Billy Joel Live on One

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The live concert of Billy Joel at Wembley was transmitted on 8th June 1984.

Below is the entry from the Radio Times, courtesy of the BBC Genome project:

“Billy Joel in Concert

BILLY JOEL , American singer/songwriter, in a rare live broadcast from Wembley Arena, presents a catalogue of hits from ‘Piano man’ to ‘An innocent man’.
In this, the only European engagement of his 1984 World Tour, Billy Joel includes previous favourites Just the way you are’, ‘Goodnight baigon and ‘Allentown’ along with his contemporary successes ‘Tell her about it’, ‘Uptown girl’ and ‘An innocent man’.
Lighting STEVE COHEN , DEREK PRICE Executive producer JIM DUMIGHAN Production JOHN G. SMITH
BBC Pebble Mill”

Jane Mclean was the PA.

Thanks to Stuart Allen for sharing this screen grabs from the concert.

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

Andrew Henry Lewellyn Davies: ‘It was also broadcast live at the same time on Radio 1. I still have the recording. Superb broadcast of Joel in his pomp.’

Peter Hercombe: ‘Remember this well. Love Billy Joel. Well done John G and Jane !’

Danger in the Ice – John Williams

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Copyright, John Williams, no reproduction without permission.

The article above is from John Williams memoirs, Shoot First, No Ordinary Life. It tells the story of a dangerous and highly memoriable shoot in Antarctica, for a Pebble Mill at One documentary, Langley South. It was published in the October 2016 issue of the BBC pensioners online magazine – Prospero. The link to the article is here:

The documentary was transmitted as inserts in 1981, as part of Pebble Mill at One, and as a four part documentary series on BBC2 in April 1982. Here are the Radio Times entries, courtesy of the BBC Genome project:

Monday 19th April 1982

“The first of four films in which
Bob Langley journeys to the White continent of Antarctica and examines its potential for mankind. The Falkland Islands are his first staging post. a last outpost of the British Empire in the South Atlantic. In recent weeks this tiny colony has been the centre of world attention as neighbouring Argentina has laid claim to the islands.
Against this background some of the 1,800 islanders talk of their hopes for the future.

Tuesday 20th April 1982

“On the second leg of his journey to the Antarctic, Bob Langley embarks on the Royal Navy’s Ice Patrol Ship Endurance for the voyage from the Falkland Islands to the southern ice cap. The journey takes him across the notorious Drake Passage off the tip of Cape Horn, through a mine-field of icebergs and after a brief respite at an abandoned whaling station, onward to a dangerous and uncharted corner of the Antarctic peninsula.”

Wednesday 21st April 1982

“In the third film report from British Antarctica Bob Langley, aboard the Royal Navy’s Ice Patrol ship Endurance, becomes trapped in the ice in the Weddell Sea. It is like history repeating itself. In 1915 another Endurance, under the command of Sir Ernest Shackleton , was trapped in these very waters, triggering off a feat of survival which rates as one of the greatest of all escape stories”

Thursday 22nd April 1982

“In this final film report from Antarctica, Bob Langley visits British and American scientific bases and meets the. modern pioneers. Antarctica is known to contain vast mineral riches. Its seas are teeming with protein. It could be vital to our future as other continents exhaust their own resources.”

John’s book is A4, 216 pages full colour, 96,500 words; it is being sold at cost £14, plus postage or can be collected.If you would like a copy please contact John on








Being a Telly Addicts contestant

Copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission

Copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission












In the photo, from left to right. Myself (Billy McLauchlan), Mary McLauchlan ( Mother ), Andy McPherson and Brian Morris (Brother ).

Billy McLauchlan talking about Telly Addicts 1986

“I remember being more excited at the prospect of visiting Pebble Mill than of being a contestant on Telly Addicts in 1986.
The highlight for me was meeting Victoria Wood and Anne Reid along with Hugh Loyd and Christopher Strauli who were recording her As Seen on TV  series.
I was a big fan of Pebble Mill at One back in the day.
A shame it’s gone …”

The episode was in series 2 , ep5 ( transmitted 30/9/86 )

Here is the Radio Times entry of the episode, courtesy of the BBC Genome project:

“Pit your television knowledge against the families trying to identify the time traveller, the engine driver, the nobleman and the sleuth – all featured in tonight’s edition of Noel Edmonds ‘s search for the Telly Addicts champions of the year.
Producer JOHN G. SMITH
Executive producer JOHN KING BBC Pebble Mill”

Pebble Mill at One at Legoland

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Photo copyright Roger Guest, no reproduction without permission.

These photos were taken at Legoland in Copenhagen. It was part of a Pebble Mill at One programme recorded in April – May 1983.
The team all travelled in a Patterson’s coach and included Steve Weddell, John Smith, Jane McLean, Marian Foster, Jack Rook, Mary Clyne, Mike Bloore, Dave Baumber, and myself.
The following comments were left on the Pebble Mill Facebook page:
Keith Brook (Scouse): ‘Mike Bloore is trying to figure out which end is which of the videotape!! The recorder was called a VR3000 if I remember rightly.
Ian Dewar and myself started that operation.’

Ray Lee: ‘Yes it was an Ampex VR3000 and had large rechargable batteries which might last for one tape if you were lucky. It produced a very basic monochrome playback, which really did little other than indicate something was on the tape. It was very noisy, as the head assembly was mounted on ball bearings, unlike the airbearings that were used in all the full size machines. Little chance of assessing sound quality, but maybe that was recorded separately on a timecode linked tape machine. I don’t know details of how it was used in the field, but did have to attempt to repair it a few times. ! Very quicly replaced by the VPR10 1″ machine for these type of productions.’

Jane Clement: ‘I seem to recall they went to Freetown Christiania as part of the trip – the big hippie commune in Copenhagen – is that right Steve N Weddle and Jane Mclean?’

Jane Mclean: ‘Oh just look at us Mike Bloore! Yes Jane, we did indeed and I was petrified. They had lots of huge dodgy dogs. I went for a wee under a bush and two dogs charged me midst flow. The owner stopped them just before they reached me by which time I was wrecked. Ian Dewar had to give me medicine from his hip flask.’

Steve Weddle: ‘Heavens yes, Christiania, the hippy commune right in the heart of Copenhagen which proclaimed itself a free state. As I was the nearest thing we had to a hippy – long hair and a duffle coat – I went in to hold discussions with their leaders to see if they would allow us to film in their break away state. They eventually agreed, giving me a promise that our safety was assured. As if! No sooner had we started filming than we were greeted by a break away faction brandishing sticks and bricks, demanding our immediate departure from the site, or else. A tense few minutes ensued until my contact there won the day and we were allowed to carry on filming. And good on John Smith for holding his nerve. Plus I do remember that incident of the dog in the daytime, Jane. I seem to recall the Danes having a weird thing for Alsatians. But that’s for another time!’

Royal Navy Rescue Helicopter, Pebble Mill at One

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Photos by Bhasker Solanki, no reproduction without permission.

These photos are of a Royal Navy rescue helicopter appearing on Pebble Mill at One, and landing on the back lawn.

Thanks to Bhasker Solanki for sharing the photos.

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

Stuart Gandy: ‘Yes, I remember this, but this was not the only time we had aircraft at the mill. We also had a helicopter land on the font lawn, and the harrier on the club field, twice. These were the kind of big event things that put Pebble Mill and BBC Birmingham well and truly on the map.’

Jean Palmer: ‘It was all very exciting. The best was the harrier.’

David Gregory-Kumar: ‘The legend I was always told was it blew the garden shed clean over!’

Nick Owen: ‘My brother started playing Terry Barford in The Archers about 1979 – I think he did some publicity photos for his character being in the army arriving in a helicopter on the pebble mill lawn?’

Eurwyn Jones: ‘I remember them so well, the programmes were usually directed by John Smith.’

Stephen Adams: ‘I was a GPO apprentice based at Pebble Mill whilst all this was going on. I thought wow so this is what broadcasting is all about! Needless to say I changed careers into TV as soon as I could. Never looked back. Thank you PM!’

Richard Stevenson: ‘Before my time sadly, but I very much doubt it would be allowed these days. Believe Noel used to land at the club too?’

Gail Herbert: ‘Pebble Mill must have been the only office block where we would constantly have to say to people on the phone to hang on a minute ’cause there was a helicopter/plane/etc outside the window. Utter magic!’