Howards’ Way – John Williams

John shooting on Howards'Way

John shooting on Howards’ Way. Copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission

John filming on the crane

John filming on the crane. Copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission

 

John filming whilst sailing

John filming whilst sailing. Copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission

Cast and crew on Howards' Way

Cast and crew of Howards’ Way. Copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Below is an excerpt from cameraman, John Williams’ memoirs, Shoot First: No Ordinary Life. The Book is A4, 216 pages full colour, 96,500 words; it is being sold at cost £14, plus postage or can be collected.

If you would like a copy please contact John on

john@willbriar.myzen.co

“Howards’ Way was a very popular series, so much so that one entrepreneurial chap ran boat trips from Southampton water up the Hamble to come and see us when we were in action at Burseldon. This was lovely but we would have to stop filming because the noise of the boats engine chugging towards us drove our sound recordists mad, we would look up to see hundreds of smiling faces all leaning over the side of the boat waving. This we called the ‘Howards’ Way Wave’, there wasn’t much we could do except to wave back and smile and stop for coffee. All through this series people were very friendly and support came from everywhere, not only the sailing fraternity. Stately homes like Waddesdon manor near Aylesbury and the beautiful Somerley house just north of Southampton, home of Lord Normanton and his family, threw open their doors as ideal make believe residences for some of the well heeled members of the cast. Even Cowes, with its famous Royal yacht Club, gave us time during their great events so I can only imagine we didn’t get it too badly wrong.

I loved every bit of the sailing possibly because I had gone from a twelve foot dinghy to finding myself on and off beautiful thirty plus foot yachts, I was in my element. The drama part of Howard’s Way was pure soap opera but the sailing was very real and came accompanied by excitement and its associated dangers. I have from a very early age a healthy respect for water, and especially the sea, my father having been to sea in his younger days. Knowing Bob Fisher from Top Sailing helped, he knew me and knew that I could sail and although we had a great unit and cast, few if any, had done any real sailing. I think a couple of days’ course was all they had, no wonder we had a few mishaps like throwing parts of lighting equipment overboard or people making innocent mistakes by trying to walk on the water. All survived but costume and makeup were not impressed nor I with the lights for that matter although, much to everyone’s surprise, once they had dried out they did work again. The lights that is, I’m not so sure about the artists!

It wasn’t only sailing yachts we used, large motor cruisers were often part of the scene. I thoroughly enjoyed all of it, Southampton was my second home on and off for five months of the year and, rather than go into the production hotel where I knew we would never get any peace, I plus my camera assistants David, Ian Churchill, Sue Cane or whoever was working with me at the time, would book into bedsits we had found for a more comfortable life.

The only down side to this was when a certain member was on the crew! Each evening after filming and after we had got safely back to our rooms, normally between seven and eight, he would insist on taking us to “The Duke Of Wellington” a pub around the corner. This had a sign outside and paintings on the walls inside of a gentleman that looked remarkably like one of our gaffer sparks, Arthur Haywood. He was dressed in the 1827 army uniform of a British General and we would comment on the likeness. There were two choices with an evening like this, suffer a lock-in at the pub and continue drinking after hours and paying the penalty of a hangover in the morning, or leave on the stroke of ten, the one that David and I used to try for, and go to the nearest Indian restaurant for a large curry and be prepared to suffer the consequences.

Thinking back I wonder that I am still here to tell these tales but perhaps outings like this made my constitution strong. That must be the answer, perhaps I should be grateful!!

Sue Cane a camera assistant often worked with me, not once complaining, unlike some of the others. One episode just before we were due to be filming in Malta, not the night shoot, David my operator fell ill and was replaced by Patti Musicaro, an assistant from BBC Ealing. It was all done at the last minute so we had not worked together before and, apart from Jimmy Monks my grip, I arrived much to everyone’s surprise with an all girl crew. It was a hectic shoot and all went well, but I do remember disappearing off most nights with Jimmy for a quiet drink in a local bar, only when we had finished filming did Patti tell me she had never operated on a drama before. Last I heard of her was, after being a very successful photographer, she was running her own Polygraph company and operates all over the world. Sue is still busy.

I enjoyed the experience of shooting “Howards’ Way” as did the millions of viewers that watched every Sunday night but it was not without its own tragedy. Maurice Colbourne, our leading actor, collapsed and died in France over one weekend. We had been filming in Burseldon on the Friday expecting him back on the Monday, I was told of his death when I arrived on the set on Sunday. Everyone was in shock but this was a genuine case where the show must go on and on it went. We carried on filming with the writers rewriting scripts but it was not the same. Finally London made the decision we would finish the series, but it would not be renewed.”

John Williams

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Telecine on Howards’ Way

Howards Way 1 Howards Way 3 Howards Way 4 Howards Way 5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These photos are of telecine notes from Howards’ Way from 1989. The location scenes of Howards’ Way were shot on film in and around Southampton, and then played in to the studio shoots via telecine. The notes show the ins and outs of the different takes, as well as the film roll numbers. The notes have been kept safe and beautifully wrapped by Jim Gregory for the past twenty five years.

Jim Gregory describes Telecine

Jim Gregory talks about telecine from pebblemill on Vimeo.

Specially recorded video of Jim Gregory describing the operation of telecine, both in terms of studio dramas, and the broadcasting of film in the 1960s-80s.

This film was recorded as part of Royal Holloway’s ADAPT project, led by John Ellis. The project is staging various ‘reconstructions’ of former television production stages and equipment. In this element, Pebble Mill’s Jim Gregory was introduced to his Television Centre counterpart, Tim Emblem-English, at BBC Post Production’s Ruislip centre, which still houses an operational Rank Cintel Mark 3 telecine. Jim is seen grading a piece of 1965 black and white footage of Birmingham, on the control desk.

Dave Schoolden & Jim Gregory 1976 in TK

Dave Schoolden & Jim Gregory 1976 in TK

 

Howards’ Way 30 years anniversary

Howard's Way MH

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Howards Way behind the scenes grab

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission. Thanks to Les Podraza for making the cast and crew photo available.


(This iPlayer link is to an item by South Today about the making of Howards’ Way)

The end of 1st September 2015 marked the 30 years anniversary of Howards’ Way, the sailing drama series, which was likened to a British version of the US drama Dallas.

The series was hosted at Pebble Mill, and recorded on location in Southampton, with some of the interiors being recorded in Studio A.

Here is the Radio Times synopsis for the first episode, courtesy of the BBC Genome project:

“A serial in 13 parts devised by GERARD GLAISTER and ALLAN PRIOR
Episode 1 written by JILL HYEM
‘I’m sorry, Jan … It may be selfish, but I intend to spend the rest of my working life doing something I want to do.’
Title music
SIMON MAY and LESLIE OSBORNE Film cameraman JOHN KENWAY Designer MYLES LANG
Script editor JOHN BRASON Director PENNANT ROBERTS Producer GERARD GLAISTER”

http://genome.ch.bbc.co.uk/14bd8b49c7524441b9e9a278e19e74d7

Thanks to Paul Burton for pointing out the anniversary, and the South Today piece.

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

Dawn Trotman: ‘I think it is John Kenway yet it was John Willey who shot the first and second series.. I edited the first series with Nigel Pardoe-Matthews and the second on location with Sharon Pemberton and Lynne Hawkins..great fun.. We always knew it would be successful..It was our Dallas..’

Maggie Humphries: ‘Not John Kenway,, it’s Jimmy Monks, Grips who worked on the series.’

Lesley Weaver: ‘Maggie Humphries is right, it is the lovely freelance grip Jimmy Monks near left of camera and far right is David Evans a lovely freelance Camera operator. Can’t really work out who’s behind camera. I worked on the second series so I ought to remember. In the clip I remember Tony ‘O’ sparks from Lee North and Susie Peck is the designer talking about the costumes, lots of others I remember too.’

Pebble Mill Props Cages

10269346_10152452206602139_1156570742662719721_nPhoto by Karen Bond, no reproduction without permission.

This photo shows some of the props cages at Pebble Mill, together with a man in a very bright florescent vest! Props cages tended to be stored either in the basement of the building, or near the scene dock on the ground floor. They had wheels on the base, and so could be wheeled around easily. They were mostly used for dramas, although the studio and make-over shows also used them. I remember sometimes the cages weren’t where you’d left them, because they had been wheeled away by someone, which was rather disconcerting!

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

Steve Johnson: ‘I remember these. I used to work in the News Library next to the newsroom so was often in the basement looking for tapes or film reels.’

Andy Walters: ‘There are still a couple of props cages in the Horsefair car park. They still have the names of the last home makeover shows they were used for scribbled on the side in chalk.’

Marie Phillips: ‘Lovely House Services comandeered several each October for storing my Children In Need merchandise in the cabin loaned for free every year. Also – one Appeal Night me and Gyn Freeman got stuck in a lift behind one and had to keep going up and down until there was someone to rescue us. If you know Gyn and I you will know how funny that was !!’

Carol Churchill: ‘I remember the Props parties, well when l say remember that may be stretching the truth!’

Scott Holdsworth: ‘There were loads of these throughout the basement. I remember when Can’t Cook Won’t Cook finished and all the brand new pans were stored there for years. When there was a clear out I ended up with a kitchen full of lovely new utensils.’

Andy Bentley: ‘Props was great for fun when on nights, when we were in the old Security office at the back of the building we got a head from props. We put the head on a long pole and put it up to the edit suite window above the office. I reckon they could hear Trudy [Offer] and Ingrid [Wagner]’s screams in town. It looks more like Mervin in the photo.

Ruth Kiosses: ‘Best memories of the Props/costume store best known as Smelly (Oak). The Props Lads as they were affectionately known were real characters, especially Jacko who gave himself a wonderful long title which meant props lad. They had a tea room furnished in old Howards’ Way set so the drawers were dummies but it looked swish. I remember a lot of practical jokes after shooting a sex shop scene for a ‘murder mystery’? Series (title eludes me) although I remember costumes really well, lead lady in full Burberry check trousers etc, fabulous purple suede suit! Anyway the props as you can imagine were inflated and used for all sorts of interesting decorations!!!’

Teresa Fuller: ‘Was only privileged to visit Pebble Mill once, on an induction day. But when I worked at The Mailbox, we had storage cages over at the multi storey car park (the one with local rats and the fear of having a friendly local resident chucking something from the adjacent tower block as you walked back from your hire car drop-off)! Anyway, we used the cages to store props for To Buy or Not to Buy and one day a colleague and I had the pleasure of cleaning a cage out that was covered in mouse droppings. Nice.’

Andy Bentley: ‘There was also the skeleton propped up against a door in the basement so when Ted went on patrol and opened the door it fell out on him. Again I reckon the screams could be heard in town.’