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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David Rudkin talking about the origins of Artemis 81

Origins of Artemis 81 from pebblemill on Vimeo.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Specially recorded interview with writer David Rudkin talking about how the drama ‘Artemis 81’ came about. ‘Artemis 81’ was transmitted in 1981, when producer David Rose still headed up the English Regions Drama Department. The drama was a three hour epic about the battle of good and evil, starring Hywell Bennett and Sting. Alastair Reid was the director, Dawn Robertson the associate producer, Jenny Brewer the PA, Roger Gregory the script editor, Ian Churchill the camera operator, Bob Jacobs and William Hartley were the production managers, and Mick Murphy was the AFM.

Gardening Neighbours – Becky Land

Ali Ward pictured with Adam Pascoe, from ‘Gardener of the Year’

‘Gardening Neighbours’ was the first of a series of shows where a street got together to redesign their gardens and a common piece of land. Presented by the wonderful Ali Ward and Diarmuid Gavin the idea was that they would work on their gardens from designs by the experts. Even today I have used some of their tips in my own garden, so they were really useful. It was set in a leafy part of Sheffield, the exact part I cannot remember but it was lovely and on one of the city’s many hills. It was an small cul-de-sac of late Victorian/ Edwardian villas populated by a range of people from large mature families to retired couples and young marrieds. There were lots of very small babies and toddlers about through the months we were there, which was useful for me as I was heavily pregnant at the time ( I am sure the digging helped for a smooth birth ). As for the placenta incident…. The couple had decided to ‘plant’ the placenta under a special tree, despite warnings by Ali and Diarmuid that the intense nutrients would fry the poor plant. I was on sound and as the couple asked for some privacy we filmed from afar. Which was a good job as I was still suffering for severe ‘morning sickness’.. yes even at seven and eight months… My one overriding memory is the quelch and flopping sound it made as it was poured into the hole from the plastic bowl it had defrosted in…

Becky Land

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

Nicola Silk: ‘I was the director, Rachel Innes-Lumsden (Rachel Adamson now) produced, Nigel Walk and Ann Banks were APs, Becky (what was your surname back then – I’m sure it wasn’t Land!) researched, Chris Hardman was the PA, Ian Churchill (cam) and Ross Neasham (sound) were the crew across the whole series, Roger Casstles was the exec and James Hey cut it. I might have left out a few people…but it was 14 years ago! It was my first series director gig and I’ve got very happy memories of weekends spent in Kenbourne Grove, Netheredge over the summer of ’98.  The sound of the placenta sloshing out of its tupperware into the ground will stay with me too!’

Becky Land: ‘Wow Nicola my memory is not that good, Kenbourne Grove, Netheredge….. I do remember trying to find metal planters that were “three foot by three foot by three foot”. I was Lloyd back then, even though I was married and was close to having first baby. Hubby finally flipped when we watched an episode go out in the maternity ward the day before I gave birth. My name came up as in the credit as Becky Lloyd and he demanded I changed it!! He’s never insisted on much, poor dab. Do you have photos?’

Space Station Milton Keynes – photos by Willoughby Gullachsen

Photographs by Willoughby Gullachsen, no reproduction without permission

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photos by Willoughby Gullachsen, no reproduction without permission.

‘Space Station Milton Keynes’ was a Screen Two drama written and directed by Leslie Stewart.  It went out in 1985.  Colin Rogers was the producer, John Williams the DOP, and Steve Saunderson cameraman.

The drama tells the story of a young girl fostered in a magical city.  It starred Penny Murray, Patricia Garwood, Peter Jonfield, Judy Gridley, Gian Sammarco, Nigel Baguley, and Robert Walker.

The first photo shows (l to r) Ian McNulty (grips), Leslie Stewart (writer/director), Steve Saunderson (camera), Colin Rogers (producer), John Williams (DOP).  The second tracking shot photo, shows Leslie Stewart and Colin Rogers running, and Steve Saunderson on camera. The final photo includes John Cole (sound), Steve Saunderson (camera), with John Williams (DOP) foreground left, with probably Leslie Stewart and Colin Rogers (producer).

 

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Asian Programmes Unit – ‘New Life’

These photos are probably by Willoughby Gullachsen, and have been given by Maggie Humphries from Film Unit.  No reproduction of the photos without permission.

BBC Pebble Mill was home of the BBC’s multicultural programmes.

The photos show a location shoot for the Asian magazine strand: ‘New Life’. They date from the 1980s, when the inserts were still shot on film.  The sound recordist shown is Alex Christison, and cameraman Steve Saunderson, the camera assistant Ian Churchill, and the PA Jayne Savage.  Standing on the stairs in the tie is the director/producer, Waseem Mahmood. The programme was a documentary on the first Asian model, Safira.  Nigel Pardoe-Matthews was the film editor.

The documentary was an occasional 30min special as part of the New Life strand. Waseem made three in the six years that he was at Pebble Mill: “Safira” about the model, a film about Asian Ballerina Nicola Katrak and a special where Marion Foster interviewed Ravi Shankar… the latter got a prime time slot on BBC2.

‘New Life’ from 1981 was called ‘Asian Magazine ‘- this must have been when Ashok Rampal took over as Executive Producer.

Please add a comment if you can identify other people in the stills, or can add more information.

 

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