Steve Weddle by John Williams

Daytime Live special 1990, ‘My Name is Jane’, audience photo. Copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The whole country is in a state of shock, but shock associated with the sudden loss of losing someone close concentrates the mind wonderfully and I recognise all the comments that have poured out on Facebook regarding Steve Weddle’s death. They do tick all the boxes. This is what happened to me when our son had a stroke and ended up in Worcester hospital fighting for his life.  As a therapy I used the time to write, “Shoot First No Ordinary life,” the story of my BBC career at Pebble Mill which many of you have read.

What a character Steve was and yes taken far too young, for he had much more to offer this life. There were things about him I could never get my head round, like rushing off to London with only the flimsiest of reasons to find time with Hot Spurs or some name like that. There were his books of course, and BBC pensioners meeting every month will certainly not be the same without him, especially as he always dominated the Raffle presentations. But there was much more to this larger than life character than meets the eye, especially for me personally.

As editor of Daytime Live behind all the facade and bonhomie was someone who was deep, showed great courage in his work, often moving where many ‘feared to tread’, even prepared to gamble. Continue reading

Cameraman, John Williams remembers John Kenyon

John Kenyon

Really sorry to hear of John’s death. He was one of the youngest Exec Producers in the BBC and ran the half-hour Sunday farming programmes 52 weeks of the year. He had a very small staff just two directors, I think 3 Pas, plus two well respected farming presenters, John Cherrington, later his son Dan, and David Richardson. Later, he was joined by Ken Pollock.

It was specifically aimed at farmers and took a look at food production across Britain and Europe including the Common Market. One crew a week would be allocated, which took us around the country and it opened my eyes to the wonders of food production from the abattoir, to growing watercress and our Christmas dinner, be that turkey or goose!

Later on in my career I would often talk with him about broadening the programme, but it never happened although in my mind his programme was the forerunner of the now very successful Countryfile programme that goes out Sunday nights.

John regularly gave me the chance to direct, by offering attachments; one I remember especially was on Dutch-Elm disease, a disease that has devastated the country of these fine trees. He was a good friend.

The following comment was left on the Pebble Mill Facebook page:

Andrew Thorman: ‘I never knew him but would like to think that those of us who followed in his path were walking a well trodden way.’

John Williams – memoirs and memories

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Memories from cameraman John Williams:

“50 years ago this month the first spade was put in ground that had been well prepared by a pioneering set of BBC Birmingham programme makers already established in producing quality programmes. It feels like yesterday. I’m not at all surprised this BBC network production centre, Pebble Mill Building, is now reaching iconic status and a commemorative plaque is to be displayed on the “Circle Healths” new building at the Pebble Mill old site. A look at the history of its output across the whole range of broadcasting, radio and Television some still generating around the world today, is proof worthy of that status. It’s a building that should be remembered!

For those of us who had the privilege to work there it was a lifetime of opportunity placing Britain’s second city, together with the Midlands, on the world map, at no time were they let down. I like to think we were a family with all that entails, and that family still shows itself, meeting every month as pensioners support one another and reminisce on the good old days. My one hope is the BBC has not lost this family and is still there amongst my colleagues working in the brave new world.

At Christmas I ran out of my self published memoirs “Shoot First, No ordinary life,” (it’s gone down really well, over 240 sold at cost price of £14), the story of my 30 year career at Pebble Mill. Those reading my book have said it’s a history and they had no idea of the diversity of that building, I was just the fortunate one who touched on many of its areas. People asked me to print more, these have now arrived. Anybody interested who would like a copy please e mail me: john@willbriar.myzen.co.uk.”

John Williams, cameraman

John’s book: Shoot First

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The Other Woman Cast and Crew

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Included in the photo are: Michael Simpson, Michael Gambon, David Rose, Jane Lapotaire, Lynn Frederick, Gavin Davies (production designer, right handside next to Andy Meikle),Andy Meikle (production coordinator, far right with beard), 2nd row, Jan Nethercot (make-up designer), Sue Peck (dresser), Stephanie Hawkes (dresser) Tudor George (costume designer, behind and between Sue and Steph), Richard Ganniclift (cameraman).

Thanks to Janice Rider, Terry Powell, Susie Astle, Wendy Edwards for adding in names. Please add a comment if you can identify others.

The Other Woman was a Play for Today, broadcast on 6th January 1976.

Here is the synopsis from the Radio  Times, from the BBC Genome project:

“The Other Woman by Watson Gould

Kim, an angry young artist, disrupts the lives of Robin, a family man, and Niki, a temp sec – for whom she is the other woman.’
BBC Birmingham

Contributors

Writer: Watson Gould

Film Editor: Henry Fowler
Film cameraman: John Williams
Producer: David Rose
Designer: Gavin Davies
Director: Michael Simpson
Script Editor: William Smethurst
Kim: Jane Lapotaire
Robin: Michael Gambon
Niki: Lynne Frederick
Aunt Darnley: Barbara Atkinson
Miles Darnley: Leon Sinden
Rose: Rosalind Adams
Louise: Eve Pearce
Ben: Benedict Taylor
Lois: Martyn West
Barman: John Joyce”

The following comments were left on the Pebble Mill Facebook page:
[Also in the photo are:]
Terry Powell: ‘Tudor George costume designer. My very good friend who I’ve worked with the last 25 years. Who as I text we are now designing. Comic relief together.’
Susie Astle: ‘Jan Nethercot, make up designer. Sue Peck costume. Steph dresser.’
Janice Rider: ‘As Susie said from left 2nd row correct but Sue Peck would have been a dresser then I imagine and Stephanie Hawkes next to her , probably costume assistant and Tudor George ( between Jan & Sue Peck – also known as Dist – would have been the costume designer as Terry says .’
Tim Dann: ‘Alfie Mayall..scene crew behind Sue & Steph.’
Gillian Hardle: ‘Left of camera with arms folded looks like Rob Prosser — grip; Camera asst Richard Ganiclifft is seated behind the camera next right looks like Chrissie Marshall and right of her is Bert Round – gaffer electrician. I recognise everyone but can’t put names to faces.’
Lesley Weaver: ‘John Williams lighting film cameraman behind Gavin Davies maybe?’

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Trinity Tales

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This photograph of Alan Plater’s, Trinity Tales, (BBC2, 1975) includes, left to right: Bill Maynard, David Rose, Gaye Brown. It was taken on location at Wembley for the Rugby League Final. David, although the producer, obviously also wanted a Hitchcockian moment.

The following comment was left on the Pebble Mill Facebook page:

Steve Saunderson: ‘I did a couple of days as Focus Puller on this series. John Williams was the Cameraman and all I remember was that the “in vision” old mini-bus kept breaking down. I was lodging at the legendary “Mrs Meakings Theatrical Boarding House” at the time and so was Gaye Brown and one or two other cast members.’

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