The day the Pebble Mill studio opened

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-england-birmingham-29109003/the-day-pebble-mill-studio-opened-in-1971

This link is to a clip from Nationwide on 15th June 1971. Midlands Today presenter, Tom Coyne gives a guided tour of the brand new Pebble Mill studios. Included in the tour are Studio B, the home of Midlands Today; Studio A, where many dramas were produced; and the Radio studios, home to The Archers, we also see Radio WM in action. There is no mention of Pebble Mill at One, because the programme had not yet been planned.

Thanks to Malcolm Hickman for sharing the link.

Still from Tom Coyne’s piece on Nationwide. Copyright BBC.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Keith Warrender:’The EMI cameras were still going in 1983 when they were replaced with Link 125s. Link are long gone but the old factory is still standing unused in Andover.’

Sue Astle: ‘Such an amazing exciting time for us then, we were privileged to have worked there. Susie Bancroft. Ex make up’

Sarah Tongue: ‘My mom ran the Library!’

Helen Smith: ‘Loved watching that, my Dad was the cameraman at the beginning of the clip.’

Michael Fisher: ‘Radio Birmingham as it was at the start!’

Andy Marriott: ‘What was the little mini cart system they were using for spot effects, called?’

Malcolm Hickman: ‘It was a device called a P.E.G. Programme effects generator. They used a spool of tape in a case with a metal loop fitted at one end. When you inserted the cartridge, the machine grabbed the tab and cued the effect. It had loads of slots so a sequence of effects could be built up. A BBC designs department product, IIRC.’

Sue Welch: ‘Actually remember Tom Coyne from Tyne Tees Television. A very long time ago.’

Malcolm Adcock: ‘Happy memories, joined Top Gear in 1988 and our production office was later in the old Pebble Mill at One studio area.’

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Comms Centre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks to Stuart Gandy for sharing this photo of the Comms Centre at Pebble Mil. It probably dates from the early noughties. The Comms Centre handled all the radio and vision circuits coming in and out of BBC Pebble Mill.

The photo was first shared on the Pebble Mill Engineers Facebook group.

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

Malcolm Hickman: ‘Dear departed Graham Todd and I were attached to P&ID to build that. Probel supplied the routing system but didn’t appreciate what we wanted. Took 2 man years of programming effort of get it right.’

Andy Marriott: ‘I loved working there. My first proper job in the BBC. I’m going to hazard a guess that it’s towards the end of its life. Certainly post 2001 which is when I left. The old DOS mode CBIS machine appears to have gone from the right of the desk and there appears to be an LCD screen on the left that I don’t remember being there. Interestingly the left bank of Trilogy panels appear to be missing, could they have possibly been taken for use in the Mailbox? Which would put us squarely in 2004.’

Andy Walters: ‘WMs transmitter lines and the inter local radio programme sharing circuits and control systems​ went through there too along with those for network radio.’

Richard Taylor: ‘And the Energis distribution system and Digital TV, both 601 for the studios (those bays are in the background left) and ‘Freeview’ or DTT as it was then. The BBC1 DTT off airs can be seen to the left of the desk displays. BBC2 was to the right. I suspect it was close to 2003? Best desk I ever worked on and I include London Switching Centre and Cardiff CC. And it’s tidy, so can’t have been taken on my shift!’

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BBC Landrover and Eagle Tower

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

The photograph shows two men working on a Marconi Mk3 camera belonging to MCR 15 or 16. Is anyone able to identify them? In the background are two Midlands Eagle Tower radio links vehicles. The Landrover was registered in 1967, so the photo might have been taken at Carpenter Road. If you can add any more information, please add a comment.

Thanks to Robin Stonestreet to letting me know about this photograph.

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

Malcolm Hickman: ‘It’s certainly a Midland tower in front, but I don’t recognise the location or the two guys. There were 3 land rovers in Brum in the early 70s. Two on links, one long and one short wheelbase with no side windows and a sound OB with windows. All had BBC Midland logos on. Plus there is a white building in the background, Carpenter Road was red brick. Kendal Avenue was white painted.’

David Kirkwood: ‘Fond memories of the Marconi Mk3. Not sure it’s Birmingham though equally not sure where else they still used that camera in 1967?

Glynne Dummett: ‘Operated the Eagle Tower many times, was a bitch to drive with the cage forever banging on the cab roof.’

Keith Brook (aka Scouse): ‘ Remember the Marconi from my Ally Pally days. Such fun when I sent the turret the ‘long way’ round!

 

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Top of the Form – from Gosta Green

Here are a couple of script pages from an outside broadcast of the quiz show Top of the Form, mixed at Gosta Green in 1964. The show started as a radio quiz in 1948, and finished in 1986, with the television version running between 1962-1976.

Thanks to Malcolm Hickman for finding and sharing the scripts.

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

Pete Simpkin: ‘Fascinating…seems odd now that they were still using the term ‘telerecording’ which referred to the original system of recording of programmes onto a film camera pointing at a monitor! It was still in use in London at the time!’

 

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Alastair Yates on Midlands News

Alistair Yates 1979

Our tribute to Alistair Yates continues with a full BBC Midlands, News, Whats On and Closedown from 1979. All 9 minutes worth. RIP Alistair.

Posted by TVARK on Friday, 28 July 2017

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

A Midlands News broadcast, presented by Alastair Yates, from 1979. Alastair left Pebble Mill for Grampian in 1980. The broadcast had been recorded by Chris Howles on a Philips N1700 format tape, and donated to TVArk.

The prompter seems not to be working at the beginning of the broadcast, with Alastair doing a wonderful job of reading off the script, whilst looking up from time to time. The cartoon over the weather seems very odd, and then the prompter seems to be working properly after that. The news seems to consist of a litany of crime, followed by a list of what’s on in every single theatre in the region! This was one of the last ‘closedown’ broadcasts to be done from the Midlands, due to an economy drive! Nothing new about BBC cut-backs!

Thanks to Chris Howles for bringing the clip to my attention.

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

Bryan Sharpe: ‘Alastair gave me my first insight into radio.. when he used to be AL KAY at BBC Radio Derby… in 1974… I was 12ish and later went on to work at Radio Derby then onto work at Pebble Mill and eventually as senior director at BBC Nottingham… thanks AL!!’

Malcolm Hickman: ‘Haven’t I seen Alastair on BBC World?’

Jonathan Dick: ‘Alastair was indeed a presenter on BBC World, where I had the pleasure of directing him on many occasions.’

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