Tail-less Top Geat cats – Chris Bates

copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission

copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission

Top Gear in Isle of Man

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is an article by Senior Press Officer, Chris Bates, published in the February 2016 edition of the BBC retirees magazine Prospero: http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/mypension/en/prospero_feb_2016.pdf. He tells of the efforts he made to get Top Gear into the papers in the 1990s.

The two men on the right of the camera, who aren’t named in the cutting are Jim Knights, a Magpie cameraman (right next to the camera), and director Ian Thomas, in the foreground.

Chris Weaver

Regional 'Day Out' Derby '83 GH

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo from Gail Herbert, copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission.

Director of Photography, Chris Weaver has died recently. He is operating the camera in the photo above, which was on a Regional series, called Day Out, this episode was in Derby, 1983. Production Assistant, Gail Herbert, is next to him, with David Nelson, right of Chris. Chris worked at Magpie, with Jim Knights, and was married to Pebble Mill Make-up Designer, Lesley Weaver. Producer John Clarke is on the far left.

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

Elliot Weaver: ‘Action shot – “you must always point at something”‘

Johannah Dyer: ‘That is sad news – he was a lovely bloke who always went above and beyond what was expected on every shoot.’

Terry Powell: ‘So sad to hear, I knew and worked with his wife Lesley on so many shows and Chris as well sending love to his family.’

Lynn Cullimore: ‘Chris was the nicest guy ever and so lovely to work with I agree Jane. So sad to hear of this and I do send my condolences to Lesley and all the family. I remember Day Out well as I also worked on it with John Clarke. In fact, John is in this picture extreme left.’

Siobhan Maher Kennedy: ‘Very sad news . I loved the Magpie guys! Chris was great and I have happy memories from when I was in the regional opt out with Pamela Relton Liz Cox Rosalind Gower.’

Samantha Watkins: ‘Sorry to hear about the loss of Chris. Many happy memories . Here’s a photo I found in attic from the early 80’s. Also a photo of me and Lesley in 81 was in same album , on Nanny.

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Derek Smith Obituary

Pebble Mill Shoots 13

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Photos from Jim Knights, of the regional Top Gear show, somewhere in Europe, no reproduction without permission)

(The following obituary for director, Derek Smith, has been written by his son, Graham Smith).

Derek Smith joined the BBC in Birmingham 1957, working as an assistant producer on the newly created Farming magazine programme. He worked at Gosta Green studios and Carpenter Road.
In the early 1960s he moved on to general programming, as director and producer. He made a number of films about the armed services, including Soldier In The Sun, a film looking at the Royal Anglian Regiment in Aden and Yemen (1964) (The film can viewed on BBC Four Army Collection and i-Player). Singapore Twilight (1965), The Last Outpost, (1965); Men Of Action, (1966); They Speak The Language Anyway (life at a US Air Force base.) (1967).
From the Pebble Mill studios in Birmingham, he made a number of single network documentaries. For The Flight Deck Story, the history of the aircraft carrier, he filmed on board both HMS Eagle and on USS Enterprise off the coast of Vietnam. The film was narrated by actor Kenneth More. (BBC1, Tuesday Documentary 1969)
Mission To Hell followed the Bishop of Birmingham, Leonard Wilson, returning to Singapore to tell his story of war time imprisonment by the Japanese. In the film, he met his former torturer. (BBC 2 1969)
Another military history film Derek made at this time was Jump Jet, the history of the Hawker Harrier. (BBC 1 1970).
A film for the series “The World About Us”, The Lost River Of Gaping Gill showed cavers Sid Perou, Mike Wooding and Tom Brown as they sought to discover the route of an underground river in the Yorkshire Dales. (BBC 2 1970)
Journey Through Summer was a series of six films with actor and writer P.J. Kavanagh, as he viewed Britain through long distance walks. (1974)
Four In Hand was a one-off film with HRH Duke of Edinburgh, demonstrating Carriage Driving. (1974)
A studio based programme Derek devised was Major Minor, a piano competition for 10-13 year-olds. A BBC Midlands programme, repeated on the network, it ran for three seasons and was presented by musician Steve Race.
In 1975, Derek returned to military matters with Return To Dunkirk. On the 35th. anniversary of the evacuation, the film told the story of the men who escaped from a massacre at Esquelbecq. (BBC 2 1975)
Just A Year was a film that followed three of the survivors of the Birmingham pub bombs in November 1974, on their long recovery from injury. (BBC 2 1976)
In March 1977, Derek created a new series for BBC Midlands, Top Gear. The programme ran for nine monthly episodes shown only in the Midlands region. It was presented by Angela Rippon with Tom Coyne. The following year, it became a network show, on BBC 2. Derek continued as series producer until 1986.
An original programme devised by Derek was Now Get Out Of That. It was a competition between two teams testing their survival abilities along with problem solving mental tests over two days. It was filmed on location, with documentary film crews on 16mm. The first two seasons used teams from Cambridge and Oxford Universities, while series three and four were a contest between Britain and the USA. The programmes spanned 1981-84.
After leaving the BBC, Derek spent two years in Saudi Arabia working as a programme controller. He then lived in Spain for five years before returning to Sutton Coldfield. Well into his 70s, he continued to work part-time, as historian on tours to the sites of the Normandy Landings.

Derek Smith. April 16, 1927 – March 17, 2015.

Pebble Mill Shoots 16

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Murray Clarke: ‘A very talented director – never afraid to stick his neck out and make interesting programme that really entertained. Yes, I was there with him at the birth of Top Gear in 1977. Love and condolences to his family.’

Conal O’Donnell: ‘A marvellous tribute to the kind of person who made the BBC & pebble Mill ..’

 

Derek Smith RIP

4 in Hand, Derek Smith directing, Jim on camera, Murray Clarke, sound 1975 or 6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Derek Smith, a producer of Top Gear at BBC Pebble Mill sadly died in hospital yesterday (17th March 2015). He never properly recovered following a serious stroke, which he suffered over a year ago.

Derek is seen in this photograph, directing on a programme called Four in Hand. It featured carriage driving, and featured the Duke of Edinburgh. The crew includes Jim Knights on camera and Murray Clarke on sound. It was taken around 1974.

Thanks to Jim Knights for sharing the photograph.

 

Top Gear Rally Report

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This titles grab dates from the 1990s. Rally Report was made by members of the Top Gear production team and presented by some of the same presenters as the motoring magazine show. The series reported on the Lombard RAC Rally.

Thanks to Ian Collins to making the grab available.

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

Peter Poole: ‘I did some location recording for this.’

Steve Lee: ‘I presented for a while…Denis Adams was the producer…Fun days !!!’

Ned Abell: ‘If this was the one on BBC2 we parked CM2 outside the Laguna Tandoori next to the Albany hotel, Nottingham. Off the air and sit down with chicken tikkas already waiting!!’

Adam Hartley: ‘I remember preparing some of the rushes & working with editors on some time around 1998… Also have a vague recollection of a viewer complaining because a certain rally car had the wrong engine noise synched to it on a wide drive past…’

Simon Edwards: ‘I think Jim Knights might have been involved?’

Paul Hutchins: ‘Yes Simon, Magpie crewed most of the rallies! Some great memories mate. Great team that went on to produce and film the world rally championship for years to come!! Happy days.’

Alan Jessop: ‘I was one of the cameramen on many of the Rally shows – great fun in the forest!’