Walking On My Hands – Fighting Back, excerpt

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(excerpt) from Walking On My Hands – Beth Porter Chapter 12, My Life in Comedy: Comedy in My Life

Fighting Back

“It wasn’t long after that that I was given the chance to train as a BBC TV Drama script editor, with a view to becoming a producer. I’ve already told you about the disastrous effect the gig had on my relationship with Kerry, but in career terms, it proved to be an amazing opportunity.

My first assignment was to take over on a mini-series starring rock star Hazel O’Connor called Fighting Back by Gareth Jones [who later became an ITV producer]. The previous script editor had departed back to London after a couple of years up in Birmingham away from her partner. In retrospect, I sure wasn’t paying attention to what similar fate might befall me.

But, having lost one script editor, Gareth was keen to keep me and we had some really excellent script conferences. My experiences with Barbara were proving invaluable in keeping an overview of the whole project, but I’d never before felt so intimately connected with a series of scripts which told a complete story over several episodes, and which had a major broadcaster’s commitment for production. I found Gareth dedicated, intelligent, and full of ideas that complemented my own. I tried to interfere as little as possible, making sure such elements as fact-checking were well under control, which were appreciated both by director Paul Seed and producer Chris Parr.

It was so interesting to return to Pebble Mill as part of a production rather than the actress I’d been some years before in The Deep Concern. For one thing, there’s a level of respect shared among a production team which is just not afforded to the actors, unless they’re starry names and that’s more out of irrational fear or awe. In any case I really liked it; it reminded me of the happiest stage experiences when everyone is working toward the same end.

As the BBC collectively knew, the more one spends making a success of a position, the greater the confidence. Soon I had no hesitation in having frank and open discussions with writers without scaring them off. I also learned that my own background, as varied within the industry, engendered a feeling from them of trust and a kind of camaraderie.

I’ve also talked about my part in helping to launch the Birmingham Film and Television Festival, getting to meet some industry professionals from spheres other than the Beeb. One particularly kind, knowledgeable and dedicated chap was Roger Shannon, whom I’m pleased to report I recently re-found on FaceBook. Together we gritted our teeth in the face of the provincial attitudes we met from various jobs-worths on the City Council.

I don’t know what it is, but, even though I’ve now called the UK home for nearly 50 years, the default position of the Brits when confronted by a challenge tends to be Let’s wait and see. Let’s write a report. Let’s figure how to get out of it. While Americans almost knock you over with their enthusiastic Can Do! I just wish they’d each borrow a bit from the other.

In any case, those Birmingham burghers, try as they might, couldn’t stop the Festival from being hailed as a huge success……….”

 

Thanks to the script editor of the drama, Beth Porter, for sharing this excerpt.

Beth Porter’s (long and amusing) autobiography Walking on my Hands, is available for a couple of pounds on Kindle, on the link below. Chapter 12 includes Beth’s adventures with the BBC.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Walking-My-Hands-responsibility-Streisand-ebook/dp/B01DUWNSRQ/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1460027101&sr=8-3&keywords=kindle+Beth+Porter

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Fighting Back – Radio Times

Copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission

Copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission

fighting-back-radio-times-1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fighting Back, was a 5 part drama on BBC1, transmitted in 1986, starring Hazel O’Connor, as Viv. It featured on the front of the Radio Times, as well as a feature inside.

Here is the entry from the Radio Times, from the BBC Genome project:

“Fighting Back by GARETH JONES
The first of a five-part serial based on an idea by VICTORIA HINE
Viv Sharpe hurtles down the motorway, kids in tow, towards the Bristol she used to call home. Not only has
Bristol changed, but Viv finds no one wants to know her and there’s nowhere to go. Is this the start of Viv the vagrant? Or can she keep fighting back?
Incidental music PAUL JONES, Script editor BETH PORTER, Lighting DICK BENTLEY, Designer ROB HINDS, Producer CHRIS PARR, Director PAUL SEED. BBC Pebble Mill”

http://genome.ch.bbc.co.uk/d3665caef0db4a94a441b93945661e10

Thanks to Beth Porter, who was the script editor, for sharing the stills.

Beth Porter’s (long and amusing) autobiography Walking on my Hands, is available for a couple of pounds on Kindle, on the link below. Chapter 12 includes Beth’s adventures with the BBC.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Walking-My-Hands-responsibility-Streisand-ebook/dp/B01DUWNSRQ/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1460027101&sr=8-3&keywords=kindle+Beth+Porter

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

Jane Green: ‘This was the first thing I ever worked on – as a work experience floor assistant with Gareth Williams I think. I had to look after Hazel. Can’t print what she did here !!! But goodness me. What memories. Feb 1986.’

John Greening: ‘I was assistant floor manager…’

Susan Astle: ‘I was the make up designer on it, goodness so long ago! And before Derek Thompson became so famous!’

Les Podraza: ‘I think the filming was in Bristol for a month. I was on the crew. Fab times!!!’

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Radio WM Area 5 Sign

Area 5 sign Tony Wadsworth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo from Tony Wadsworth, no reproduction without permission.

Area 5, was one of the studios used by Radio WM. The sign dates from after the 1999 studio refit.

Thanks to Tony Wadsworth for sharing this photo, and to Gareth Jones for adding the date.

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

Pete Simpkin: ‘Certainly were not there in my day although the ban was in force without the signs….l left in 1988. Wish they had been there as it would have avoided an altercation l had with the late Lord Lichfield who l had to stop from lighting up just before we began a live interview. I had to explain that if he did begin smoking l would have to delay the interview and play music whilst l asked higher authority to come to the studio to help me enforce the no smoking ban which was already in operation. The interview turned out to be of less duration than planned with short, terse answers and his Lordship getting up and noisily leaving the studio whilst l was attempting to go through the usual courtesy of thanking him for coming in to talk about his book of lovely photographs!’

Shalom Salaam publicity photos

Shalom Salaam 1 JR Shalom Salaam 2 JR Shalom Salaam JR Shalom Salaam 6 JR

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

These publicity photos are from the 1989, 5 part, Pebble Mill drama series, Shalom Salaam. The drama tells the interconnected stories of a Jewish and a Muslim family, and their children’s interracial romance.

The director and script writer was Gareth Jones, with Chris Parr the producer.

The series starred Zia Mohyeddin, Charlotte Cornwell, John Cater, Buki Armstron, Mamta Kaash.

Thanks to costume designer, Janice Rider for sharing the photos.

The following common was posted by Janice Rider on the Pebble Mill Facebook Page: ‘Ayub Khan Din – top right behind Zia Moyeddhin went on to write East is East and Jimmi Harkishin ( top next to Ayub ) is of course a regular in Corrie.’

 

 

 

Shalom Salaam TX Card

Shalom Salaam TX Card

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

Thanks to costume designer, Janice Rider, for sharing this transmission card for the Pebble Mill drama series, Shalom Salaam.

The five part series was transmitted between 26th April – 24th May 1989. The story followed the lives of a Jewish and a Muslim family in Leicester, and a mixed race relationship, over the course of five years.

Gareth Jones wrote the script and directed the drama, with Chris Parr the producer.

The series starred Zia Mohyeddin as Sadiq Sattar; Charlotte Cornwell as Sarah Morris; John Cater as Joe Astler; Buki Armstrong as Candy; and Mamta Kaash as Mumtaz Sattar; Toby Rolt as Adam Morris; and Clare Holman as Jackie.