Vanessa Jackson, Good Morning with Anne and Nick

Vanessa Jackson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

This is a photo of me, Vanessa Jackson, taken for the Pebble Mill Press Office, circa 1992. It was taken when I was a producer on Good Morning with Anne and Nick. I worked with Alex Fraser at the time on the VT inserts, and we commissioned Independent production companies to make the pre-recorded strands which went out on the magazine show.

Production co-ordinator, Gail Herbert gave me the photo, which she found in the basement of Pebble Mill, when the building was cleared prior to being demolished in 2004/5.

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

Alexandra Fraser: ‘Wow feels like yesterday and this gorgeous photo brings it all back!’

Jane Mclean: ‘Don’t look any different! Not sure what to say about it being found in the basement!’

Ruth Kiosses: ‘I’ll have you know all the very best people were in the basement at Pebble Mill!!!’

Steve Johnson: ‘I worked on Good Morning with Anne and Nick at the last series, looking after the ‘hotliner’ students.’

Phil Sidey Obituary

Phil Sidey (HoB) & John Wood (press officer). Copyright resides with the original holder.

Phil Sidey (HoB) & John Wood (press officer). Copyright resides with the original holder.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission. This obituary was published by The Independent in 2011.)

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/obituaries-phil-sidey-1579330.html

Obituaries: Phil Sidey by Leonard Miall

The Independent Saturday 22nd October 2011

 

As the Head of the BBC Network Production Centre at Birmingham, Phil Sidey was the man who converted Pebble Mill from a structural white elephant into a thriving source of daytime television. He was the first manager of Radio Leeds and played a leading role in establishing lively local broadcasting on a financial shoestring. He was a programme innovator with a spate of lively ideas and an abrasive tongue which tended to upset some of his colleagues. He was also an accomplished public speaker and a successful chairman of the Royal Television Society.

 

Sidey’s first experience of broadcasting was in Austria immediately after the Second World War. As a sergeant in the Royal Artillery he was in charge of the Army Broadcasting Station at Klagenfurt for three years. He then had a variety of journalistic posts including three years with the Associated Press before joining the BBC’s External News Service as a sub-editor in 1956. In 1963 he transferred to Television News, becoming a Duty Editor in 1964.

 

In 1966 Harold Wilson’s Labour government decided to inaugurate eight experimental local radio stations. They were only to broadcast on VHF and their meagre annual revenue of pounds 50,000 for each station had to cover staff salaries and all programme expenses. That sum was not to be a charge on either the BBC Licence income or the rates. It had to be found from other local sources.

 

In 1967 Sidey was selected to manage the new local radio station at Leeds. His application was a surprise, for many thought that he had abandoned radio for television, and he had no connections with the north of England. But he was ambitious to run his own operation and he feared he had made too many enemies in television news ever to reach its top position.

 

Sidey had a great flair for publicity, including self-publicity. In order to get the name of the experimental station regularly mentioned in the local press, albeit only on the sports page, he bought a greyhound and named in Radio Leeds. 24 Hours, the television magazine of which Sidey had been the news producer before moving to Leeds, sent a camera team to make a sequence about the programmes he planned to introduce. One was a record request show called Bring-a-Disc in which, because his library was limited, listeners had to bring their own records to be played. Sidey was filmed outside the door of Radio Leeds urging passers-by to come in with their favourite discs. The film was shown on the day the station opened in June 1968.

 

Sidey recruited a team of Yorkshire journalists to provide a valuable service of local news. The naïve idea of the Government that provincial newspapers would gladly provide the new experimental radio stations with copies of the local news they had gathered for their own us had soon evaporated.

 

One of his innovations was The Only BBC Programme the Money Can Buy. Listeners would telephone the studio and demand a favour, promising in exchange to pay a sum of money to any charity of their choice. This worried the authorities in Broadcasting House, who feared it might upset the central scheme that ensured fairness among charity appeals. Another was Teenage Week, presented entirely by schoolchildren, which caused Sidey to be dubbed “Fagin” and accused of exploiting cheap child labour.

 

In 1969 Sidey wrote a memorable article for the New Statesman, then influential with Harold Wilson’s government, on making community radio effective. Frank Gillard, the former managing director of BBC Radio, said that Sidey’s points convinced the entire Labour hierarchy of the success of the BBC’s local radio experiment.

 

In a lovely book, Hello, Mrs Butterfield……, published last year, Sidey also told the story of Radio Leeds. He described in detail the work of creating cheap local radio. “The rediscovery of radio and infliction of new communication ideas on to the city of Leeds,” he declared, “was surrounded by so much good-humour and lively, not to say outrageous, behaviour, that the station soon became dubbed ‘Radio Irreverent’.”

 

Sidey’s own lively, not to say outrageous, behaviour caused him trouble with the authorities at Broadcasting House on various occasions. After Radio Leeds he worked as the Deputy Editor of Nationwide until 1972, when he became Head of the Network Production Centre at Birmingham.

 

The Pebble Mill complex, newly opened but planned some 10 years earlier and built at a cost of pound 8m, has a marble entrance hall with a vast glass foyer which is reached via a footbridge. But by the Seventies visitors mostly came by car and had to park at the back of the building. Sidey’s appointment coincided with the Government’s de-restriction of broadcasting hours and he seized the opportunity of putting Pebble Mill on the broadcasting map by offering to mount a live daily magazine from the idle space of the glass foyer. The London technicians had grave misgivings about the lighting and acoustics. But the difficulties were overcome, and Pebble Mill at One became the first important daily current affairs programme to be produced outside London for the BBC. Viewers were surprised to see elephants participating and studio guests arriving by parachute.

 

Sidey insisted that every new programme originating in Birmingham should carry the name Pebble Mill in its title. As his successor, David Waine, put it, “He had a deep belief in the importance of regional broadcasting being independent of London and he pursued that belief with an acerbic and occasionally wounding wit.” It was Sidey’s defiant independence of London that led to his premature retirement in 1983.

 

The Royal Television Society, founded in 1927, was originally a group of television enthusiasts intent on furthering this new scientific discovery. It consisted entirely of engineers. In 1978 Sidey was the first non-technician to be elected chairman. With the vigorous support of Sir Huw Weldon, who succeeded the Duke of Kent as President of the RTS in 1979, Sidey threw open the society’d doors to programme people and made it representative of the whole television industry.

 

Sidey was chairman of the RTS for four years, twice the normal span. His speech on the retirement of Wheldon included a translation of Madame de Pompadour’s word “ Apres nous le deluge” as “After us that shower takes over.”

 

Phil Sidey was a trim, athletic man who loved walking along the Pennine Way. Hw was on a walking tour of the Peak District at the time of his death.

 

Leonard Miall

 

Philip John Sidey, broadcaster: born London 11 January 1926; staff, BBC External Service News 1956-60, Teelvision News 1963-67; Station Manager, Radio Leeds 1967-70; Deputy Editor, Nationwide 1970-72; Head of Network Production Centre, Pebble Mill, Birmingham 1972-83; Chairman, Royal Television Society 1978-82; President, Birmingham Press Club 1979-81; author of Hello, Mrs Butterfield….1994; married 1951 Daphne Finn (two sons, one daughter): died Castleton, Derbyshire 15 October 1995.

 

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

Chris Marshall: ‘That is the most wonderful call to arms for regional broadcasting!’

Lynn Cullimore: ‘A great man indeed and i did not realise he had died. John Wood in the picture too. He was my wonderful boss at the Beeb when I worked in the Press Office. Typical John and Phil poses in the bar!’

Ian Wood: ‘Would that Birmingham had a Phil Sidey in the 21st century. He’d have had a thing or two to say about the draining of production at London’s behest.’

Jane Mclean: ‘Fabulous photo. I only just missed him at Radio Leeds but his legacy lived/lives on. A great man.’

Pete Simpkin: ‘Worked with Phil for a while at Leeds on attachment, he was full of the great gimmicks…I recall a world Gargling competition!’

 

 

 

Tom O’Connor Roadshow – Liverpool

TOR Liverpool Eleanor Rigby, John Couzens Melvyn Bragg JM After show TOR JM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photos by Jane Mclean, no reproduction without permission.

These photos are from the Tom O’Connor Roadshow winter/spring 1987. The roadshow was staged in each location for one week, these photos were taken in Liverpool, which was the last location on the run, in April 1987. The second photo is of cameraman John Couzens, seated on the Beatles’ Eleanor Rigby bench. The bottom two photos are from the after show party, which was obviously attended by Melvyn Bragg. Series producer, Steve Weddle, can just be seen popping up behind Melvyn Bragg.

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

Mary Sanchez: ‘Ok I was there and the girl on piano was Louise someone( can’t remember surname – producer ) and in first pic is a graphics girl (Liz?)( on the right ) and on the left is it Pam Creed? Sorry this is all I can offer! I have LOADS of pics , must dig them out!’

Steve Weddle: ‘The warm-up chap alongside Melvyn Bragg, weirdly enough, is called Bobby Bragg (no relation!) In fact Bobby became a bit of an on screen celebrity as Roadshow Reg, the pretend scene shifter, who’s catchphrase was, I’m not feeling very well Mr. O’Connor. We’d send him on stage whenever we were under running, which happened quite frequently. And as the series progressed his cameos with Tom became increasingly popular, so much so, that when I appeared on Open Air to discuss the Series the following week, it was Reg who joined me on the sofa there! Melvyn Bragg just happened to be in the vicinity of our end of series party in the Adelphi Hotel, Liverpool – unsurprisingly, he had nothing to do with the Show – but we invited him along anyway, and he graciously joined us for our knees up. I seem to remember I was dressed as a giant chicken at the time! I think that’s Pam by the old Roadshow Relay scoreboard, and Louise Stellakis is the researcher by the piano.’

Jane Mclean: ‘Just come to me! The audio supervisor Louise married was Paul Cunliffe.’

Ainsley’s Barbecue Bible

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

Ainsley’s Barbecue Bible was a six part series made for BBC 2 in summer 1997, with a second series in 1998. Ben Warwick was the director, with producers, Roulla Xenides and Jane Lomas. The assistant producers were Sue Ashcroft and Lisa Kendrick, with Liz Darby being the PA on the first series and Jane Mclean the PA on the second.

The series involved Ainsley travelling round the world in search of the best barbecue ideas. His journey included: Britain, South Africa, Jamaica, Thailand, Australia and Greece.

Here is the link to the Radio Times entry for the first episode, from the BBC Genome project: http://genome.ch.bbc.co.uk/bf1a6891e372488fa092dc8f8f0ae415.

Thanks to Ian Collins for making the grab available.

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

Roulla Xenides: ‘I made barbecued jerk chicken on Saturday using the jerk marinade recipe from the book which is a pretty good one. Many memories of the series including baboons attacking our BBQ at the Cape of Good Hope – we had to escape to the car and watch an entire family of them eating all of the ingredients for the South African Sosaties, not to mention the male baboon displaying his ‘virility’ in a rather belligerent manner. Annie Jenkins designed the graphics and this shot was filmed in her back garden. Funny, we were just talking about it this morning!’

 

 

Tom O’Connor Roadshow – Jim Clelland

Jim Clelland JM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo by Jane Mclean, no reproduction without permission.

The photo is from the Tom O’Connor Roadshow, a touring live entertainment show. It was a BBC1 Daytime show which went out at midday in 1987. It shows Jim Clelland on stage, carrying out a lighting check; Jim was an Engineering Manager.

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

Keith Brook (Scouse), talking about Jim’s hand signal: ‘It’s a signal to one of the sparks to stop lowering the light, or panning it up, for example.’

Kevin Lakin: ‘Foreground is John Potter ( props ), a brilliant bloke who sadly passed away a year or so after this picture was taken.’

Alan Jessop: ‘Jim’s son Iain works with us at CTV Outside Broadcasts’