

1988 Oct                     Midlands Today became the first regional news programme to include a nightly sports section.

Small Town Gardens article

Garden Design Journal, Feb 2005

Garden Design Journal, Feb 2005

Garden Design Journal, Feb 2005

 

Copryright resides with the original holders, no reproduction without permission.

This article appeared in the Garden Design Journal in February 2005, and considers the question of whether television gardening has trivialised garden design. Bella D’Arcy argues ‘yes’, I argue ‘no’, and Matt James sits on the fence, with a ‘maybe’.

There was a spate of garden design related programmes in the late 1990s and early 2000s, led by Ground Force and HomeFront in the Garden. I was lucky enough to be the series producer of two series of Small Town Gardens, a design show which was a delight to work on!