Countryfile – Ken Pollock

 

Countryfile team

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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…

Ken Pollock

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! ‘

The Car’s The Star

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Image copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without pemission.

The Car’s The Star was a series about classic cars, presented by Quentin Willson. It began in 1994. Quentin would tell the story of a particular car, which was interspersed with interviews from its various owners. Jon Bentley was the series producer, with Dennis Adams as executive producer. David Lowe wrote the theme music. Brian Watkiss and Peter Shannon were editors on the early episodes, Gary Vollans did the graphics, and the cameramen included Keith Schofield, John Couzens, Nigel Davey, and Keith Froggatt.

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

Andrew Chorlton: ‘I recorded at least two episodes, Citroen DS and Land Rover, messrs Couzens and Foster on camera respectively. Highlights? Taking a DS down the runway at RAF Wroughton with one wheel removed and checking into a hotel down south with John Wilcox who’s room had been booked in the name of Sir John Wilcox.’

Arthur Heywood – photo from Jane McLean

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

The photo is of a 1980 Pebble Mill at One shoot in Hong Kong.  In the photo are L-R: two unknowns; Jane McLean; John Gilbert; Nigel Davey; John Smith; John Williams; Arthur Heywood.

Thanks to Jane McLean for making this photo available.

Arthur Heywood was a Gaffer at BBC Birmingham from the early/mid 1960s until the 1980s.

Arthur died on Feb 7, 2012.

Colleagues who remember him fondly left the following comments on the Pebble Mill Facebook page:

Jane McLean: ‘One of my very favourite people. Had an amazing trip to Hong Kong and China with him in the 80s. He bought enough furniture out there to furnish a house .. then had to pay at least twice as much to get it shipped back here.’

Carol Churchill: ‘How sad worked with Arthur on lots of dramas and spent many jolly evenings in pubs with him and crew.’

Lesley Weaver: ‘We were only talking about Arthur the other day. That’s very sad he was such a lovely man & adorably cheeky ! I agree Carol lots of jolly times were shared with him. God bless you Arthur! X’

Janice Rider: ‘Simply a lovely man . Very sad’

Golden Oldie Picture Show – Christmas 1986

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

The ‘Golden Oldie Picture Show’ was presented by Radio 1 D.J., Dave Lee Travis.  The show created music videos for Hits which pre-dated the era of music videos, and directors were encouraged to choose a track and create a story around it.  It was produced at Pebble Mill by Exec, John King.

This photo dates from Christmas 1986, and was taken on location at the Red Lion, Somerton, Somerset, where the links for that show were recorded.  Left to right, back row it includes: Dave Lee Travis (presenter), John King (exec), Mike Williams (lighting cameraman), John Parker (sound), Jim Hatchard (set design).  Front row: Andy Frizzell (lighting), Nigel Davey (camera), Phil O’Shea (props), Gail Herbert (P.A.), Veronica McAleer (Brebner)(make-up).

Thanks to Gail Herbert for making the photo available, and to Andy Frizzell, Kevin Lakin and Lesley Weaver for adding information.

 

 

Stefan Buczacki – ‘Gardening Britain’ & ‘Gardening Roadshow’

Photos by Gail Herbert, no reproduction without permission.

Gardening writer, presenter and plant pathologist Dr Stefan Buczacki made a number of gardening series at BBC Pebble Mill:

  • Stefan Buczacki’s Gardening Britain was a six part series transmitted in 1996 on BBC 2.  Stefan travelled round Britain dispensing gardening advice.  This series was recorded as a two camera outside broadcast.  The producer was Clare Boulter and the series producer Clare Stride. (The end of run meal features in the photos).
  • Stefan Buczacki’s Gardening Roadshow was a similar gardening advice show produced at Pebble Mill in 1998 for UK Style.  Again it was recorded as a two camera outside broadcast.  The crew for the series included cameraman Nigel Davey and Noel Paley, and sparks Herbie Donnelly.
  • Stefan also presented several stories for Gardeners’ World in 1990-1, including a feature on the restoration of Heligan Gardens in Cornwall, shown in one of the photos (Stefan with umbrella and palm trees).
  • Stefan also presented a series for UK Style called Stefan’s Ultimate Gardens, where he helped garden owners create a particular style of garden.  This series was recorded single camera.  Series producer Vanessa Jackson, director Paul Newman, researcher Emily Rusted.

Thanks to production assistant Gail Herbert for sharing her photos.

Stefan Buczacki at Heligan Gardens