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!’

 

Good Morning, Rwanda OB – Caroline Officer

Good Morning OB in Rwanda, Caroline Officer and Sue Robinson

Good Morning OB in Rwanda, Caroline Officer and Sue Robinson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo copyright Sue Robinson, no reproduction without permission.

The date was December 1994 which began with an appeal we launched on Good Morning in September 1994 in conjunction with Oxfam requesting our viewers to knit jumpers for the Rwandan refugee children who had been displaced just over the border in Goma, Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) due to the horrific genocide in Rwanda between the Hutus and Tutsis that began exactly 20 years ago this week.

 

Within weeks we were inundated with jumpers, so it was decided that a team would go out to Goma in Eastern Zaire and broadcast the distribution of the jumpers live on a pre Christmas edition of the programme.

 

Will Hanrahan was the presenter, Sue the director and I was the producer. Jim Knights was our camera op and our engineers were lovely guys from the OB unit in London, I remember our lead engineer was called Chris.

 

There were no commercial flights to Goma, so for the recce Sue and I did with Chris we flew from a Kent RAF base on a Russian cargo plane, I remember being given some vodka on take off, there were no seats or seat belts and I slept on top of a large water pipe which was far more comfortable than an economy seat.

 

The Oxfam people in Goma were fantastic, as were the aid workers at the camps, Toby Porter, a very young emergency relief worker was hugely charismatic and we decided to use him to convey the appalling situation the children were in. Toby has continued to work for aid organisations and is now CEO of HelpAge International.

 

We returned to the UK and planned the broadcast for a week later.

 

By now we had at least 100,000 jumpers, so Oxfam arranged to fly them to Goma and we travelled with them on the same cargo plane, along with BBC news journalist Roger Hearing. For our OB engineer Chris, the challenge was building the portable satellite dish and finding a satellite to bounce off. We were lucky to have with us one of the very first satellite phones and this helped us contact an American satellite company who turned theirs towards us, it was amazing how rudimentary it was, but it worked.

 

I will never forget the first communication with Gallery C at Pebble Mill and clearly hearing Jane McLean in my ear as I was standing in the middle of Africa, one of those magical TV moments.

 

For the final link, the idea was to have all the children, about 800, wearing a jumper each and we had about 12 minutes to get them on, so we had lines of small children with their hands in the air as we rapidly worked down the line.

 

We’d also chosen a handful of knitters to join Anne and Nick in the studio and it was my job to ensure that the jumpers they had made were shown on the children for this final link. This connection between the donor and the recipient was another important moment. Such a simple thing as a jumper meant so much to these children and I have often thought of them in the intervening years. We stayed in touch with the aid workers for a while and did learn that quite a few of the children had been reunited with relatives.

 

I am very proud to have been part of this broadcast, on a personal level it was the most moving experience of my career.

 

Caroline Officer

Good Morning with Anne and Nick, in Rwanda

Good Morning OB in Rwanda, Caroline Officer and Sue Robinson

Good Morning OB in Rwanda, Caroline Officer and Sue Robinson

Rwanda OB crew with children

Rwanda OB crew with children

Rwandan OB crew setting up

Rwandan OB crew setting up

Rwandan OB

Rwandan OB

Rwandan OB, with cameraman Jim Knights

Rwandan OB, with cameraman Jim Knights

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright Sue Robinson, no reproduction without permission.

These photos are of an outside broadcast that the BBC 1 morning magazine show, Good Morning with Anne and Nick, did in Rwanda, in the aftermath of the bitter civil war, December 1994.

Included in the first photo are Caroline Officer, and director, Sue Robinson. The cameraman was Jim Knights, from Magpie, seen by the white Land rover in one of the lower photos.

African World Rally

Phil Thickett, African World Rally

Photo by Jim Knights, no reproduction without permission.

The photo is from the first of four World Rally series produced by BBC Pebble Mill.  It was taken on 13 April 1995 in Kenya.

Jim Knights (camera) and Gordon Nightingale (sound), from Magpie were part of the crew on all the World Rallies done at Pebble Mill.

The vehicle was a hired 4 X4 with a wireless intercom, so that Phil Thickett, the task force producer could to talk to other three crews. The four crews produced all the on road material for the World Rally series.

They would shoot during the day and then edited in Niarobi in local production house . The crews wre responsible for 10 mins of world wide rally news each day, which was sent by satellite to Reuters for onward distribution. The production was a co-production between the BBC and Formula 1 Promotions.

There were 10 rounds of the championship – this was the 3rd – the Safari Rally. Each Rally lasted three days. The crews were on location for four days, the first being a Press Day. The recce team came a week in advance.

There were four World Championship teams: Ford, Toyota, Mitsubishi, and Subaru, with rallies taking place in all continents.

Locations included: Monte Carlo, Sweden, Kenya, San Remo, New Zealand, Spain, Portugal, UK, and Corsica.

The production team included Jacque Brown as the base PA, Phil Thicket and Andrew ? co-producers. The editing was done by Pete Shannon.