A day in the life of Pebble Mill at One

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pebble Mill at One producer, Steve Weddle, gives the inside story on how the show was made.

This article was included in the Pebble Mill at One book, from the 1985-6 season (which was the final series).

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

Ellie Lacey: ‘This is priceless and sooooo Steve!’

Steve Weddle: ‘Quite frankly!!! Under pressure, or pretending to be’

Claire Chambers: ‘Very well written piece by Mr Weddle -he always was a brilliant raconteur! Great to work on happy days’

Sue Westwood: ‘I have this book somewhere. My neighbour made the cake that was featured on the last programme’

Helen O’Rahilly: ‘Steve gave me my first BBC job. He was a hoot. I ran into him, by chance, in Spain about 8 years ago. Still the same Steve!’

 

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Pebble Mill at One cookery booklets

Copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission

Copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks to Becky Land for sharing the photo of these Pebble Mill at One cookery brochures. The booklets were published by BBC Books.

Mollie Harris’s Cottage Cookery from Pebble Mill was published by the BBC in 1976. Mollie Harris was an author and actress, she appeared as village shopkeeper, Martha Woodford, in the Radio 4 soap opera, The Archers
in the 1970s. Mollie was a country cook on Pebble Mill at One, and also wrote a country cookery book for The Archers. Additionally she wrote a three part autobiography about her life in Oxfordshire: A Kind of Magic (1969), Another Kind of Magic (1971) and The Green Years (1976). Mollie died in 1995.

Michael Smith was a regular food presenter on Pebble Mill at One. His Book of Sandwiches was published in 1979. Below is a photo of Michael Smith rehearsing on Pebble Mill at One.

Michael Smith rehearsing on Pebble Mill at One. Photo from Eurwyn Jones, no reproduction without permission.

Michael Smith rehearsing on Pebble Mill at One. Photo from Eurwyn Jones, no reproduction without permission.

Pebble Mill at One book

PM@1 BOOK

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

The lunch time magazine series, Pebble Mill at One, regularly brought out books, like the one pictured here, which collected together programme details for viewers to enjoy. Elements like the recipes always proved very popular, and in fact there were several books published of Michael Smith’s recipes.

Thanks to Pete Simpkin for sharing a still of this book.

 

Link 125 cameras

Link 125 camera on Pebble Mill at One

Link 125 camera on Pebble Mill at One

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission. Thanks to floor manager, Eurwyn Jones, foreground in this photo, for sharing it.

The photo shows the Link 125 cameras during a rehearsal with cook Michael Smith, on Pebble Mill at One, circa 1981.

The Link 125 cameras replaced the EMI 2001 cameras, which were extremely popular with cameramen. The Links did not enjoy the same popularity.

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

Keith Brook: ‘Luckily for me I left before the Links came in. My ex-colleagues told me how bad they were and how difficult it was to focus. If you wound up the peaking, the camera noise became a white fog over the whole viewfinder. If you turned it down, the focus was likely to be soft, but you couldn’t tell. Engineers chose cameras and cameramen had to make do with what they were given. Despite far, far better cameras being available from Japanese manufacturers, the BBC had decided to ‘do the patriotic thing’ and use a British company. Fortunately, the Links didn’t last long.’

Matthew Skill: ‘The patriotic thing being to use a camera company that hadn’t been around that long compared to the real camera-makers…? And then to eventually indirectly/inadvertently drive same late-comer company to the wall as it tried to satisfy BBC requirements for a ‘modern’ studio camera (130) to replace the 110s and 125s. A curious tale all round….’

Stuart Gandy: ‘That’s certainly true what Keith says about the Links. After the crispness of the 2001’s, they never seemed sharp. There was also an odd condition that could happen that resulted in a strange slight loss of focus in the middle of the screen, which became known as the ‘teardrop’, because of its shape. The cause was never fully explained, but I think adjusting the registration controls fixed it – for a while. Even now, I remember the words of the late Mike Lee, when he would come across the line up area and say quietly, ‘we’ve got a teardrop’.’

The last Pebble Mill at One

Magnus, Marian, Canon John Ely, Paul Coia, Michael Smith, Josephine Buchan MW

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo from Maggy Whitehouse, no reproduction without permission.

Photograph of the last edition of ‘Pebble Mill at One’ in 1986, taken in Studio C, probably during rehearsal, or whilst prepping during a music number or VT insert. Included are, left to right: Magnus Magnusson, Marian Foster, Canon John Ely, Marjorie Lofthouse next to Paul Coia (seated), Michael Smith, with Josephine Buchan next to the impressive champagne pyramid! The floor manager in the foreground is Caroline Matthews.

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

Julian Hitchcock: ‘I was an AP on “On the House” at the time. However, as a mark of respect, I took part as a volunteer Floor Assistant. It was the last bit of floor management I ever did…’

Peter Poole: ‘I worked on this programme. Pebble Mill Road had crowds of viewers with placards saying “Save our Pebble Mill” . I can’t remember any other programmes getting this reaction from the public.’

Maggy Whitehouse: ‘And one of them got into the official photograph somehow. No idea how she managed it but there’s this old lady looking slightly bemused.’