Nanny – Michael Custance, Part 2

One story was with Nanny working for a posh family living in the Royal Crescent in Bath.

“Well Nanny how nice of you to come to us and a blue uniform too I do like blue now I will introduce you to baby and the others” “Others? I was told you only have one baby” “Quite right Nanny only one baby and 5 other children now come along to the nursery”.

One daughter was to be suffering from psychosomatic disorder and would wake up in the night screaming in terror.  The young actress of just 8 years was quite brilliant.  We were amazed that she was able to act like that at her age and at the same time have school lessons from a tutor between shots.  She said with disarming simplicity “Oh it’s easy. When I am acting I am her and when I am not I am me”.

We cast Annabelle Lanyon as the older child aged 10.  She was in fact 21, but looked much, much younger. In a restaurant one evening the waiter took all our orders and then turned to Annabelle saying “..and what would the young lady like, we have the children’s menu over the page”. Annabelle gently replied “oh that’s fine but I would like gin and tonic and then an entrecote steak, rare, with a large glass of your house red please”.  Poor waiter, not his fault.

To shoot a scene of Nanny taking all of the children for a walk in the Royal crescent was a massive job. First we had to cover the road with peat to hide the yellow lines then employ loads of extras to stand in front of the parking meters but the biggest problem were the TV aerials which did not exist in 1936. We managed to persuade all the residents of that huge crescent to let us take them down and replace them with new ones when we had finished.

We could not record any dialogue in the park oposite because of the traffic noise and the police sirens so we moved the unit 200kms away to shoot the dialogue in the scene in Dartington Park near Totnes in Devon.

Nanny – Michael Custance (part 1)

In the days when I was a cameraman at Thames TV I met an actor called Guy Slater. We became and still are friends.  Guy also created and ran the Horseshoe Theatre in Basingstoke. He then became a TV producer.   So when the BBC asked him to produce a new series called ‘Nanny’ he asked me to direct 9 episodes of the first series and more in the second series.  (years later Guy joined me to create the series ‘Small Stages’.)

“Created by the actress Wendy Craig ‘Nanny’ was a BBC television series that ran between 1981 and 1983. In this historical drama, Wendy Craig stared as nanny Barbara Gray, caring for children in 1930s England. When Barbara Gray leaves the divorce court she has no money, no job just an iron will and a love for children. “

Wendy was first noticed for her role in the film ‘The Servant’ playing beside Dirk Bogarde in 1963 where she won the most promising newcomer award. She was awarded a best actress award in 1969 and was awarded a CBE.  Her TV fame came when starring in the very long and successful series ‘Butterflies’. 

Years later I bought the rights to a novel by Dirk Bogarde, Voices in the Garden, and produced a film of it for the BBC.

When Wendy Craig submitted her proposal for the series to the BBC she used the pseudonym Jonathan Marr because she was afraid that if her true identity was known she would be dismissed as merely “an actress who thinks she can write.

The structure of the series was that Nanny went to work in a family with children for three episodes and then moved on to another family.  Thus each director made a story of three episodes. I made three stories, nine episodes, in the first series and one story in the second series making twelve episodes in all. Guy asked me direct more but I feared being a ‘Nanny’ director for too long.

Joy Hugh obituary by Joyce Hawkins

obituary from Prospero

Obituary for dresser, Joy Pugh, from the BBC retirees’ newsletter, Prospero, written by costume designer, Joyce Hawkins. Joy Pugh worked as a dresser on drama series like Nanny, with Wendy Craig, and Howards Way.

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

Susan Astle: We had many great evenings at The Sparrowhawk working on Juliet Bravo. She was great company and very good at her job. Susie Bankers ex Make up

Gareth Williams: Joy was always upbeat, always working. I remember her blushing once in the canteen queue as she couldn’t resist tucking my shirt collar label in!

Karen Bevins: What a lovely lady to work with in costume. A friend and colleague who helped me a lot when I first started in the department.

Nanny – Goats and Tigers

Copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission














































This is the cast and crew list, and scene breakdown for one of the episodes (Goats and Tigers) of the drama series, Nanny, starring Wendy Craig. The episode was transmitted in February 1981 on BBC1. It was a London production, hosted at Pebble Mill, and recorded in Studio A.

The pages  have been shared by costume assistant, Rachel Selby. It is interesting to see her hand written notes on the sheets, and the crossing through, when the scene had been completed.

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

Lesley Weaver: ‘Wonderful time for me as a Make up lady and I was lucky enough to work on all three series.’

Susan Astle: ‘Wendy was such a great person, all us make up ladies loved working with her.’

Chris Rogers: ‘I loved this series it has never been repeated on other channels? Wendy Craig is fabulous.’

Raymond Lee: ‘Never worked directly on the series but remember vividly showing Wendy Craig how to use the canteen coffee/tea machine!!’

Keith Brook: ‘Oh, that brings back memories. What a wonderful series to work on.’













Chris Weaver

Regional 'Day Out' Derby '83 GH











Photo from Gail Herbert, copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission.

Director of Photography, Chris Weaver has died recently. He is operating the camera in the photo above, which was on a Regional series, called Day Out, this episode was in Derby, 1983. Production Assistant, Gail Herbert, is next to him, with David Nelson, right of Chris. Chris worked at Magpie, with Jim Knights, and was married to Pebble Mill Make-up Designer, Lesley Weaver. Producer John Clarke is on the far left.

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

Elliot Weaver: ‘Action shot – “you must always point at something”‘

Johannah Dyer: ‘That is sad news – he was a lovely bloke who always went above and beyond what was expected on every shoot.’

Terry Powell: ‘So sad to hear, I knew and worked with his wife Lesley on so many shows and Chris as well sending love to his family.’

Lynn Cullimore: ‘Chris was the nicest guy ever and so lovely to work with I agree Jane. So sad to hear of this and I do send my condolences to Lesley and all the family. I remember Day Out well as I also worked on it with John Clarke. In fact, John is in this picture extreme left.’

Siobhan Maher Kennedy: ‘Very sad news . I loved the Magpie guys! Chris was great and I have happy memories from when I was in the regional opt out with Pamela Relton Liz Cox Rosalind Gower.’

Samantha Watkins: ‘Sorry to hear about the loss of Chris. Many happy memories . Here’s a photo I found in attic from the early 80’s. Also a photo of me and Lesley in 81 was in same album , on Nanny.

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