Papal Visit 1982 – Pete Simpkin

Papal visit accrediation PS

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I came across my Papal Pass for the Pope’s visit in 1982 to Coventry Airport. For security all the Pebble Mill team, Radio and TV, were locked in, for I think 12 hours for the duration. I was the officially approved understudy broadcaster for WM and in the event was never called to duty and remained behind at Pebble Mill…. so the pass was never used!

Peter Simpkin

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

Andy Walters: ‘I covered the last Papal visit. We had to be in at 1.30am but the programme didn’t go on air till 10 and we didn’t even have any power till 6. I fell asleep, missed a fade and was woken up by the Producer who couldn’t reach me, throwing a chocolate bar off my head. As one long serving Engineer in Birmingham said, “These once in a life time things come around too often”.’

Conal O’Donnell: ‘I had to do a background doc for WM which was a nightmare in that because of the Falklands War it wasn’t at all clear whether the Pontiff would come or not..the two versions programme is such a pain especially when you have to ask such luminaries at the Dean of Peterhouse, Dr Edward Norman, to do two i/v versions -he looked at me as if I were mad!!!!!!’

Pete Simpkin: ‘Michael Blood (Rev’d) who was WM’s Religious Programmes organiser adds the following to the Papal Visit 1982 story….”I’ve got one of those labels as well! With memories of a fantastic weekend with fantastic weather! I remember my wife Beryl lovingly packing an enormous bag with food for the entire weekend as we were told to do by the ever competent BBC. Only to arrive to be issued with meal vouchers and ushered into the dining tent for lunch. The first question, from the waiter complete with bow tie, was
“How would you like your duck, sir?” And so it went on from good to better! And the bag of food came home.

The other marvellous moment came at the end of 24 hours of prizewinning broadcasting, and five star catering.
The producer, who shall be nameless, said to the PA “can I have the ROT”. To which she replied, “What ROT? Nobody asked me to make an ROT.” There was a minor explosion as the Sony Award went out of the window!”‘