Radio Studio 2

Photos by Martin Fenton, no reproduction without permission

Photos by Martin Fenton, no reproduction without permission

Studio 2 control room MF

Photo by Martin Fenton, no reproduction without permission

Photo by Martin Fenton, no reproduction without permission

































“This is the console in studio 2.  Studio 2 did more Big Band / studio music sessions and was multitrack. Studio 1 was more of an orchestral concert studio and had GP cababilities.”

Kath Shuttleworth

“It’s SSL 4000E, as Kath says in studio 2. I worked on them at Maida Vale, as a trainee we were told that it cost £2000 a channel! There was a similar desk in SCV6.”

Paul Hunt

“Ah… Studio 2 was my home from home…. So many memories…..”

Jane Ward


Radio Studio 3 Tape Library

Photo by Martin Fenton, no reproduction without permission

Photo by Martin Fenton, no reproduction without permission

Photo by Martin Fenton, no reproduction without permission

Photo by Martin Fenton, no reproduction without permission






















This photo is of the Radio Studio 3  tape library at Pebble Mill (used on The Archers, and many other radio dramas). All of the bird sound effects were verified by the RSPB, with explicit notes as to the times of year they could be used. We’d get letters otherwise…

Martin Fenton

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

Andy Walters: I think a lot of the tapes are now in the basement store at the Mailbox. I’ve definitely seen a master tape of the Archers signature tune down there along with the Midlands Today film archive.

Kath Shuttleworth: ‘The tapes were all transferred to CD for the move to The Mailbox. Those CDs have since been transferred onto hard drive and the sound effects are still used today, it’s just all a bit more high tech than a bank of tape machines! The original tapes were junked, apart from a few which I discovered contained missing episodes and rare Archers cast recordings. These were sent to archive and copies retained with The Archers team. Andy Walters, I don’t know what the tapes are in the basement. There were plenty of master tapes of the sig and vinyl copies too. Maybe someone brought them to The Mailbox as a momento! All the effects are now on a local server or hard drives of specific machines along with many other SFX collections. Well over 1TB when I last looked! We use two playout systems in studio (Spot On & Ableton Live). A lot of effects are still played in “live” for The Archers. All SFX are available to use at the click of a button and looping sounds is so much easier than it was in the days of 1/4″ tape!’

Andy Walters: ‘Possibly. There are a lot of programme tapes in the basement with codes that mean nothing to me. Or at least there were last time I was down there.’

Kath Shuttleworth: ‘If they’re still there we should take a look at them before they get junked as part of the current clear up regime! You never know, there could be a gem of a programme down there that’s missing from archive.’

AMS Logic 1 digital mixer

AMS Logic 1 Willie Stott












Photo by Willie Stott, no reproduction without permission, taken at the BBC OUPC.

This was the first digital mixer at Pebble Mill. It replaced the BBC Type D desk in Radio Studio 1.

Thanks to Peter Poole for sharing the photo.

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

Carolyn Davies: ‘It was revolutionary! It made drama editing and mixing (and even doc editing) a dream! Radio 4 doc editing was transformed by it, no more losing your sentences in the tape on the floor…. The AMS Audiofile attached was introduced by the late great Mark Decker, pioneer of digital audio editing in the BBC, he made sure Pebble Mill were streets ahead of every one else when it came to digital broadcasting. Its down side? The green on black screen made white lines on the road appear pink after a long days edit….’

Kathryn Shuttleworth: ‘I wouldn’t say that digital did anything better than analogue when we had this mixer as it was a fairly new technology at the time. We did end up replacing it though……….with an analogue Calrec desk!’

Prospero – Mark Decker

Mark Decker Prospero PP
























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

This article from the BBC retirees’ magazine, Prospero (November 2006), commemorates the dedicating of radio drama studio in the Mailbox, where The Archers is recorded, to the memory of sound designer, Mark Decker.

Thanks to Peter Poole for sharing this article.

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

Julian Hitchcock: ‘How very sad. In my own BBC years, everyone liked Mark immensely and respected his serious and thoughtful approach to the development of sound engineering. I am terribly sorry to hear this news. It’s touching to celebrate Mark’s work and commitment in this particular manner. I knew Sue well and offer her my deepest condolences.’

Ray Lee: ‘Mark was a true professional. He pioneered work with the Calrec Soundfield Mic, wich gave some atonishing results and when the stereo sound was listened to on headphones, you really could hear things coming from behind and over your head.’

Ed Billington: ‘As a studio attendant I worked with mark sitting up the studio’s a great chap always a gent am sorry to hear this news.’

Kath Shuttleworth: ‘I had the pleasure of working with Mark on The Archers and many other Radio Drama projects over the years both as Spot SM and Gram Op. I learnt so much from him and always admired his work. We worked together on moving the Radio Drama Studio from Pebble Mill to The Mailbox and I was gutted when we lost him. Today I sit in what was his chair at the front of the studio mixing The Archers and I can only hope that I do the job half as well as he did. He was truly inspirational, a complete gentleman, and still very much missed.’

Farming Today – Kathryn Shuttleworth

Anna Varle, Martin Poyntz-Roberts, Kathryn Shuttleworth













I did a short development attachment to the ‘Farming Today’ programme where I was able to get out and about recording and produced a couple of programmes. It was quite nice to hear my name being read out by Radio 4 continuity, even if it did appear to take the announcer by surprise!

Kathryn Shuttleworth

(This photo dates from the Mailbox era of BBC Birmingham)