John Holmes’s memories of working at Pebble Mill

John Holmes

I was fortunate enough to work at Pebble Mill during those heady days of regional TV when we had the luxury of not only ‘Midlands Today’ but two half hour opt-outs a week, Tuesday evenings and Friday nights.

That legendary producer Roger Casstles was the first to ask me to join the ‘Look! Hear!’ team as a presenter alongside Chris Phipps and Michael Woods. After the first series Michael left and Toyah Wilcox replaced him. At one time the programme was so popular we were receiving over 600 letters a week.

As a result John Clarke, another legend, asked me to present a new hobbies based series called ‘Sparetime’. The moment I saw the opening credits that Anne Jenkins had created I knew we were on to another winner.

The ground breaking programme ‘Together’ followed this. Ground breaking at the time because it focussed on the lives of communities that had settled in our region. The programmes objective was to bring us all closer together. I well remember the Sikhs of Coventry, the Muslims in Stoke, the Irish in Leicester and the Caribbean community in Handsworth, an OB.

If you have memories of this please contact me. They were halcyon days at The Mill.

I’ve written about it all in my autobiography, ‘This Is the BBC Holmes Service’.

For more details visit johnholmes.co.uk 

Siouxsie and the Banshees – Look! Hear!


Photos by Christopher Glover, no reproduction without permission.

Siouxsie and the Banshees being recorded in Studio A for Look! Hear! Produced by Roger Casstles. Look! Hear! was a regional music and culture show. The photos date from the mid-1980s.

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

Phil Dolling: This brings back memories I was a very junior sound assistant on the floor, I recall the drummer ‘Budgie’ had his fold-back set to terrifying levels with all the high frequencies wound up. It was like razor blades coming out of the speakers. A brilliant series, it caught a great moment in Midland’s music.

Annette Martin: I mixed it she was v good. Just spotted the lovely Ron Sowton Floor Manager in 2nd pic.

Richard Stevenson: It is pre-1987 when I joined as the new cameras were in by then. Probably the Heron crane – one man to drive it and the camera op had a pedal for up and down plus a second pedal to rotate the seat. If you got them mixed up it got very messy!

Black Sabbath at the Whitley Bay Festival

Tony Iommi and Chris Phipps

Dick Carruthers, Tony Iommi and Chris Phipps

“Tony Iommi reminisced about his life with Black Sabbath in an interview with Chris Phipps at a capacity audience event at the Whitley bay Film Festival.

Chris presented Black Sabbath on BBC Pebble Mill based arts show Look! Hear! 40 years ago this year.

Tony Iommi received a standing ovation.

They were also joined by director Dick Carruthers who directed  Black Sabbath, the end of the end feature movie.

The  Festival is also screening  “Squire!”  the 2nd City First play  shot at Pebble Mill in 1974 starring Lindisfarne’s Alan Hull and directed by Barry Hanson.

Photos by Miriam Phipps Bertram, no reproduction without permission.”

 

Chris Phipps

Chris Phipps with Black Sabbath again!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Broadcaster and music historian Chris Phipps was asked to complete a  50 year  history with metal masters Black Sabbath by  co-interviewing the original lineup in Dublin for the movie “BLACK SABBATH – THE END”.

Chris  interviewed them regularly in the 70s for BBC Radio Birmingham’s rock show “HEAVY PRESSURE”  and  introduced them in a rare live appearance on BBC Midlands “LOOK! HEAR!” when they were fronted  by Ozzy Osbourne’s replacement — now a collector’s item for Sabbs fans.

You can see the results  on Sky Arts this MARCH–“a great honour to see them again on great form and work again with  director Dick Carruthers”, says Chris.

Chris Phipps & Janice Rider at Kaleidoscope Event

Photo from Janice Rider, no reproduction without permission

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks to costume designer, Janice Rider, for sharing this photo, of her with Chris Phipps, taken at the archive organisation, Kaleidoscope’s event on Sept 2nd 2017.

“I attended an interesting talk last week at a Kaleidoscope Event held at Birmingham City University – an interview with my old friend and colleague Chris Phipps, former Radio WM broadcaster and presenter of Look! Hear! and later the booker for bands on The Tube and producer for Zenith North. Lovely to discover his passion for music is undimmed – he has just worked on a documentary about Black Sabbath’s last performance and is publishing a book next year.”

Janice Rider

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