OB truck audio equipment

Self op studio sixes MF












Photo taken in 2003 by Martin Fenton in the radio area at Pebble Mill, no reproduction without permission

This jumble of decommissioned equipment is probably the inside of one of the radio stereo control vehicles.


The Archers – Adam is Gay, recycling bin

Photo by Martin Fenton, no reproduction without permission

Photo by Martin Fenton, no reproduction without permission

Radio Studio 3 main exit. Note the paper recycling bin. There was something of a hoo-ha when the “Adam is gay” storyline from The Archers was leaked to the press. Pebble Mill had had one of its community open days the previous weekend. Nobody had thought to remove the big cardboard box full of yet un-broadcast scripts!

Martin Fenton

The Archers’ stairs

3 different staircases, wardrobe MFPhoto by Martin Fenton, no reproduction without permission.

This photo was taken in 2003 in Radio Studio 3 at BBC Pebble Mill. It shows three differently textured staircases – carpet, concrete and metal, so that the sound effects on The Archers and other radio dramas were authentic.

Martin tells me that it was usually the technical staff doing ‘spot’ sound effects on radio drama who would walk up the stairs, rather than the actors themselves, but sometimes the actors also used them.

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

Richard Abraham: ‘Once did spot for a single episode of the Archers. When you’ve jiggled four belts to emulate bridle noise behind Sara Coward & Judy Bennett then you’ve really lived. Largely because to get their voices right for riding they shifted from one Foyt to the other. Their bottoms were a joy to behold!’

Carolyn Davies: ‘Definitely both the spot fx person and actors used them….think there was a fake door at the top….and it wasn’t just the Archers, ST3 did tonnes of radio drama..’

Peter Wild: ‘It was a bit of both. If you can it’s always best to get the actor to do it for real. Sometimes that just isn’t practical. I directed many scenes on those stairs – which offered four surfaces. Take the carpet off and you have bare wood.’

Maggie Humphries: ‘My claim to fame is my ‘laughing’ dubbed onto a girl in a market in Israel with Topol for a documentary made by the Pebble Mill at One team…….’

Hedli Nik: ‘My great claim to fame is being Juliet Stevenson’s feet running down the stairs in Jane Austen! I did have a part as well…’


Radio Studio 3 dead room

Studio 3 dead room CCTV MF

Studio 3 dead room soft end MF

Studio 3 dead room hard end MF

Studio 3 dead room, with carpet, gravel MF































Photos by Martin Fenton, no reproduction without permission.

Martin took these photos at BBC Pebble Mill in 2003.

The first photo is of the radio Studio 3 dead room CCTV. Exterior scenes, of The Archers were recorded in this acoustically dead room, linked to the control room via this black-and-white CCTV camera.

When DAB started, this CCTV circuit caused problems. We received a helpful letter from a lifelong Archers fan, whose dog had started to bark uncontrollably whenever there was a scene set outdoors. It was the flyback from the CCTV monitor, which had previously been truncated on VHF but came through loud and clear on DAB for those creatures able to hear it…

The second photo is of the ‘soft’ area of the dead room, with the third photo being of the ‘hard’ area.

Spot Effects Store Room

spot effects store room 1 MF Spot effects store room MF





















Photos by Martin Fenton, no reproduction without permission.

These photos were taken in 2003 at Pebble Mill, they show the radio spot effects store room. The room may look like a jumble of assorted domestic bits and pieces, but it was the source of the spot effects used in radio dramas, primarily The Archers.

Thanks to Martin Fenton for sharing the photographs.