The Entertainment Game













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

Thanks to Ian Collins for sharing this titles’ grab from The Entertainment Game.
This BBC1 Daytime daily quiz starred impressionist Jon Culshaw, comedian Rainer Hersch and comedy duo ‘Kit and the Widow’. It went out in April/May 1998 at 12.05.

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

Kate Hillman: “I loved this show, we had Jon Culshaw just before he hit the big time! Ronnie Butt worked on it with me and I think Bev Wildman (as was!) and Nick Harris too. We recorded some episodes on the Easter Sunday and the reason I can remember it so well, is because that was the day my other half proposed to me!! It was a happy show to make. Yes, studio A.”

Dan Oliver, 30th July 1973 – 23rd January 2016

Dan Oliver

Dan Oliver. Copyright remains with the original holder

Style Challenge end of series team photo

Style Challenge end of series team photo. Copyright remains with the original holder, no reproduction without permission.




















Dan Oliver, who worked on Style Challenge at Pebble Mill in the 1990s and is included in the photo above, sadly died last month. Below is the message he posted on Facebook on Christmas Eve to his friends, telling them of his illness. Dan’s friends suggested that this was the most suitable message to post up about his death. Dan’s funeral was held last week, and was attended by Nick Harris and Simon Lupton.

December 24th, 2015

Dear Friends,

Weird but important email to write. I sincerely hope that all of you are about to have a wonderful Christmas with the people who matter to you Some of you I haven’t spoken to in weeks, some in many, many years -I’m a Facebook lurker, more prone to seeing what others are doing, than posting myself- but I need to get this said……

In September 2014 I was diagnosed with terminal kidney cancer. I had hoped to tell everyone in early 2015, when I wanted to announce that I was doing a marathon fuck-cancer charity swim down the river Dart. But then some drug-induced hepatitis got in the way. Then it was the summer, and two lots of surgery to deal with the collapse of my spine, and the autumn, and emergency radio therapy to deal with what had grown back. Blah-de-fucking blah, and on it goes……. Turns out it’s in my spine, my lungs, throughout my lymph system. Originally , we were told I could expect around three years. maybe more, because most people who present with my symptoms tend to be much less fit, and much older.

Unfortunately, things have moved much faster than that, and I was told in mid November to think about living a few more weeks. It seems that I’ll be lucky enough to be around for Christmas, but have little idea beyond that. So, what do you do in a situation like this? Well, it turns out that I seem to want people to know. Not just you, but the friends we had who I kind of lost track of along the way. So that’s the lovely GFL people, with whom I had some of my most joyous working experiences ever. It’s the Scene One crowd. It’s the people I got sober with. Or it’s people from BBC Birmingham.. I want people to know for two reasons. The first is a desire for a packed, rafter raising funeral (details to be followed, posted by a loved one on Facebook). The second is because…well I just do. I’m self-centred and egotistical enough for this not to pass without telling people.

And now the really important stuff. I need to say that amongst all this shit I regard myself as extraordinarily lucky. In marrying Clementina I became the most happily married man I’ve ever met. If that’s boastful, sue me; I’m dying. I also have four mad, extraordinary wonderful children We do something fun every day. I have a fantastic extended family and a circle of friends that are utterly indistinguishable from family. I was told by a mate not long ago that he thought we were put here to love and be loved. I believe that, and I believe it’s pretty much mission accomplished. I regard myself as lucky, privileged So…if you could spread the word….. visits are a bit of a no-no, because I sleep an awful lot of the day, and get tired very quickly. Since I spend hours looking at my bedroom ceiling, letters and messages are very gratefully received, though , (forgive the fact that I’ll porbably be rubbish at responding.) Here endeth my missive. Not the greatest festive message, I appreciate, but one I rather needed to send. I wish you all the happiest, warmest Christmas with your loved ones, and hope to hear from you soon.

With love from Dan x

DAN OLIVER 30th July 1973 – 23rd January 2016

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

Becky Rogers: ‘We worked together on Telly Addicts and Telly Years and sat opposite each other. I remember laughing every day and him telling me my winter clothes were much better than what I wore in summer. Always the man from Style Challenge!!’

Melissa Feather: ‘Such a lovely person xx always jolly, so happy and would do anything xx very very happy memories of working with him on Style challenge’

Lesley Weaver: ‘I don’t think I had the privilege of knowing Dan personally as I didn’t work on those programmes, but I do recognise his face. My heart goes out to Clementina and their children. Having lost my own husband Chris Weaver to kidney cancer 6 months ago it’s painful to hear of another terrible loss to kidney cancer, Dan’s words echo in my heart and bring tears to my eyes!’

Annabel Walker: ‘I had the pleasure of working with Dan on two productions, 10yrs apart… He hadn’t changed at all. When the shit was hitting the fan Dan’s mantra was “Kill ’em, fuck ’em, eat ’em… In that order…” He was a fighter, and a lovely man full of fun.’

Telly Addicts

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

Thanks for VT editor, Ian Collins for making these grabs available.

Telly Addicts was a gameshow which went out between 1985 and 1998 on BBC1, with all the questions being based on television shows past or present. Most questions were introduced via clips. It came out of John King’s department, and was presented by Noel Edmonds. The format of the shows changed a bit over the years, and there were some celebrity versions and Christmas specials.  Usually there were two teams of four contestants, and a tournament structure which produced an overall winning team at the end of the series.

The show was recorded in Studio A.

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

Maria Needle: ‘Ah yes I was the production secretary on Telly Addicts, Sue Williams was the PA, Louis Robinson was the producer, Sue Robinson the Director I think. I learnt to drink on this show!’

Ruth Kiosses: ‘We did loads of light entertainment costumes for Telly Addicts either from Selly Oak stores or sent up from Wales Farm Road and ones that were made especially (usually at pretty late notice I recall?) Mr Blobby often arrived in a box for various of  Noel shows not sure whether he appeared on Telly Addicts?’

Clare Cotton: ‘Aghhh happy days! We had such a laugh making telly addicts-great production team, great characters one and all…’

Jane Green: ‘Noel always gave me a panic by arriving at the last minute in his helicopter but was always ready on set on time and wanted no special treatment. I once found him standing on a chair in his dressing room trying to get a signal on a new thing called a mobile phone. It was the size of a shoebox.’

Julian Hitchcock: ‘Like Jane, I floor managed it. I also directed it once on some sort of wheeze, and was a terrible Assistant Producer on the show. Richard Lewis was the producer, working with the very talented Louis Robinson as (correct me, Louis) AP cum scriptwriter. Marino Katchmaryck was the genius AP, who (unlike me,- who didn’t possess a TV and preferred books and radio) knew everything about every programme since the birth of Logie Baird. John King presided fatuously over all, assisted by Tim Manning. King’s slightly dubious interests in the supposed format rights helped my interest in intellectual property, which I’ve practiced for 17 years now.
In my view, the sycophancy displayed towards Edmonds, which he seemed to expect, probably contributed to the fatality on a different programme that he presented. Edmonds himself appeared to loathe the contestants. It was, however, very easy and very successful.’

Becky Rogers: ‘Worked on sadly the last series of the show in @ 1998 with Helen Hands (nee Lott) as producer, Sue Robinson as director, together with Nick Harris, Sarah Proctor, Kate Hillman, Simon Lupton, Dan sorry can’t remember surname…… Richard Lewis was exec producer. Happy memories – especially the celebrity edition featuring a very young Ant and Dec!! Left telly in 2000 for life in the lakes and the world of commercial radio. Got married last December and hubby surprised me with a personal video message from Noel during the speeches. Despite it being 14 years since I’d worked briefly with him, it was genuinely lovely of him to ‘share’ our day. Many many happy memories of my time at Pebble Mill!’

Julian Hitchcock: ‘I had no idea that it went on so long after I left in ’92. I meant to mention Helen Lott. Nick Hurran directed, presumably before Sue. Possibly Annette Martin, briefly, too. There wasn’t exactly a lot of scope for directors or camera operators; two cameras on each side and a wide angle in the middle!
During my stint, there was a dreadful family (stars of auditions we did in the Clifton something hotel in Bristol) that kept on winning. Of course, being supreme couch potatoes, Pearl and her family were utterly boring. Noel hated them and beseeched us to hit them with harder questions, but it was useless…’

Nick Harris: ‘Such a happy show – remember being paid as a researcher to literally watch TV for six months choosing clips. The longer you’d been there the better the series you got to watch. I started with Triangle and ended with Ab Fab! Then followed three months of auditions around the country. A sifting out the dopes. (One guy thought Noel was called Norman!) and then three months of studio. Two very happy years of my life – in fact I was reminiscing with Noel about exactly that a couple of weeks ago at Deal Or No Deal…’

Julian Hitchcock: ‘The name, of course, was extraordinary. Addiction was not the best thing for a government-funded broadcaster to paint in such a positive way, but King, who was not quite of this world (where does one begin?!) thought it was so good that he tried another series, simply called “Addicts”…’

Thea Harvey: ‘I was PA and worked with Tim, Richard, Helen, Marino, Andrea and, Nick Hurran now a famous (??!!) movie director. They were happy days and we used to have great Christmas lunches! ‘

Ann Gumbley Williams: ‘I worked as PA as we were called then on the pilot shows of Telly Addicts. I think it was first called Telly Quiz . Memories of who worked on the pilot show not good. I think it was Annette Martin who was the producer. Does anyone else remember? They took ages to get the format and edit at first. I didn’t do the programmes after it was commissioned. I was probably off having a baby!’

Lynn Cullimore: ‘I did work on one of the Addicts programmes with Claire Rayner at her house. I just stepped in as another Production Assistant was sick. I enjoyed the day filming at claire’s house – she was lovely and had made us all cake! Telly Addicts was very popular I remember and I did go to one of the shows – just as a member of the audience so i could show my husband what went on!’

Gail Herbert: ‘I was the copyright researcher on Telly Quiz. Producer was Bill Jones, Prod Sec Julie Whittaker, Studio Director Mike Derby. It was great fun doing that series. I then went to work as John King’s PA on Golden Oldies, etc.’

Pebble Mill, Eastenders Special – Claire Hobbs

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

The photo is from a Special, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of ‘Eastenders’.  I think it went out in 1995 and was a Pebble Mill Special (they dropped the ‘at One’ bit when they moved it to midday!  That year we also did Specials with David Attenborough, to celebrate his 60th and his latest ‘Life’ series ‘Living Planet’, and with Vera Lynn for the 60th anniversary of WWII.  All produced by Helena Taylor and AP’d by me.

The photo features Pebble Millers (left to right) me, Anya Francis, Melissa Feather (behind Ethel), Nick Harris, Helena Taylor and also Julia Smith the creator of the show (behind Alan Titchmarsh’s left shoulder).

We also got the casts of Corrie, Home & Away and Neighbours to record tributes to them too!

Claire Hobbs

Drama director John Greening, added the following Eastenders cast information:

‘Having directed over 150 eps of the show I think you’ll find thats the legendary June Brown (Dot)behind Titchy…I think the woman on the far right near Bill Treacher is actress Louise Jameson who played Rosa Di Marco.Also there are Lucy Speed, Wendy Richard, Anna Wing, Gretchen Franklin and Tommy Eytle.’ I’m working on the others!