Director Mick Murphy, in blue shirt, with Countryfile presenter, Roger Tabor. Possibly Keith Schofield on camera. PA on the ground is Carolyn Smith. The woman in yellow shirt is the researcher.
Countryfile shoot at the Duncan Fearnley cricket bat factory in Worcester.
In the first photo, Jim Knights on camera, in a Magpie crew. Mick Murphy, who directed this film, has his back to the camera and PA Caroline Smith can be glimpsed in the back of shot. The film followed the journey of a cricket bat from willow wood, from Essex to Duncan Fearnley’s factory, to be turned into the final product.
In the second photo, Matt Gray on camera, Keith Conlon on sound, on his knees, Duncan Fearnley (cricket bat maker) in the red jumper.
Chris Phipps died suddenly on Friday 23rd August, 2019. Chris was a reporter on BBC Birmingham/ Radio WM and co-presented on Look!Hear! with Toyah Willcox in the 1980s, before becoming a presenter on The Tube.
The following comments were posted on the Pebble Mill Facebook page:
Conal O’Donnell: ‘Chris was a wonderful erudite popular culture man who could literally turn his hand to anything.I have very fond memories of him at Pebble Mill in the late 70s.The kind of colleague who made one proud to work for the Beeb.’
Kate Boston Williams: ‘Chris was my first colleague when I made the move to Newcastle in 1998. He remained a loyal friend. He had an encyclopaedic knowledge on all things musical and his anecdotes were legendary. I’ll miss our meetings at the Tyneside cinema, his wit and kindness.’
Michael Fisher: ‘Chris was a great colleague at Pebble Mill who gave me an interest in the Black Country and encouraged my occasional forays into the world of music.’
Janice Rider: ‘It was only a short while ago in Sept 2017 , that I met up with Chris again after many years , when he gave a talk at Birmingham City Uni about his career & books he had written.’
Mick Murphy: ‘Thank you for tickets to see The Heavy Metal Kids at the Odeon New Street, in the 70s. My ears are still ringing, but it was a musical turning point for me. So sorry you’ve left the stage.’
Janice Rider: ‘A wonderful memory Mick . I have one too when Chris took me for a surprise lunch and it turned out to be with David Essex ! I was so overwhelmed I just sat transfixed & hardly ate a thing !!’
Pete Simpkin: ‘Worked a lot with Chris at BBC Birmingham and Radio WM and eventually took over his post at Wolverhampton in the late 80s.’
Director and choreographer, Gillian Lynne, who died at the beginning of July 2018, taking a warm up with the crew.
This is from the production The Various Ends of Mrs F’s Friends, transmitted in December 1981.
Included in the photo are, Gillian Lynne, floor Assistant, Mick Murphy next to Gillian, then Pete Edwards, Jack Rooke, Phil Wilson, Keith Schofield, Phil Thickett, Robin Sunderland, Andy Miekle and Keith Froggatt, Jess Bhatti (studio attendant) in the background.
Thanks to Robin Sunderland for sharing the photo.
The following comments were left on the Pebble Mill Facebook page:
Mick Murphy: ‘Studio A, ‘The Various Ends Of Mrs F’s Friends’. Scenic services had laid a chequered floor canvas which was creased. Gillian had the idea to get the studio crew in a line to shuffle it smooth…in a dance style routine of course. I was her assistant floor manager, marking time. She was a lovely person. Great picture, happy times.’
Karen Bevins: ‘I was Costume Assistant on it & Al Barnett was Costume Designer ‘
Kate Rolfe: ‘I was the assistant on this production and we finished making it in July 1981 when I went on maternity leave. It was her first telly and she was great fun to work with’
Regarding Countryfile, it is fun to look at the photograph and recognise old friends/colleagues.
My involvement was to be a producer on Farming, with Martin Small, and Exec John Kenyon. We wanted to acknowledge the large “over the shoulder” audience we had on Farming, and hence wrote the brief for Countryfile. I remember it well, sitting in John Kenyon’s office sketching in the idea, and kicking around names. I came up with the Countryfile name, although we may have thought it should be two words…
Michael Grade, Controller BBC1 accepted the idea, the team went from 4 to 24, and the Countryfile bandwagon started rolling.
After poor Brain Strachan died, there was a vacancy on Top Gear, and John Kenyon told me to get some broader experience, before applying to run Countryfile. So I did, but they did not want me to run Countryfile, as I was supposedly too biased to the farming community and Mike Fitzgerald got the gig.
I stuck with Top Gear and the rest is history…
The following comments were left on the Pebble Mill Facebook page:
Patrick Flavelle: ‘I started on a rolling weekly contract working with Fitz surfacing potential stories at the fag end of Farming…led to working on the show for its first 11 years. Happy days and incredibly boozy Xmas do’s…the one after this photo was very messy!’
Mick Murphy: ‘3rd from right, 2nd row – Sue Lloyd, Director. 1st on the left, front row – Barry Paine, former BBC producer / wildlife narrator, who used to voice over some of our films. Girl behind Fitz is called Sarah…? Great picture. ‘
Jane McLean: ‘John Clarke on the left .. who I went to Russia and Siberia with for Countryfile in 1989. Should try & find the Russian pix. Talk about an eye opener. The director was Dick Colthurst (what happened to him?) and the crew was Nigel Davey, Barrie Foster, Keith Rodgerson and Andy Frizzell. We were force-fed vodka shots 24/7 – honestly! ‘
Pam Relton: ‘Dick is very successful Jane – he went to BBC Bristol after CountryFile and is now MD at Tigress Productions.’
Jane McLean: ‘Good on him. Never heard of Tigress Prods – am SO out of the loop these days re anything telly!’
Viv Ellis: ‘I recognise Yasmine O’Grady looking glam – as ever. I worked on Farming for a few months’
Roy Thompson: ‘Spent a very happy attachment to Countryfile from Wood Norton even getting to direct a piece on arts in rural communities. Very supportive and friendly team.’
Andrea Buffery: ‘This picture would look amazing next to the Countryfile team today. It consists of 30 plus people.’
Steve Johnson: ‘I worked on Countryside for a short time in mid nineties, arranged the filming of the brand new RSPB reserve at Conwy.’
Pam Relton: ‘As a real City girl, CountryFile opened my eyes to so many things. I remember my first shoot – in a battery hen farm, a barn the size of a hanger filled with chickens in cages no bigger than themselves, floor to ceiling, the noise!! I’ve not knowingly eaten anything other than free range, outdoor-reared produce since. I learned so much about the pressures on farmers and producers to comply with the big supermarkets. This was the great thing about working on programmes like this – that open up the issues to do with farming and the countryside to everyone.’
Jane McLean: ‘I was country born & bred Pam – my brother was a pig farmer – and I know exactly what you’re talking about from the other side! ‘