Miriam O’Reilly on Pres desk

copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission













The photo is of Miriam O’Reilly operating the Midlands Today pres desk at Pebble Mill in 1990. This was a year before the big stereoification refurbishment of all the regional pres desks in 1991, which in turn led to the building of the pres gallery next door.

Notice the diamond-shaped strips sticking the ear-piece wire to behind Miriam’s ear, probably of toupee tape – I bet those hurt when they were pulled off. There’s also a handy reel of what looks like camera tape on the desk, carefully out of shot, in case of emergencies!

Thanks to Stuart Gandy for sharing this photo, which was originally posted on the Pebble Mill Engineers Facebook group.

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

Mary Sanchez: ‘Great photo! I used to sit to the right of her punching up the graphic slides and ‘floor managing’ timings etc from my chair! Seems so simple now!!’

Jane Green: ‘Miriam was I think the first to do the self-drive – presenting and pressing all the buttons. I was next to her when she did the Breakfast bulletin and instead of pressing the button to bring her name up on screen at the beginning, she cut to the end weather caption. Then something else, and so on. Poor lady! I could do nothing to help. At the end of the bulletin, she pointedly looked down to the buttons to find the right one to opt back to the network, and looked up and gave a lovely smile before opting back. She stayed calm throughout.’

Jonathan Dick: ‘I remember being in there with Janet Mayo, on one of the first times that she worked in that suite – probably around 1988/9. On the 0855 bulletin, she faded beautifully down-and-up from network to the BBC 1 Midlands symbol, said ‘This is BBC 1 for the Midlands’, then cut straight back to network sound and vision (now showing the South East News), rather than her camera. So we got SE News plus Janet’s voice over the top of it. Somewhat recklessly perhaps, I put my arm in from the side, trying to keep low, beneath the camera shot, and punched the camera button. As I moved back after doing this, I caught a lovely view of myself doing so in the TX monitor… not low enough, obviously. I then realised that I hadn’t stopped network sound from going out, so desperately inched my arm in once again, managing to stay out of view, except after I hit the requisite button, when my arm recoiled, and flew-up through the shot – at least I didn’t accidentally punch Janet on the jaw at that point! All was OK after that, and poor Janet kept on reading throughout my contortions beside and in front of her. I went nervously back into the newsroom afterwards, wondering what would be said, but nothing was – Roy Saatchi was there chatting to some colleagues, but nobody mentioned the incident. I thought I’d got away with it, until Mike Johnston arrived a few minutes later, and from the other end of the newsroom, saw me, pointed at me and shouted ‘Hey – star!!!’. Later in the morning my appearance was reviewed by several of us on the VHS ROT in Studio 9, with the tape being stepped forward a frame at a time, in order to determine my point of maximum visibility.’

Diane Kemp: ‘Yes, it hurt! The camera tape is how we stuck the wire to our necks. It’s all about the glamour you know!’





More Midlands Yesterday photos – Jane Ward


Brian Conway, Jane Ward, Kay Alexander


Ann Banks & Liz Silver


Mary Sanchez & Kay Alexander

midlands-yesterday-jw midlands-yesterday-3-jw midlands-yesterday-4-jw


























Photos from Jane Ward, no reproduction without permission.

These photos are from the Midlands Today reunion, entitled ‘Midlands Yesterday’, held at the Midlands Arts Centre on Saturday 3rd Sept 2016. A good time seems to have been had by all, judging by the smiles!






Midlands Yesterday – photos Maureen Carter

Here is a selection of photos from the Midlands Today reunion – entitled Midlands Yesterday, held on Saturday 3rd September 2016 at the Midlands Arts Centre. Thanks to Maureen Carter for sharing the photos.

Anita Bhalla, Sue Beardsmore MC

Anita Bhalla, Sue Beardsmore

Ann Gumbley Williams, Jim Knights MC

Ann Gumbley Williams, Jim Knights

Ann Banks MC

Sally Morris and Ann Banks

Jane Ward, Mary Sanchez, Kay Alexander MC

Jane Ward, Mary Sanchez, Kay Alexander

Maurice Blisson MC

Maurice Blisson

Pete Shannon, Gary Hudson MC

Pete Shannon, Gary Hudson

Pete Shannon, Maureen Carter, MC

Pete Shannon, Maureen Carter

Richard Uridge MC

Richard Uridge

Rick Thompson MC

Rick Thompson and Gill Thompson

Rick Thompson, Pete Shannon, Jim Knights, Maureen Carter, Cathy Houghton, MC

Rick Thompson, Pete Shannon, Jim Knights, Maureen Carter, Cathy Houghton,

Roz Gower MC

Roz Gower and Mike Wilkie

Roy Saatchi MC

Tony Francis and Roy Saatchi

Sue Beardsmore, Maureen Carter MC

Sue Beardsmore, Maureen Carter

Midlands Yesterday 2 MC

? and Keith Ackrill

Midlands Yesterday 1 MC

Brian Conway, Kathy  Rochford, Sally Morris

Midlands Yesterday 3 MC

Bob Sinkinson, Frances Coverdale, Mike Wilkie, Jim Knights

Gary Hudson MC

Gary Hudson and Mark Readman

Midlands Yesterday MC

Maureen Carter MC













Don Pinchbeck

Don Pinchbeck

Don Pinchbeck

Don, in the centre

Don, in the centre

Children in Need: Jason (postroom) (left), Marie Phillips (Children in Need Organiser) (centre) next to Don

Children in Need: Jason (postroom) (left), Marie Phillips (Children in Need Organiser) (centre) next to Don



































My dad, Don Pinchbeck, worked at Pebble Mill between 1977-2001 as a Studio Attendant, he absolutely loved working for BBC Pebble Mill, he always had great stories about stars that he’d seen and the lovely people he worked with, unfortunately he passed away on 27 Dec 2015 aged 80, a great dad, husband and grandad, much loved and missed. His funeral will be taking place at St Edwards Church, Selly Park on Wed 20 Jan 2016 at 9.30am.

My dad worked at the BBC from retired in 2001 (though he really didn’t want to) he was always based at Pebble Mill, the shows I know he worked on were:

Pebble Mill at One

Telly Addicts

Basil Brush Show

I can’t remember if he worked on the Clothes Show, I know he worked on a similar show with John Leslie hosting it.

The Alan Titchmarsh show

Maybe Top Gear

Children in Need

He mentioned lots of celebrities over the years, probably when Pebble Mill at One was still on, Barry Manilow, Joan Collins, Roger Moore, the stars from the shows above and lots of others.  He received lots of commendations for his hard work over the years which my mom kept.  He took me to a few staff kid’s Christmas parties at the BBC, we went to see Basil Brush a few times, we attended an open day they had for the public in the early 90’s I remember which are great and we went in the audience a few times at Children in Need.  He was very hard working, dad to 5, grandad to 3, great grandad to 2.  He lived in Selly Oak all his life, so he loved working locally and for the Beeb as he called it.

Catherine Pinchbeck

(The show that Catherine mentions, presented by John Leslie, would have been Style Challenge).

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

Les Podraza: ‘I remember Don very well. A great charachter and hard working part of Studio A. Always ready to muck in and help out. So sad he has now departed this world. ‘

Richard Smith: ‘Sad to learn of Don’s death. A lovely, friendly and hard working man, would do anything to help you. Many happy times with him in House Services. In the photos are Jason Edwards, Robert Pash, Alan Evans, Billy Gardner, Frank Barber and Marie Phillips. Condolences to Don’s family.’

Donald Steel: ‘I remember Don very well and with fondness – always the same always cheerful. It was a great gang in those days everybody helped you. So very sorry to hear of his passing.’

Marie Phillips: ‘The group photo was my retirement party in March 1998. Don was not fond of “does”so I was thrilled he and the rest of “my lads” came along. I honestly could not have done so many events for Children in Need without the enthusiasm and often out of hours help given by Don and all of them. He and they were a breed apart and I was forever grateful. Fond memories Don.’

Gill Thompson: ‘I worked with Don looking after the audiences at Pebble Mill, a lovely man and excellent at his job, always smiling and very professional.’

Mary Sanchez: ‘I remember him well from my Pebble Mill days – always really nice and friendly. I also used to see him out and about around Selly Park and we’d wave .’



Tom O’Connor Roadshow – Liverpool

TOR Liverpool Eleanor Rigby, John Couzens Melvyn Bragg JM After show TOR JM








































Photos by Jane Mclean, no reproduction without permission.

These photos are from the Tom O’Connor Roadshow winter/spring 1987. The roadshow was staged in each location for one week, these photos were taken in Liverpool, which was the last location on the run, in April 1987. The second photo is of cameraman John Couzens, seated on the Beatles’ Eleanor Rigby bench. The bottom two photos are from the after show party, which was obviously attended by Melvyn Bragg. Series producer, Steve Weddle, can just be seen popping up behind Melvyn Bragg.

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

Mary Sanchez: ‘Ok I was there and the girl on piano was Louise someone( can’t remember surname – producer ) and in first pic is a graphics girl (Liz?)( on the right ) and on the left is it Pam Creed? Sorry this is all I can offer! I have LOADS of pics , must dig them out!’

Steve Weddle: ‘The warm-up chap alongside Melvyn Bragg, weirdly enough, is called Bobby Bragg (no relation!) In fact Bobby became a bit of an on screen celebrity as Roadshow Reg, the pretend scene shifter, who’s catchphrase was, I’m not feeling very well Mr. O’Connor. We’d send him on stage whenever we were under running, which happened quite frequently. And as the series progressed his cameos with Tom became increasingly popular, so much so, that when I appeared on Open Air to discuss the Series the following week, it was Reg who joined me on the sofa there! Melvyn Bragg just happened to be in the vicinity of our end of series party in the Adelphi Hotel, Liverpool – unsurprisingly, he had nothing to do with the Show – but we invited him along anyway, and he graciously joined us for our knees up. I seem to remember I was dressed as a giant chicken at the time! I think that’s Pam by the old Roadshow Relay scoreboard, and Louise Stellakis is the researcher by the piano.’

Jane Mclean: ‘Just come to me! The audio supervisor Louise married was Paul Cunliffe.’