Asian Programme Unit Producers

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The Asian Programme Unit producers: Yousaf Aziz, Waseem Mahmood, Krishan Gould and Bish Mehay. Seated is Ashok Rampal, the executive producer.

Thanks to Waseem Mahmood for sharing the photo.

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

Waseem Mahmood: ‘This must have been about 1984. We all worked on the BBC 1 Asian Magazine programme that went out on Sunday morning, Gharbar that went out on BBC 2 on Wednesday mornings and the Radio 4 programme Make Yourself at Home which also went out on Sunday.’

Lynne Cullimore: ‘I worked there for a while. Worked on many interesting stories and of course the music. I was there when Nahrendra was in charge!’

Dawn Trotman: ‘I worked on the programme. I even sunk up Bish’s feature film in his garage ! Many stories abound about the shooting of the film in Birmingham ! I later worked on Network East some of the old team remained but a new boss.’

Rosalind Gower: ‘So great to see this lovely bunch again. Thanks’

Jane Ward: ‘Wow! Agree with Rosalind Gower – how lovely to see them all in this pic. I worked with them on Gharbar and Asian Magazine – 1986-87. The Midlands Today set would come out of Studio B for filming Asian Magazine and then be put back in again just in time for afternoon news. I used to love the bands that sat on the floor and played great music.’

Mary Sanchez: ‘I worked as part of my secretarial training on Asian Network and Ebony then onto news where indeed we doubled up with Asian Network and News in same studio.’

Jonathan Dick

Jonathan Dick (centre) at the 2016 Midlands Today reunion. Thanks to Jane Green for sharing the photo













Jonathan Dick, who was an RSA on Midlands Today, died very suddenly overnight on 17/18th April. David Croxson worked with him at BBC World News. He writes that Jonathan was always calm, collected, very witty and thoroughly professional, and that we are all in complete shock at this desperately sad news.

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

Jane Green: ‘Jonathan and I were RSAs together in the 80s on Midlands Today. He was the intellectual on the team, a brilliant vision mixer (the master of E-Flex and Charisma too), was unflappable in a tense gallery, and had a fantastic sense of humour.

Together, he and I took responsibility for saving all the regional TX and rushes bloopers onto a compilation tape, and when we saw each other the past few years, we recalled things like David Stevens’ forecasting the weather as ‘matchy pists’ and the BBC logo falling off the wall during Brian Conway’s breakfast bulletin. Jonathan’s hands were once seen dancing in shot in the pres studio as he tried to help the poor presenter who was failing on the self opt desk whilst reading the news. Most mishaps seemed to happen in the self-opt pres studio. Neither of us knew where that tape ended up after we left Midlands Today.

We had some fun times out in Brum in the 80s too, and last time I spent the day with Jonathan at BBC Parliament, I gave him some of the photos of him that I’d found, from a very boozy lunch a group of us had at ‘Jonathan’s’ restaurant about 1988. I never heard Jonathan say a bad word about anyone. He was a gentleman and so very kind. I’m still in shock from the awful news that we’ve lost him.”

Lynda Maher: ‘Such sad and shocking news. I worked with Jonathan as an RSA and when I moved onto studio directing he was by my side as VM, always helpful and encouraging and also great fun. He always stayed calm when things went wrong and I learned a lot from him.’

Gary Hudson: ‘I worked with Jonathan in the late 80s on Midlands Today, and I’d been in touch again on Facebook for the last three or four years. A very funny chap, who’ll be greatly missed. This is a photo he posted from Ariel when we won the RTS award.’

Darren New: ‘Very sad to hear this. I worked with Jonathan as a RSA in the Pebble Mill newsroom. I’m in the photo that Gary posted. The one thing I remember his his dry sense of humour and he would say it as it is. And he was a very good vision mixer.’

Maria Needle: ‘I worked with Jonathan and he was one of the nicest guys in telly. If ever I went into a show after him, I used to steal his DVE moves and copy them on to my disk! He was such a technical genius.’

Mary Sanchez: ‘I worked with Jonathan at Pebble Mill . He was a whizz kid on our vision mixing desk on Midlands Today and a lovely colleague too.More recently caught up with him at a reunion where we swapped funny memories and pottery tips on F/B…’

Jonathan Dick in N8 TVC. Photo from David Croxson

Dear Octopus 1959

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Dear Octopus was transmitted on BBC television on 10th January 1960. It was produced at Gosta Green in Birmingham. The drama is set at a reunion of the Randoph family.

Joyce Hawkins worked on the costumes for the drama. Thanks to her for sharing this publicity photograph of Michael Denison, from the production.

Chloe Gibson was the director, and the play was written by Dodie Smith.

Michael Denison played Nicholas Randolph and Gwen Ffrangcon Davies played Dora Randolph.

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

Colin Pierpoint: I think I do remember it. Each of the characters was a bit weird in some way or other. Now I think of it the son ends up behaving like a baby at the end, with the parents encouraged by this, even though he is about 40. It was so way out, I thought it worthy of a Pebble Mill drama!’

Mary Sanchez: ‘I worked with Michael Denison and Dulcie Gray on Howard’s Way too- lovely almost regal like couple! They didn’t mind being driven around locations in my massive mini bus and were always very appreciative!! Climbing in and out …They invited me to their house in Amersham for tea, I never did go but they were very sweet indeed!’

Jane Green: ‘Ah! Michael was married to Dulcie Gray who played Kate Harvey in Howards Way. When we were filming near Southampton they gave me a lift back to my hotel in their car – which he proudly told me he’d bought off Princess Diana’s dad.(Dulcie was friends with the Queen Mum and used to go to Clarence House a lot for tea) The Denisons were a lovely, giggly, fun couple. Photo is of AFM Alison Symington and me on location standing infront of ‘Jan Howard’s’ car. About 1986.’

Regional Clubs Day 1990

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These photographs were published in the BBC newspaper, Ariel, in July 1990. They were taken at the annual Regional Clubs Day held at Pebble Mill.


The second photo shows the Midlands winning badminton team, including Arif ?, Jane Dance, Pippa Jones (Graphics), ?.

The photos were originally shared on the Pebble Mill Engineers’ Facebook page.

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

Craig Wood: ‘Front row, second in on the left is my good pal, Mike Brown. Who I worked with in graphics. Very sadly passed away a few years ago.’

Ruth Barretto: ‘Front row: Colin ? Mike brown, Karen Hewson, Richard Pearson, middle row: Jane Dance Bartley, Maria Hurley, Lynne ? Julie Adams, David Wayne, Mary Sanchez’

First digi-prompt

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This photo shows Barbara Steele operating the first news digi-prompt machine at Pebble Mill, circa 1990.

This photo was originally posted on the Pebble Mill Engineers’ Facebook page, thanks to Stuart Gandy for allowing it to be shared here.

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

Keith Warrender: Autocue prior to this was generally known as the loo roll. It was manually typed with approximately three or four words per line and was hand cranked along to the speed the presenter needed to speak. They saw a magnified monitor below the camera. It was exciting if an item was dropped due to time or for a more important news story and frantic scrolling was required to go to the next news item. Corrections to Autocue were made with sellotape and scissors!

Mary Sanchez: Yes lovely Barbara… saw her recently and she’s still looking the same! So glamorous! She does not age! On the digi front – I worked on it in the 80’s when first started at Pebble Mill ( Daytime Live-Pamela Armstrong show)and yes indeed we typed about 2 words to a line in some loo roll looking paper and while on air if there were any changes we wrote them in manually and if there were any major cuts we literally cut out the paragraph and stuck it back together with sellotape during a VT!!! Hilarious! Happy manic memories! It’s very different these days in our Midlands Today newsroom!