Gangsters Series, Episode 3, 1976

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This photo is from episode 3 of Gangsters series 1. It features Maurice Colbourne as John Kline and Saeed Jaffrey as Rafiq. Gangsters series 1 was a 6 part crime serial set in the Midlands underworld. It was shown on BBC1 on Thursday Sept 23 1976.

Here is the entry from the Radio Times:

“A series of six programmes by PHILIP MARTIN with Ahmed Khalil , Elizabeth Cassidy, Paul Antrim, Paul Barber, Alibe Parsons, Saeed Jaffrey and Maurice Colbourne as John Kline. Incident 3 –
A missing consignment of heroin, an abandoned railway station. Surveying the scene are Rafiq, the sophisticated gangster, and Khan, the double agent. How will Kline escape the factions ranged against him at the Battle of Snow Hill?
Music composed and directed by DAVE GREENSLADE
Script editor PETER ANSORGE Designer IAN ASHURST Producer DAVID ROSE
Director ALASTAIR REID. BBC Birmingham”

Roger Slater was a boom operator on the series, with John Gilbert the recordist. Murray Laidla was part of the audio crew in Studio A when the barge was built in the studio.

Joyce Hawkins was the costume designer.

The Rum Runner nightclub was taken over by Gangsters and turned into a strip club.

Nuts in May article


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This interview with Alison Steadman about the 1976 Play for Today, Nuts in May, must have taken place in 2009 (which is when the Alan Bennett play mentioned at the end of the article was on), but I’m not sure of where it appeared, or why. Perhaps it was simply an interesting article with Alison Steadman, which promoted Alan Bennett’s, Enjoy? David Rose gave me a photocopy of the cutting a few years ago, but it doesn’t say where it’s from.

Please add a comment if you can add any more information.

Here is the synopsis of the improvised drama, Nuts in May, from the Radio Times, from the BBC Genome project. It must be one of the strangest synopses ever, and tells the reader nothing, and everything, about the drama – which was no doubt the point:


“Camp Rules:
1: No open fires.
2: No music after 11.0 pm.
3: Positively no drains to be dug around any tent.
4: No crockery or cooking utensils to be washed up in toilet block.
5: These rules are imposed for the benefit and enjoyment of all during their holiday.
BBC Birmingham


Film Cameraman: Michael Williams
Film Recordist: John Gilbert
Film Editor: Oliver White
Producer: David Rose
Devised and directed by: Mike Leigh
Keith: Roger Sloman
Candice Marie: Alison Steadman
Ray: Anthony O’Donnell
Honky: Sheila Kelley
Finger: Stephen Bill
Miss Beale: Richenda Carey
Quarryman: Epic Allan
Farmer: Matthew Guiness
Farm girl: Sally Watts
Policeman: Richard Ireson”

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

David Crozier: ‘I was the Designer on this superb film, Nuts in May. Tim Dann (then Design Assistant) and I had to have our wits about us to keep up with Mike Leigh’s ever developing improvisation. A thoroughly enjoyable experience which I constantly recall with warm thoughts!’

Lynn Cullimore: ‘I thought it was fantastic. Never to be forgotten and the brilliant Alison Steadman who has gone on to do more brilliant things. Thanks to all those people who were involved in it.’












Arthur Heywood – photo from Jane McLean

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The photo is of a 1980 Pebble Mill at One shoot in Hong Kong.  In the photo are L-R: two unknowns; Jane McLean; John Gilbert; Nigel Davey; John Smith; John Williams; Arthur Heywood.

Thanks to Jane McLean for making this photo available.

Arthur Heywood was a Gaffer at BBC Birmingham from the early/mid 1960s until the 1980s.

Arthur died on Feb 7, 2012.

Colleagues who remember him fondly left the following comments on the Pebble Mill Facebook page:

Jane McLean: ‘One of my very favourite people. Had an amazing trip to Hong Kong and China with him in the 80s. He bought enough furniture out there to furnish a house .. then had to pay at least twice as much to get it shipped back here.’

Carol Churchill: ‘How sad worked with Arthur on lots of dramas and spent many jolly evenings in pubs with him and crew.’

Lesley Weaver: ‘We were only talking about Arthur the other day. That’s very sad he was such a lovely man & adorably cheeky ! I agree Carol lots of jolly times were shared with him. God bless you Arthur! X’

Janice Rider: ‘Simply a lovely man . Very sad’

The Clothes Show, Thailand – photos by Andy Frizzell

Photos by Andy Frizzell, no reproduction without permission.

The photos are of a ‘Clothes Show’ shoot in Thailand.

Crew were Clare Stride Producer/Director, Cameraman was Eric Wise, Sound was John Gilbert and myself (Andy), Lighting. Jeff Banks was the presenter but I can’t remember for the life of me who the PA was (there must have been one surely). We travelled mostly in the north of Thailand to Chang Mai, Chang Rai, the Burmese border region and of course Bangkok. The girls in costume were from the hill tribes and were dressed to attract prospective husbands I seem to recall. Can’t find any more pictures at the moment, still sifting but there must be more of that trip.
Part of the trip involved the work of Oxfam trading where fair trade for goods was being setup in small communities. A young Caroline Lucas joined us in her role as press officer for Oxfam. (She is now the only Green party MP in the house of Commons)

Andy Frizzell

Poldark Cast and Crew

Thanks to Paul Balmer for this photo of the cast and crew of Poldark, taken in Pebble Mill Studio A circa 1975.  Pushing the sound booms around on Poldark was Paul’s first job in television; he is on the back row on the extreme right.  The series was filmed on both location and in studio, where it was recorded ‘as live’.  It was produced in London, but ‘hosted’ by Pebble Mill, using Birmingham crews and facilities.  The crew included designers Gavin Davis and Michael Edwards, cameraman Michael Williams, John Gilbert on sound and make-up artist Maggie Thomas.

The series went out between 1975-77, and starred Angharad Rees, Robin Ellis, Jill Townsend, Paul Curran, Mary Wimbush, Judy Geeson, Ralph Bates, Clive Francis, Hugh Dickson and Richard Morant.  The drama was set in Cornwall and included mining, smuggling and shipwrecks!