The day the Pebble Mill studio opened

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-england-birmingham-29109003/the-day-pebble-mill-studio-opened-in-1971

This link is to a clip from Nationwide on 15th June 1971. Midlands Today presenter, Tom Coyne gives a guided tour of the brand new Pebble Mill studios. Included in the tour are Studio B, the home of Midlands Today; Studio A, where many dramas were produced; and the Radio studios, home to The Archers, we also see Radio WM in action. There is no mention of Pebble Mill at One, because the programme had not yet been planned.

Thanks to Malcolm Hickman for sharing the link.

Still from Tom Coyne’s piece on Nationwide. Copyright BBC.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Keith Warrender:’The EMI cameras were still going in 1983 when they were replaced with Link 125s. Link are long gone but the old factory is still standing unused in Andover.’

Sue Astle: ‘Such an amazing exciting time for us then, we were privileged to have worked there. Susie Bancroft. Ex make up’

Sarah Tongue: ‘My mom ran the Library!’

Helen Smith: ‘Loved watching that, my Dad was the cameraman at the beginning of the clip.’

Michael Fisher: ‘Radio Birmingham as it was at the start!’

Andy Marriott: ‘What was the little mini cart system they were using for spot effects, called?’

Malcolm Hickman: ‘It was a device called a P.E.G. Programme effects generator. They used a spool of tape in a case with a metal loop fitted at one end. When you inserted the cartridge, the machine grabbed the tab and cued the effect. It had loads of slots so a sequence of effects could be built up. A BBC designs department product, IIRC.’

Sue Welch: ‘Actually remember Tom Coyne from Tyne Tees Television. A very long time ago.’

Malcolm Adcock: ‘Happy memories, joined Top Gear in 1988 and our production office was later in the old Pebble Mill at One studio area.’

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Trail for Look! Hear! and News intro

Archive: #BBC Pebble Mill B'ham c1978 trail for "Look Hear" & my intro to 6pm nat. news

Posted by Alastair Yates, ex- BBC TV News now Chair of ADHD Richmond & Kingston on Friday, 31 January 2014

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

This, circa 1978, video includes a trail for the regional music show, Look! Hear!, and Midlands Today presenter, Alastair Yates, introducing the national 6pm News.

Chris Phipps trails Look! Hear!

 

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Filming at the canal

Copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission

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This photo probably dates from the mid 1960s, and shows filming at the canal with a Arriflex 16mm film camera.

The photo was originally posted on the Pebble Mill Engineers’ Facebook group.

Would this have been for news pictures, or a hobby film? Please post a comment if you can add more information.

Thanks to Stuart Gandy for allowing the photo to be shared.

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

Malcolm Hickman: ‘Looks like the Worcester Bar at Gas Street Basin. You can see Stanier House and the Town Hall in the distance. No Alpha tower or Central TV. Looks like he has a sound recorder over his shoulder, but I can’t see a mic. Probably professional.’

Jim Knights: ‘Hazard a guess at freelance cameraman from Midlands Today. Certainly a mute cameraman as Arri 16 has no sound box. Could be Ed Mullis? Mid 60’s when I arrived in Broad st news , he was one of 3… Charlie Moody.. Derek Johnston and Ed Mullis. I stand corrected if wrong!’

Keith Brook: ‘I think that’s the battery pack over his shoulder. Years before belt packs.’

Malcolm Hickman: ‘Weren’t those Arris clockwork?’

Steve Saunderson: ‘It’s an Arri ST and it is the battery strap over his shoulder. As Jim says, it’s a mute camera 100 foot loading ( 2mins 30secs at 25fps ) and you can see the battery lead going to the back of the camera.’

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First digi-prompt

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

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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!

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Derek Johnson

copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Veteran Midlands Today film cameraman, Derek Johnson, sadly died a few days ago. He was in his mid-eighties. Derek was also a stills photographer and recorded mute films for Midlands Today.

Unfortunately I do not have a photograph of Derek, but please let me know if you have one, and could share it.

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

Jason Dean: ‘Very sorry to hear about this. Always grateful to Derek and his son Ian (his sound man) for being so helpful and patient with me when I was on attachment to Midlands Today in the mid 80’s as a rooky TV reporter. Particularly remember the time they put up with me doing endless attempts to get a piece to camera right in the centre of Leamington Spa!’

Wendy Lewis Edwards: ‘Derek was a one man film operator, going out relentlessly over very long days to pick up mute pictures of stories that otherwise would not have been covered. He made an enormous contribution to Midlands Today and was a delightful, reliable, modest man for whom I had great admiration’

Robin Latchem: ‘I think I did my first Midlands Today item with Derek and Ian. So glad they tolerated being a de facto mobile training unit. Such a helpful, gentle man.’

Kevin Latimer: ‘Derek was a companion on many cold winters news stories around Brum – remember him as a very contented cameraman’

James Roberson: ‘Very sad to hear about dear DJ – he was one of the stalwarts of the Midlands today team, along with his son Ian – both gentlemen and so helpful and kind to work with – happy days in the late 1980s at Pebble Mill ..’

 

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