Bros at Pebble Mill

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Here are some excerpts from an article published in the Birmingham Mail on 26th Jan 2019, following the screening of the BBC documentary about the band Bros, When the Screaming Stops:

“Teenage twins Luke and Matt Goss were less than a month short of turning 20 years old when they arrived at BBC Pebble Mill by helicopter.

They were adorned with their trademark slicked back hair, fake tans, selfie-style poses and some very 80s’ clothing – the perfect pop package.

Their mission? To switch on Radio 1’s new FM signal in the Midlands in front of hundreds of screaming fans…….

Luke and Matt Goss were joined by fellow band member Craig Logan when they arrived at BBC Pebble Mill on Thursday, September 1, 1988….

Hundreds of young, screaming girls besieged Pebble Mill were the group was paying a flying visit by helicopter to officially inaugurate the new service.

Behind the scenes, twins Matt and Luke Goss said they had performed the switch on simply because they had been invited.”

The whole article can be read here:

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

Laura McNeill: ‘Brilliant picture, I remember their visit and being in the foyer to do something with them but then my memory fails me.’

Gordon Astley: I had just interviewed them upstairs at WM.’

Keith Butler: I remember it well, we also had Kylie Minogue at the Mill within a few weeks of this. Virtually no one was outside for her……… who’s the bigger star now, lol.’

Jean Palmer: ‘I remember that day very well. I was having an interview for a prop buyer when all you could hear where screaming girls and them going over and over their song. I didn’t get that job it was a fix.’

Simon Tooley: ‘I remember that day… doing a hand held camera at the railings to film the screaming fans. Unfortunately, only about 3 fans showed up, which I had to make look like a crowd!’

Gary Hudson: ‘There is a sequence in the documentary which I think shows this visit. Either that or the Pebble Mill backdrop is a CGI alternative to the pyros (for those who’ve seen the doco).’

Rod Natkiel cutting

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I’m not sure where this article is from, but probably one of the local Birmingham papers. It is from 1992, when Rod Natkiel was appointed Head of Network Television. As the cutting is rather hard to read, I have transcribed it here:

“Surprise as outsider takes Pebble Mill top job.

Mr Rod Natkiel has been appointed as Head of Network Television at BBC Pebble Mill in a surprise move.

The 40-year-old, who lives in Wylde Green, Birmingham beat off a strong field of internal applicants.

In his new role he will have overall responsibility for drama, leisure and lifestyle, multi-cultural programming output and the new daytime schedule.

Mr Natkiel, a freelance independent producer, was s former BBC TV light entertainment producer and director in Scotland from 1978-84 and is currently production executive at the Birmingham Media Development Agency.

His impressive CV includes work in entertainment, documentary, drama, news and current affairs, including stints on Granada’s Krypton Factor, Channel 4’s QD – The Master Game and Children’s Ward, the ITV drama.

Last night he said: “I am delighted to be joining the BBC again, especially at Pebble Mill which has such an excellent track record.

“These are challenging times for the industry and the BBC itself, of course, has many issues to resolve.

But I’m looking forward very much to being part of that process and hopefully assisting future success of the corporation and Pebble Mill.”

Before accepting the job, Mr Natkiel insisted that he be allowed to retain his MDA post after he starts work with the corporation on Monday.

A BBC insider commented: “This is a fairly sensational appointment. He will be the man who is responsible for all the network TV output from Pebble Mill.”

Mr Bill Cotton, chairman of Noel Gay Television and a former BBC managing director, said: “I think it’s a very good appointment. I think he’s a first class producer with a lot of experience and patience.”

Mrs Dorothy Hobson, director of the MDA, said: “We have always had a close relationship with the BBC because they were one of our original sponsors.”

She said Mr Natkiel had always shown great patience and interest in up-and-coming film makers.”

Thanks to Philip Thickett for sharing the cutting.

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

Jean Palmer: ‘I worked for Rod and Jenny Brewer on the 5th Floor. Thought I had made it being on the management floor. He called me to ask me if I could go and unit manage Good Morning with Anne and Nick. Enjoyed that role, worked with a great team of people, fun times and hard times but great times.’

Jane Upston: ‘Yes I worked with him and Jenny too prior to maternity leave from Personnel, as it was called in those days!’
















Move to the Mailbox

Mailbox move SG






















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

The article from the Birmingham Post circa 2002, explains how the move from Pebble Mill to the Mailbox was going to be a positive one, enabling technology and the studios to be improved. The move from the ‘leafy suburb’ of Edgbaston would apparently make BBC Birmingham more in touch with its audience!

Unfortunately these aims were not realised, and the move proved to be symptomatic of the decline of BBC Birmingham.

Thanks to Stuart Gandy to sharing this cutting.

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

Andy Marriott: ‘Unfortunately pretty much every move is a downsizing event, and it’s not just the BBC. I’ve been helping a friend out with a project at the old Granada site in Manchester and it’s depressing to see the facilities that existed there that they simply don’t have at their new site.’

Jean Palmer: ‘I’m sure that those who worked there could have told them it wouldn’t work. Shame we lost Pebble Mill’

Carolyn Davies: ‘All very sad….BBC Wales about to relocate….hope the same doesn’t happen…..’

Sue Farr: ‘I always suspected that London was jealous of Brimingham’s success and that was what was behind the decisions that were made. None of us believed any of it was going to benefit the Midlands, did we?’

Andrew Langstone: ‘Seems The Mailbox is the BBC’S dumping ground for things it doesn’t know where to put them.’


Guten Morgen Mug

Guten Morgen JP










Photo by Jean Palmer, no reproduction without permission.

About a hundred of these mugs were produced, for the Good Morning with Anne and Nick programme which came live from Berlin, to commemorate the 5th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, in 1994.

Thanks to Jean Palmer for keeping the mug safe for the last twenty years, and for sharing the photo.

Good Morning Plate

Good Morning viewer competition plate JP










Photo by Jean Palmer, no reproduction without permission.

This plate was the winning design from a viewers’ competition, on Good Morning with Anne and Nick. The plate design was then made into a real plate.