Sophia and Constance request

Photo by Neil Wigley, no reproduction without permission

Photo by Neil Wigley, no reproduction without permission













I received the request below from Stephen Corcoran:

“In the April of 1988, a BBC TV drama serial was shown on BBC2 called Sophia and Constance. It was an adaption of Arnold Bennett’s The Old Wives’ Tale. It was filmed here in the Pebble Mill studios. I enjoyed the serial very much. It has never been shown again or released on DVD. Most people have forgotten about it. I strongly feel – that serial was very underrated and didn’t receive the attention it should done by the pubic. It was a brilliantly made classic serial by team at Pebble Mill. Well acted and filmed. Very good period details with lovely costumes too. A lot of work had go into at the time. I’m going to write to the BBC, to ask them if I could get hold of a copy of the serial on DVD. I would be willing to pay cost however much it costs. It would be like a dream come true, to see again this fine classical serial. Does anyone here have any suggestions of how to go about getting hold of a copy? Or perhaps someone has their own personal copy? Suggestions would be very much appreciated. Thank you.”

Stephen Corcoran

Here is the Radio Times entry for the first episode of the serial, courtesy of the BBC Genome project . I love the fact that the elephant gets a credit:

“written by JOHN HARVEY based on The Old Wives’ Tale by ARNOLD BENNETT The first of six parts with Patricia Routledge and Alfred Burke
Headstrong and proud,
Sophia struggles against the wishes of her family while her sister Constance – quiet, but no less passionate – accepts a future in the family draper’s shop. Then, when the Wakes Week festivities are at their height, Sophia’s impetuous and romantic nature leads to tradegy.
Arnold Bennett ‘s greatest novel spans 50 years, from the middle of the 19th century to the first decade of the 20th. The story ranges from the Potteries town of Bursley to Paris, as the contrasting lives of the two sisters unfold.
Script editor SIMON PASSMORE
Executive producer COUN ROGERS Producer JOHN HARRIS Directed by ROMEY ALLISON , HUGH DAVID
Written By: John Harvey
Unknown: Arnold Bennett
Unknown: Patricia Routledge
Unknown: Alfred Burke
Unknown: Arnold Bennett
Music: Geoffrey Burgon
Editor: Simon Passmore
Producer: John Harris
Directed By: Romey Allison
Directed By: Hugh David
Samuel Povey: Nigel Bradshaw
Constance: Catherine Cusack
Sophia: Melissa Greenwood
Mrs Barnes: Patricia Routledge
Maria Insull: Freda Dowie
Mr Critchlow: Alfred Burke
Mr Baines: John Scott Martin
Maggie: Penny Lea Therbarrow
Dr Harrop: Jon Croft
Gerald Scales: Leonard Preston
Elephant: Rani”
The following comments were left on the Pebble Mill Facebook page:
Marie Phillips: ‘I remember the painting of this series which hung in the corridor at Pebble Mill. I always stopped to look at it and find something new. Actually, I would have loved to have had that painting. Anyone remember it and know what happened to it. I do hope it didn’t get binned. The series was truly one of the BBC’s best and another triumph for Pebble Mill.’
Carolyn Davies: ‘It was in production in Studio A the day I joined Pebble Mill. I have a very strong memory of walking past the studio tx lights, not quite believing I was actually going to be working there….’
Kevin Lakin: ‘I worked on this, a lot of the exteriors were shot at the Black Country Living Museum, we were there for about 3 weeks.’
Richard Stevenson: ‘One of my first dramas as a trainee. I believe Phil Wilson was camera supervisor with Alan Duxbury and Robin Sunderland on the crew and probably Mark Scott.’

Tom O’Connor Roadshow – Jim Clelland

Jim Clelland JM











Photo by Jane Mclean, no reproduction without permission.

The photo is from the Tom O’Connor Roadshow, a touring live entertainment show. It was a BBC1 Daytime show which went out at midday in 1987. It shows Jim Clelland on stage, carrying out a lighting check; Jim was an Engineering Manager.

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

Keith Brook (Scouse), talking about Jim’s hand signal: ‘It’s a signal to one of the sparks to stop lowering the light, or panning it up, for example.’

Kevin Lakin: ‘Foreground is John Potter ( props ), a brilliant bloke who sadly passed away a year or so after this picture was taken.’

Alan Jessop: ‘Jim’s son Iain works with us at CTV Outside Broadcasts’

Great Expectations

Great Expectations Kevin Ladkin











Photo from Kevin Lakin, no reproduction without permission.

‘Before’ and ‘after’ shot, of how a stone cottage was turned into a wooden one, for the 12 part BBC drama series: Great Expectations.  The Charles Dickens adaptation was transmitted in 1981. I think this series was a London production, hosted at Pebble Mill.

The BFI database lists Michael Edwards as the production designer, and the film cameraman as John Kenway. The director was Julian Amyes; the producer, Barry Letts; script editor, Terrance Dicks; the adaptation by, Andrew James Hall; music by Paul Reade.

Thanks to Kevin Lakin for sharing the photos.

Peta Newbold producing Pebble Mill at One

Peta Newbold producing Magnus Magnusson and John Pilger MW

Photo by Maggy Whitehouse, no reproduction without permission.

The photo shows Peta Newbold producing Magnus Magnusson and John Pilger on Pebble Mill at One, in the Foyer Studio (Studio C). John Westcott ( Floor Manager ) is by the doors, Richard Hindson ( scene crew ) holding the block.

(Thanks to Kevin Lakin for identifying some of the crew).

Richard Griffiths – Bird of Prey

Bird of Prey II camera script Kevin Lakin






















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

Thanks to Kevin Lakin for sharing this camera script for the Pebble Mill drama: Bird of Prey II.

Bird of Prey was a four part thriller produced at Pebble Mill, which went out in 1982. Bird of Prey II was the sequel series, which went out in 1984. Both series starred actor Richard Griffiths, as civil servant Henry Jay. Richard, 65, died yesterday after complications following a heart operation. He was well known for playing character parts like Uncle Monty in Withnail and I, Uncle Vernon in Harry Potter, and Hector in The History Boys.

Richard Griffiths