Bugbusters pilot – Vanessa Jackson

The photo was taken on a location shoot for a Pebble Mill pilot programme called ‘Bugbusters’ circa 1991.  The photo includes Paul Hutchins (Magpie sparks), and Keith Conlon on sound, in the foreground (left to right) Pauline Pearson (PA), Vanessa Jackson (Researcher), Dr Moray Anderson (Entomologist and presenter).  The photo was probably taken by Robert Davies, who I think was the director on the shoot.

The idea was a spin off from the DIY series ‘On The House’, and was about the pests that live in our homes, and how to get rid of them – we’re talking rats, deadwatch beetle, woodworm, moths, wasps, ants etc.  Dr Moray Anderson was an Entomologist (insect expert) at Birmingham University, and was the presenter of the pilot.  I remember putting out calls for contributors on various local radio stations.  After selecting the contributors and recceing the locations we’d take Moray out with us, dispensing advice on how to get rid of the pests.

Stephanie Silk was the programme’s editor.

Unfortunately the series was never commissioned.


Pebble Mill at One – photos by Tim Savage



















Photos by Tim Savage, no reproduction without permission.

The photos show the building of a set on the back lawn at Pebble Mill. You can see the building behind the set.

These cottages were positioned in the same place as the ‘On The House’ house, although these photos pre-date the 1980’s DIY series.

I thought at first the set must have been for a drama, but Tim Savage tells me they were part of a short series of items on ‘Pebble Mill at One’ about refurbishing old houses.  They would have been taken in the early 1980s.

On The House – photos from Annie Gumbley

Front door of the ‘On The House’ house

Copyright resides with the original photographer.  No reproduction without permission.

On The House was a popular DIY magazine programme which went out on Friday evenings on BBC 2 in the late 1980s.

It spawned a whole host of other DIY series in both the daytime and primetime schedules.

The actual house was a timber framed, brick clad house which was erected in the grounds of BBC Pebble Mill behind the main office block.  There was an excellent time-lapse sequence of the house being erected.  The house operated as a television studio, and was set up so that it was easy to shoot in.  You also had to remember not to use the toilet – as it wasn’t connected to any sewage pipes!

The show was the brainchild of producer Andy Meikle with Steph Silk the series producer.

The show was presented by Harry Greene (father of Sarah Greene), Rick Ball and Pattie Coldwell.

Pattie Caldwell, Harry Greene, Rick Ball

Andy’s Farewell – Steph Silk

'On The House' with Steph & Andy

Andy always kept this On The House press launch picture from 1987 on the wall in his study.  He wasn’t too happy at the beginning when I was assigned to ‘his’ DIY programme, but the show ran for 4 successful series and the team lasted for 25 years!

His sons and I have been very comforted by the many warm tributes posted this week.  Andy had always said that he wanted a ‘meeting of friends and didn’t want people wearing black.”

We hope that friends and colleagues can join us at 1.15  at Redditch
Crematorium on Monday 21st February and afterwards at The Abbey Hotel.

Family flowers only:  any donations to either St Mary’s Hospice or The Prostate Cancer Charity.

Steph Silk

Andy Meikle – who sadly died today

Gardeners' World Christmas Lunch 1990

It was with great sadness that I heard that Andy Meikle died this morning, after a long battle with cancer.

Andy worked for many many years at Pebble Mill, first of all in the drama department on series like Gangsters and then as a director and producer on factual series like On the House and Gardeners’ World.

Andy was an extremely generous, and incredibly practical man – he was brilliant at DIY!

I worked with him on the DIY series On the House , when I joined an established team as a brand new researcher.  He taught me a lot about researching for factual television, as well as about working with contributors.

I remember him being really supportive when I directed my first insert on Gardeners’ World in 1990.  He said jokily, ‘don’t you hate it when someone can just do it?’ – I certainly hadn’t been able to ‘just do it’, but knowing that he thought I’d done a good job was really important to me, and really helped my confidence.

This photo is from the Christmas lunch for the Gardeners’ World production team from 1990.  It includes, left to right: Andy Meikle, Denis Adams, Mark Kershaw, Kulvinder Chudge, Nick Patten, Steph Silk, next might be me (Vanessa Jackson) or Ann Holmes, I can’t see enough of the next two girls to identify, then Patti Evans with the blonde hair, Howard Perks, and Gail Herbert (whose photo it is).

Andy will be much missed, and our thoughts go out to his loved ones.