Malcolm Stent awarded a BEM

From Pebble Mill News 1984. Copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission.

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Congratulations go to Malcolm Stent, who has been honoured as a ‘Medallist of the Order of the British Empire’ (BEM), in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours (2017). The award is for ‘services to Entertainment and charity in Solihull’.

Malcolm was a presenter on Radio WM, in ‘the Barmaid’s Arms’, alongside Mary Kendall (Rosie), he also presented ‘Folk Scene’. In addition, he used to do audience warm-up for Pebble Mill at One.

Malcolm is still very active on the stage, writing and appearing in pantomimes particularly in Solihull.

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

Pete Simpkin: ‘I worked with Malc so much on his radio adventures and feel so proud of him achieving this honour . He has worked….sometimes too much…. but always with love and dedication to the people around him. the lad from Saltley off to Buck House!! Great news!!’

Clare Bryan: ‘I was lucky enough to work with Malcolm and Mary. Great days and great memories. A richly deserved honour.’

Jim Knights: ‘You’ve come a long way kid since “Stent on Sea”‘

Ned Abell: ‘Great warm-up “Coventry – a little fishing village just off the M6″‘

 

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Martin Suker on Tom O’Connor Roadshow

 

Photo by Jane Mclean, no reproduction without permission.

This photo is of Martin Suker, in the outside broadcast truck, for an edition of the Tom O’Connor Roadshow, which was a live entertainment show from around the UK.

The following comment was added on the Pebble Mill Facebook page:

Jonathan Dick: ‘He [Martin Suker] was a vision-mixer I believe, based in Bristol, back in the days when they did network productions from their Studio A and OB unit. I think he went on to direct as well.’

Ray Lee: ‘The Tom O’Connor Road show was extravagant it used both CM1 Type 5 Scanner, and SCV6 Sound vehicle. I have a few photo’s from the Port Talbot venue, when I went out as a support engineer to SCV6.’

Ned Abell: [The OB truck was] CM1. The window is between the “gallery” and the sound/comms end.’

 

Nicky Savage, Jane Mclean, Tom O'Connor, Jo Dewar

Nicky Savage, Jane Mclean, Tom O’Connor, Jo Dewar

Top Gear Rally Report

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This titles grab dates from the 1990s. Rally Report was made by members of the Top Gear production team and presented by some of the same presenters as the motoring magazine show. The series reported on the Lombard RAC Rally.

Thanks to Ian Collins to making the grab available.

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

Peter Poole: ‘I did some location recording for this.’

Steve Lee: ‘I presented for a while…Denis Adams was the producer…Fun days !!!’

Ned Abell: ‘If this was the one on BBC2 we parked CM2 outside the Laguna Tandoori next to the Albany hotel, Nottingham. Off the air and sit down with chicken tikkas already waiting!!’

Adam Hartley: ‘I remember preparing some of the rushes & working with editors on some time around 1998… Also have a vague recollection of a viewer complaining because a certain rally car had the wrong engine noise synched to it on a wide drive past…’

Simon Edwards: ‘I think Jim Knights might have been involved?’

Paul Hutchins: ‘Yes Simon, Magpie crewed most of the rallies! Some great memories mate. Great team that went on to produce and film the world rally championship for years to come!! Happy days.’

Alan Jessop: ‘I was one of the cameramen on many of the Rally shows – great fun in the forest!’

 

Videotape in the ’70s (part 4) Ray Lee

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Still from Ian Collins, no reproduction without permission.

Peter Wood-Fisher’s electronic clock. Grab from Keith Brook

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

VT Clock

The countdown clock was initially a mechanical clock on a kind of blackboard in the studio, and was recorded at the beginning of each section of recording. It had sections for the programme title, tape number, take number, sequence title and other important identifying information. This was written on by the floor manager, (or assistant FM) prior to the recording. One of the difficulties was that when a tape was edited, the clock information could not be updated in VT to indicate this was an edited master, unless a separate clock had been recorded previously. The clock was generally started at around 30 seconds and allowed to count past 0, although in shows recorded as live the vision mixer would cut to black at 3. Where a series of clocks for editing purposes were recorded, the cut to black would be done in the edit by VT.

In the late 70’s Peter Wood-Fisher, a keen engineer built an electronic VT Countdown clock using a large quantity of integrated circuits, and housed it in a home made plywood box. It was around 18inch square with a full size keyboard at the front, then an up-stand housing the rest of the electronics, on which there was just room for a pair of 9inch monitors. This allowed VT to add clocks to edited items and recorded inserts without tying up studio time. This was the forerunner of using the BBC Micro as a VT Clock, which only became possible in the mid 80’s. (the BBC Model A was first produced in 1984). In those early days studio recordings often still recorded the clock from the studio, but the VT clock was used for subsequent edits. As there was only one VT Clock, various routing arrangements were made in order to make it available to the other VT areas. It sat on the back shelf in VTA cubicle.

Ray Lee

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

Peter Poole: “BBC Norwich still used these VT clocks long after Pebble Mill changed to electronic. I went on attachment as a Tech Op. The studio looked like a museum of broadcast equipment!”

Eurwyn Jones: “Just read the article on the Pebble Mill site. I remember the clock well – on live shows like ‘Farming Today’ on Sunday mornings,the clock was used at the end of the show as well. It faced the presenter in the studio and on cue from the PA counting down to the end on the show we would start the clock and they would see how long they had left. Some would ignore it though!!”

Peter Poole: “Pebble Mill engineers had a great talent for building ingenious electronics.”

Ned Abell: “Its ironic this surfaced the day after Ceefax closed…now wheres my BBC B from September 1982?”