The World of James Herriot – exhibition

Photos copyright of ‘The World of James Herriot’, no reproduction without permission.

‘The World of James Herriot’ in Thirsk in North Yorkshire celebrates the life of ‘James Herriot’ (James Alfred Wight).  It is currently staging a special exhibition about ‘All Creatures Great and Small’.  The series was filmed on location in Askrigg in the Yorkshire Dales, with the interiors recorded in Pebble Mill’s Studio A.

Several months ago the organiser of the exhibition asked permission to use some of the ‘All Creatures’ photos posted on this website – which the takers of those photos were happy to agree to.  Tim Savage had taken photos of the Studio sets, and Maggie Thomas of the locations.  Several people who worked on the series are also quoted in the exhibition, including make-up designer, Maggie Thomas and  sound technician, Paul Balmer.

The organiser of special exhibition sent me these photos of the display, and you can see Paul and Maggie’s contributions on one of the boards.

Roy Castle Beats Time – Paul Balmer

Stephane Grappelli on 'Roy Castle Beats Time'

Stephane Grappelli on ‘Roy Castle Beats Time’ with The Suzuki Children.

The Story;

I met Stephane the day before this photo at ‘Pebble Mill at One’ – with Diz Disley and John Etheridge – he was riding high with a new Hot Club Trio and platinum selling albums with Yehudi Menuhin. I’d always been a fan of the original 1930’s HCQ line up with Django Reinhardt.

He wanted somewhere to warm up and I took him to Studio 1 which was empty as usual! – he was in seventh heaven.

He had just acquired his wonderful Galiano violin (he had never had money before!) he played non stop for the next two days and refused to stand under the notoriously hot Pebble Mill lighting in case the Galiano dried out – this caused big problems as he stood in the gloom.

The next day for Roy Castle the producer had prepared a surprise – ‘The Suzuki Children’ came on as a treat and formed a circle around Stephane playing their tiny violins. Stephane was very moved and wanted a souvenir photo – I rushed off and found a freelance who took the snap.

Stephane gave me his address and I posted it to him. Astonishingly he wrote back!

This was the beginning of a friendship of 20 years. I eventually wrote his biography, produced a one hour feature for BBC Radio 2 and directed a three hour DECCA DVD ‘A Life In The Jazz Century’ which was nominated for a BAFTA in 2002.

When we cleared Stephane’s Paris flat in 1997 the photo was still amongst his souvenirs.

Pebble Mill was full of surprises!

Paul Balmer

Radio Training Week – Paul Balmer

Paul Balmer - supervising school children

Radio Training Week.

Jock Gallagher invited schools to come and learn about Radio production that’s me in ‘M3’ teaching tape editing with a razor blade!

I spent most of the day with Kenneth Williams as a ‘minder’ – I think Jock wanted him out of his hair . Kenneth spent most of the day regaling me with the agony of his haemorrhoids!

Pebble mill was full of surprises!

Paul Balmer

Song for Christmas – Paul Balmer

Mixing a 'Song for Christmas'

I loved this show!

Every Christmas 100’s of schools submitted entries for the Song For Christmas Competition.

The quadrangle was filled with artificial snow and Christmas trees – MAGIC.

I was Sound Supervisor and hand picked a great little crew – the tracks were recorded in London and mixed on Studio 2 ‘s 4000E SSL – 24 tracks and state of the art outboard gear.

Wayne Unwin won one year with ‘Snow in Moscow’ and this is him mixing in Studio 2 with Mike Massey. Wayne now works as a composer as Ty Unwin – his name pops up on the end of programmes.

Paul Balmer

Paul Balmer on Pebble Mill at One

‘Paul Balmer on the ‘Pebble Mill at One’ Set – with cameraman Howard Dartnall and Link 125 camera, taken around 1983′

Note all the joins in the set! The daily design budget was probably a couple of hundred quid! The floor was also full of joins so the Vinten pedestals would jolt as they crossed these giving the familiar ‘Pebble Mill Bump!’ to any tracking shots.

(Paul Balmer