1984 Spring and Summer line-up













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

This page from the 1984 Pebble Mill News, includes an article about David Waine’s press briefing about Pebble Mill’s output: 500 hours of network TV, 1,000 hours of network radio, and 160 hours of regional television. Highlights include a new Saturday night light entertainment show, new series of Top GearKick Start and Top Sailing, as well as Now Get Out of That, Gardeners’ World, Asian Magazine, and Gharbar. On the drama front there is mention of The Groundling and the Kite, Phoebe, The Amazing Miss Estelle, and Morte d’Arthur. 

Network Radio was also busy, with a new Radio 4 series of Enterprise, and Rollercoaster,  as well as hosting a Schools Radio Festival hosted by Sue Lawley, Rolf Harris and Duncan Goodhew.

In regional television there were new series of, Midlands Sound and Midlands Tonight, and a television version of Malcolm Stent’s Radio WM series, In the Barmaid’s Arms.

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

Peter Poole: ‘I worked on The Barmaid’s Arms in Studio A. They had a good band called The Nightriders. This was before producer choice. After that regional TV could never afford Studio A.’

Pete Simpkin: ‘As producer of the Radio version of the Barmaids it was quite pleasant to be a member of the audience with the real beer and not have to worry about anything! I do remember that someone had crafted a tiny hole in the chest of Malc’s shirt to take the cable for his personal mic.’

Lynn Cullimore: ‘Yes, Peter it was Mike Sheridan and the Nightriders…I was the PA and I loved it. Malc was wonderful to work with and i did many programmes with him. Malcolm is still going too..doing shows and things. Mary someone or other did a brilliant set for it…cannot remember her other name but she was very good.’

Peter Poole: ‘Hi Lynn, it was great when regional TV could do shows like this. Do you remember who the producer was? Malcolm often did warm up for PM at One. He always did a great job entertaining the audience.’

Lynn Cullimore: ‘The Producer was John Clarke whom I worked with for a long time. I did many Studio A programmes at one time – do you remember The Garden Game?’

Stuart Gandy: ‘I do remember The Garden Game. Wasn’t it on during the Friday night opt slot? In those days regional programmes had two opt slots per week.’

Peter Poole: ‘I remember John he was great producer and a very nice man. It’s amazing the programmes produced on such small budgets. I didn’t work on The Garden Game but do remember it. One of the many panel shows in Studio A. I always enjoyed working on regional TV programmes. The production teams were lovely people.’

Pre-Pebble Mill buildings in Birmingham – Carpenter Rd – Dave Kirkwood

In Birmingham in the mid 60’s the BBC had offices and studios scattered
across the city including:

Carpenter Road, Edgbaston was the HQ for the region. The site for the building is now a housing estate. In the grounds you also found the Film Unit and the Outside Broadcast Garage.

In the 60’s the Midlands Region operated two TV OB Units and associated communications vehicles, and three radio OB units.

Further down the road there was a former church (cannot find the name of it)
which was the base for the ‘Midlands Light Orchestra’. See
http://www.turnipnet.com/mom/bbcmlo.htm for detailed history.

Dave Kirkwood

Radio Birmingham producer and presenter, Pete Simpkin remembers the Church Studio, ‘I am certain it became the home of Zella Records under the ownership of Johnny Haynes and gave many local groups the chance to get on disc. I produced a Malc Stent Album there in the 80s.’

Malcolm Stent – Radio WM Photocard

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

Malcolm presented on both Radio Birmingham and Radio WM, with ‘Folk Scene’ and ‘Malcolm Stent in the Barmaid’s Arms’.  He was often accompanied by his guitar, and never relied on scripts or running orders!  He was described on the BBC website as a ‘folk-singing humorist’.

Thanks to Stuart Gandy for making this Radio WM photocard available.

The following comments have been left by people who remember Malcolm’s show:

Lynn Cullimore: We were lucky enough to be able to pick up the Barmaid’s Arms from WM and do a TV version.  I
did several series with Malcolm Stent. He is still working and often does things with the comedian Don Maclean who I have only recently met up with again, as I also worked with Don. John Clarke was the producer for Regional TV. Malc is great fun and a lovely person.  I was the production assistant on barmaid’s arms for regional television and I loved it. The sets were fantastic – Mary Spencer was the designer and we had “customers” who had to have little tokens to get drinks as of course they were restricted! Malc and Rosie – yes her name was Mary Lloyd were brilliant. Oh happy days.

Andrew Langstone: Memories of ‘The Barmaid’s Arms’ with Malc and Rosie – those wonderful sound effects of a pub – clinking glasses and jolly background chatter. I think Rosie’s real name was Marie Lloyd [it was actually Mary Kendall]. The whole concept of a lunchtime in a pub with gentle banter and music ”from the juke box” was inspired – another of Mr Pickle’s ideas? It’s a pity BBC WM has such a different sound now – but that’s another story!

Tim Manning: The Barmaid’s Arms was a big success for Radio WM and for Malcolm, a daily chat show with its stereo pub sound effects in the background, and a cast of fictitious regulars (like Simon the Crisp Man). People used to turn up at Reception at the weekend asking for directions, and it’s one of very few local radio shows to have been turned into a regional opt-out TV series. All the music played was supposedly on the jukebox, although Rosie the barmaid did say she liked “those copulation albums”!  Yes, it was very much a John Pickles concept. He once said to me that he thought of that WM schedule as being “a bit like a street”, starting the day over the breakfast table with news and the papers, followed by coffee with friends and neighbours (The 206 Team), popping into the pub at lunch time (Barmaid’s Arms), then a quiet time after that before picking up the kids from school, or coming home from work in the rush hour. One of his most inspired ideas was the “romance” between Stuart Roper and Viv Ellis, which was only ever really mentioned in other programmes, until the surreal and wonderful fake OB of the wedding on April Fool’s Day.

Pete Simpkin: Malc bless him is still at work in his favourite medium the stage and regularly writes produces and stars in the Solihull Arts Centre Annual Traditional family pantomime. I was honoured to help him with the technical side of his early days at Pebble mill where he presented Folk Club on Radio Birmingham. We also shared some stage talent shows which I produced at the Old Rep theatre and I produced his famous album ‘Malc Stent is not a working class Millionaire.’ After the tragic axing of the Barmaid’s he went onto be the ‘Warm up’ man for ‘PM at One’.