Top Gear GTi












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

Thanks to Ian Collins for making this titles still from the Top Gear GTi series, which went out on the UKTV, UK Horizons channel.

Here is the entry from Wikipedia which explains the series,

“Top Gear GTi was a series of programmes broadcast by the BBC covering a variety of features such as car reviews, special features such as attending a driving school and motor shows. Essentially, GTi is an expansion on the main programme. The series was mainly presented by Vicki Butler-Henderson, although Steve Berry and Jason Bradbury appeared on the show at times. The show was the last of the spin-off series’ of Top Gear to be broadcast, airing between September 1999 and May 2001, with more than 100 episodes in its name. Unlike any other spin-off, Top Gear GTi was broadcast on a near daily timeslot on the UK Horizons channel.”

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

Sarah Wilkin Hodgson: ‘Did we even have a budget?!! It was fab fun though…..apart from when I blew the tyre on the tracking mondeo car…..can you remember the weeing incident Michelle in the Honda Jazz when we were stuck in traffic in Madrid?…..and how ill I was in Barcelona….!!!! ‘

Michelle Davies: ‘Yes I remember Madrid!! That was a crazy 24 hrs smile emoticon and yes I remember Barcelona, you were so poorly. Do you remember me fixing the minicam to the Audi TT (you were presenting) and it fell off and smashed to pieces on the A345?! Managed to save the rushes though – sorry Alan Miller! So many memories .’

Alan Miller: ‘The show was by UKTV standards quite well funded but BBC overheads certainly ate into that budget big time. We cut costs by shooting and editing everything ourselves. Everyone did their bit,. Driving tracking cars, rigging in car cameras, writing running orders and even supervising the final compile were all shared by the entire team including the PA. It was a very flat hierarchy I think. The directors and producer of course shot and edited their own items. With very little lead time before the first TX we had to generate 23 minutes per week ourselves towards the 46 minute long programme, which had of course commercial breaks. Despite the pressures it was great fun to work on and I was and still am proud of what the fantastic team achieved, sometimes beating the BBC1 Top Gear to be first to test new cars!’

Joolz Richards: ‘It was one of the most fun programmes I ever worked on, certainly. Plus, we got to travel and stay in some excellent hotels. I particularly remember Branson’s place in Mallorca with Mark Scott and Steve Berry – I directed one piece and actually got Steve to recite Shakespeare (not well admittedly, remember that northern accent????) as this hotel had a proper Juliet balcony. There was also one occasion in Barcelona where the other journos thought I was Steve’s wife… Jeez…We were looked down on massively by the main programme which I think we really loved!!!!! However, it gave all of us the opportunity to learn lots of skills we would never have been able to otherwise – writing scripts, driving filming vehicles, sound boom, second camera, directing, the list is endless. An excellent training ground. Fab memories.’

Tracey Bagley: ‘May I add … Yes you all did a great job and quite frankly at times I know it proved challenging. Alan Miller, I recall going through that budget with you and you then taking me through all the technical aspects of the self shooting / self editing ! The innovation …. Happy days .’

Alan Miller: ‘Hi Tracey. We certainly played around with the budget to get the most out of it. I am sure I could not have done the various “deals” which allowed us to work the way we did without your inestimable help. I always thought of you as a crucial part of the team.’

The Great Escape













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

The Great Escape was a BBC1 Daytime show, presented by Nick Knowles. It was transmitted in May and June 1997. The series was an interactive holiday show, which never escaped from its Pebble Mill studio!

Thanks to Ian Collins for making this titles grab available.

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

Joolz Richards: ‘I remember it very well. Tony Steyger was the Exec and I was his PA. It was Nick Knowles’ first BBC gig and it also featured a very young James Martin and Simon Calder as regular expert contributors. Chris Fox was one of the studio directors, Pam Creed was a producer for a while. We shot two shows a day in four day blocks over the bank holiday if I remember rightly. It was a bonkers show to work on and my very first experience of production!’

Linda Flavell: ‘I was PC on so e of it, particularly remember the show about Australian meats…kangaroo went down well..’

Gill Thompson: ‘Yes I remember this show, I organised the studio audience for it.’

Giorgio Locatelli: Pure Italian episode listing

Copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission

Copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission

In 2001-2 we made a 15 part series with Italian chef, Giorgio Locatelli, for the UK Food channel, at Pebble Mill. It was Giorgio’s first TV series. Below is the programme information which we supplied to UK Food:

“In this inspirational new series, Giorgio Locatelli gets fresh with timeless classics like tiramisu and osso bucco and seduces us with innovative interpretations of Italian dishes suffused with tempting Mediterranean flavours.

Importing only the finest Italian ingredients and savouring the choicest seasonal produce available, Giorgio Locatelli has pioneered a new ‘Britalian’ cuisine in the kitchens of Zafferano and Cecconi’s in London.

Food fashion has been dominated in the recent past by fusion and anything fast, but Italian cookery has always remained close to our hearts tempting us with the hint of Tuscan landscapes and three-hour lunches al fresco. In Giorgio’s hands we discover the delights of Italian food as he shows us how to find the finest and freshest ingredients and in his inimitable fashion turns them into mouth-watering modern menus.

In each episode we hook up with Giorgio out and about as he shops for vital ingredients. Then he welcomes us into his kitchen where perhaps he shows us how to make the perfect polenta and then, for the second dish, how to create something very special by introducing a contemporary twist on an Italian classic. In between dishes Giorgio gives us his guide to the best ingredients – perfect for entertaining.

The series is inspirational and full of the Italian passion and personality that influence the food so the viewer feels like a fellow guest in Giorgio’s kitchen.

Italians thrive on company and Giorgio is no exception. Throughout the series he is joined by fellow foodies, wine buffs and friends who stay for lunch and occasionally lend a hand. Giorgio Locatelli – Pure Italian is packed with fresh ideas to inspire the would-be chefs among us.

“Locatelli is the hottest thing since Calabrese salami in Italian restaurant cooking right now (Locanda Locatelli, London) and we’re here to tell you this guy’s food is exceptional.” John Lethlean, Epicure, The Age”


There were 15 episodes of Giorgio Locatelli: Pure Italian

Episode 1: North v. South. Giorgio is joined by Neapolitan chef Vincenzo Borgonzola to discuss the differences between the styles of cooking in the north and south of Italy.

Episode 2: Fish. Giorgio is joined by restaurateur Tony Allan, who is a great connoisseur of fish. Featured recipes chargrilled tuna with rocket and tomato salad; and frangipane tart.

Episode 3: Meaty. Butcher Clem Arricale joins Giorgio to prepare a selection of mouthwatering meat dishes, including Italian sausages with borlotti beans and calf’s liver with sultanas.

Episode 4: Savoury. A selection of Italian cakes and sweets are supplied by Ninai Zarach, an importer of fine Italian ingredients, who joins Giorgio in the kitchen for lunch.

Episode 5: Family. Giorgio is joined by his wife and daughter for a family meal. Recipes include buckwheat pasta with fontina cheese, leeks, cabbage and potato, entrecote of beef.

Episode 6: Food for the Boys. Giorgio prepares a meal for two friends, chef Andy Needham and fashion stylist Greg Faye. Dishes include beef carpaccio, potato and mint ravioli with a red pepper sauce.

Episode 7: Sunday Lunch. Top chef Giorgio Locatelli is joined by two friends, Italian cheese connoisseur Marco Vineis and chef Nick Bell, for Sunday lunch. This is classic Italian cuisine with a twist.

Episode 8: Quick Supper. Giorgio serves up some wholesome fast food to busy restaurateur Roy Ackermann: grilled tomini cheese with walnuts and pomegranates; and chargrilled chicken with spinach.

Episode 9: Entertaining Supper. Giorgio prepares an extravagant supper menu guaranteed to impress his friends and family. There is also a look behind the scenes in Giorgio’s restaurant to learn about wine.

Episode 10: Taste of Tuscany. Giorgio prepares a meal for chef Mario Bonaccorsi inspired by the flavours of Northern Italy. He also takes a trip to a specialist Italian delicatessen.

Episode 11: Pure Italian. Giorgio prepares a meal for his son and an old family friend using natural ingredients. He also visits London’s No 1 meat market and reveals his idea of the perfect cup of coffee.

Episode 12: Friends for Dinner. Pasquale D’Amico, head chef at one of London’s top Italian restaurants, is coming to dinner, so Giorgio prepares a meal to meet his friend’s exacting standards.

Episode 13: Special Celebration. Giorgio is joined by sushi chef Mark Edwards to prepare a selection of seafood dishes: baby octopus with tomato and bruschetta; and pears poached in wine and aromatic spices.

Episode 14: Colourful Cooking. Giorgio decides to use colourful ingredients to whet the appetites of his guests: chef Federico Sali and Benedetta Sita. He also explains why food presentation is so important.

Episode 15: Vegetarian. Giorgio prepares a selection of vegetarian dishes for market man Danny Murphy. He also takes a trip to Battersea in London, to visit a warehouse which houses a surprising secret.

I was the series producer, with self-shooting directors: Paul Vanezis and Paul Newman, and researcher: Joolz Richards.

Vanessa Jackson


Giorgio Locatelli: Pure Italian

Giorgio 1

Giorgio 2

Giorgio 3

Giorgio 4












































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

Article, about chef Giorgio Locatelli – I can’t remember the magazine, but possibly the Observer.

In 2001/2 BBC Pebble Mill made a 15 part cookery series, which was Giorgio Locatelli’s first TV cookery. I was lucky enough to be the series producer. Even though we had a tiny budget, of around £22,500 per half hour – I seem to remember, we loved making this series. The self shooting directors were Paul Vanezis and Paul Newman, who recorded the show on the Sony DSR 200. We used a professional sound recordist. Julie Richards was the researcher, and it was the first series that Ant Smith edited. We hired a terraced house with a beautiful kitchen in Kentish Town (fortunately the owner was abroad, as we rather took over the whole place), and recorded one show a day for three weeks. Giorgio was great to work with, and there was always good food to eat! Giorgio seemed to know everyone who was worth knowing – and even lived next door to Kate Winslet!

The motorbike, shown in the photo, was a mixed blessing. During the production period Giorgio had a bit of an accident on his motorbike – fortunately he was ok, but it shook us all up.

Vanessa Jackson

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

Joolz Richards: ‘It was, by far, the best programme I ever worked on. Hard work, very short turnaround time, great fun and incredible opportunities. Vanessa had to go into the edit after the first week of filming leaving me to direct Giorgio which was a challenge!!! Plus Federico, lovely Federico who made us lunch every day. Great memories.’

BigScreen Birmingham (Paul Newman): .’….and Steve who prepped the food and ate everything afterwards. I still make a couple of Giorgio’s recipes – the shoot was quite relentless but great fun – and our visits to markets and restaurant kitchens were unforgettable.’