Tom O’Connor Roadshow – Steve Weddle

Steve Weddle sporting a pith helmet. Photo Jane Mclean

Steve Weddle sporting a pith helmet. Photo Jane Mclean












The Tom O’Connor Roadshow – which was probably the most fun show to work on – ever – attracted amazingly good ratings in what had previously been the Pebble Mill At One slot, often peaking at over three million up against strong opposition on ITV. However, it began to prove very costly, as this tv circus travelled from town to town, week after week, so it was decided that the planned live shows from Aviemore, would be cancelled in favour of an extra week from Blackpool, although there were, rather bizarrely, pre-recorded inserts from the Scottish ski resort played into the second week in Blackpool. How do I remember this rather arcane fact? – I was Series Producer of this series; responsible for reinventing it after a rather sedate Down Your Way type pilot had been made by a different team. And I enjoyed doing this series so much I can still remember the precise transmission order of the various locations across the UK. How sad is that?! Suffice to say, it started in Derby and finished in Tom’s home town of Liverpool.

Heidi Wright & Steve Weddle. Photo Jane Mclean

Heidi Wright & Steve Weddle. Photo Jane Mclean












So an occasional glass of Blue Nun might have passed our lips after a hard day decorating Roadshow Cones, the quiz consolation prize, if my memory serves me well. Sadly, even if we had all signed the pledge it wouldn’t have saved it from getting the chop after only one really successful series. We should have done Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday live and then recorded Thursday and Friday on Monday and Tuesday afternoons, as we did in the later years of Pebble Mill Mark Two. That would have almost halved costs and made it viable again – although the quiz would have needed to be re-formatted. Classic telly!!! Why can I remember all this, when I can’t even remember what I did last week?!

Steve Weddle

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

Jane Clement: ‘It was only costly because of the amount everybody drank! I was in charge of setting the quiz questions for the series so I travelled around with a suitcase full of reference books – no internet back then. Great fun.’


The Clothes Show

The Clothes Show, Jeff Banks, Selina Scott JR

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

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

The photos shows The Clothes Show presenters, Jeff Banks and Selina Scott. The item obviously had a 1950s rock and roll theme.

The Clothes Show was a fashion magazine show, which went out weekly on a Sunday between 1986-2000. It was devised and produced by Roger Casstles. The series became well known for its high production values and stylish inserts, which often used innovative DVE transitions, canted shots and contemporary chart music.

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

Annie Gumbley-Williams: ‘Ivor Williams, and Brian Watkiss plus other editors on the Clothes Show won a BAFTA for editing the Clothes Show, and were also nominated a second time. The BAFTA disappeared from Pebble Mill when it closed. Anyone know where it went?’

Jane Clement: ‘It was a rock n roll edition of The Clothes Show back in our era – I remember they had a local rock n roll club there dancing, who are probably the people in the background. Roger Casstles and Claire Stride producing, of course, and Janice Rider would have been on wardrobe – fun job for her. Can’t remember who else worked on it though.’

Claire Cotton: ‘Remember it well as one of BBC Birmingham’s big hits, with its spin off event Clothes Show Live still going. I loved working on it, with Jane Galpin running the London office and Colette Foster and Roger Casstles our Birmingham Office. I am still in touch with many ex Clothes Show people including James Strong (who went on to direct Dr Who and Downtown Abbey) and James Morgan who went on to do Springwatch, the Apprentice and won a BAFTA for Big Blue Live.’

Pebble Mill at One – wrap party

End of PM party at Peta's. Magnus, Paul Coia, Steph Silk











Photo from Maggy Whitehouse, no reproduction without permission.

This photo is from the end of run party for Pebble Mill at One, in May 1986. The party was held at Peta Newbold’s house.

Included in the photo are Magnus Magnusson, Paul Coia, Maggy Whitehouse, David Lancaster, Josephine Buchan, Bob Langley, Steve Weddle, Jane Clement, Bev Wildman (now Thompson), Steph Silk.

Pebble Mill at One Production Team











Photo from Maggy Whitehouse, no reproduction without permission.

The photo is of the ‘Pebble Mill at One’ production team.

Included are, left to right, back row: Magnus Magnusson, Norma Scott, David Lancaster, Josephine Buchan, Anne Varley, Bob Langley, Pat Langley, Steph Silk, Steve Weddle. Crouching: David Weir, Jane Clement, Viv Ellis, Marian Foster, Di Reid.  Front row: Jo Dewar, Beverleigh Wildman (now Thompson), Sue Ashcroft, Peta Newbold, Paul Coia.


Videotape in the 70s (part 6) Ray Lee

Balcony of the 2nd floor bar: Ivor Williams, Nigel Evans, Mike Bloore, John Burkill
Photo by Tim Savage











VT Office

When Pebble Mill was first built, the BBC Club was on the second floor, and became known affectionately by some as the VT Office. It was true that most of the VT staff could be found there at lunch time, and that many conversations with programme staff, producers, and directors took place there over a pint. That in a sense was the cauldron of ideas, that quite often led to innovative programme ideas that came to distinguish Pebble Mill. Departments were small enough, and the bar just about big enough that representatives from all disciplines could come together socially and exchange ideas.

I was only an occasional user, usually having ventured there to collect a Radio Times, but for some it was their regular lunchtime activity. It was there that the problem lay, in that it was just a bit too convenient on the 2nd floor, and more than one of my colleagues was recognised as having a drink problem, and sent on a “drying out” course by the BBC management. As space became more of a premium, the new Club building was built and the second floor returned to office space. I don’t remember the details of the changeover but the net result was that a more deliberate decision was needed to go to the club, rather than just falling out of the lift at the second floor.

Ray Lee

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

Jane Clement: ‘Ah, the second floor bar – home of my first Pebble Mill job (barmaid) and the scene of many an interesting night (and lunchtime). The tales I could tell from both sides of the bar as a barmaid then a researcher, then an AP…The new Club that replaced it was never quite the same.’

Lynn Cullimore: ‘Ooh yes, some people I could mention did use it as their office but you are right, I am sure many programme ideas were thought up there. The new bar was never quite the same! I remember my first rum punch day (the first of many) – or rather there were parts of it that I forgot!’