Graham Todd













Graham Todd’s partner, Beryl, has been in touch with Annie Gumbley Williams, about Graham’s sad passing. Graham aged 59,  was a member of Comms Department for many years. Graham died last week, after a short stay in hospital. He was diagnosed with cancer early in 2012 but the chances of survival from it were very low. Beryl said they had a long time to come to terms with this and Graham has been amazing throughout.

If you would like details of funeral arrangements please add a comment here, and I will forward your contact details to Annie.


If anyone has photos of Graham (on his own or with others) that you don’t mind sharing please let me know, as Beryl would very much like to see them.
The following comments were left on the Pebble Mill Facebook page:
Paul Grice: ‘A brilliant and committed professional who was a pleasure to work with. Sad to see he has gone so young.’

Steve Dellow: ‘Sad news..enjoyed time with Graham in the old Comms Centre and out on OBs.’

Ruth Barretto: ‘I remember him when I worked for all the engineers, he was a true gent.’

Brian Johnson: ‘Shocked to hear such sad news, I worked with Graham a great deal in Comms, always a pleasure to work with.’

Grade ‘C’ Course – Wood Norton 1964

Grade C No 46 June 1964 PS











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

The photo is of the ‘Grade C’ No. 46 trainees at Wood Norton, from June 1964! Pebble Mill’s telecine engineer: Jim Gregory is on the front row, fourth from the left, and Pete Simpkin (who became a Radio Birmingham producer/presenter, after a stint in Southampton), is third from the left in the middle row.

Pete remembers that the trainees had a use a mix of different cameras, including two Marconi Mk 1′s, an EMI vidicon and an Marconi Mk 3 3″ IO.

Thanks to Pete Simpkin for making the photo available.

Paul Grice added the following information about the Grade ‘C’ course, on the Pebble Mill Facebook group:

‘The ‘C’ course was the final course in gaining ETSIs (engineering training standing instructions) for people recruited as school leavers or graduates. School leavers had to do part one (electronics) and part two ( TV, radio or transmitters) while graduates only did part two. It took part in the 2nd or 3rd years of careers and was recognised all over the world as the bet qualification for broadcast engineers. I taught at Wood Norton from 1977 to 1988 when I moved to Pebble Mill.’

What’s Your Story

What's Your Story 2
What's Your Story 1 JFWhat's Your Story JF






















Copyright resides with the original holders, no reproduction without permission. Bottom two photos by James French.

These photos are from a 1988 children’s live drama, recorded in Studio A at Pebble Mill, called What’s Your Story, with Crew 3.  Included in the photos are Keith Salmon, James French, Derek Hallworth, Simon Bennett, Richard Stevenson, Adrian Kelly, Nigel Beaumont, Noel Paley, Karen Lamb and Dave Ballantyne.

What’s Your Story was a drama series with the storyline continued daily with ideas phoned in by viewers.

Christopher Pilkington was the exec producer, Richard Simkin the director and Richard Simon the producer. Dave Bushell was the lighting director.

The series featured: Sylvester McCoy (narrator), Bill Stewart, Susie Baster, Ben Benson, Tim Diggle, Lisa Rose (Laura), Stephen Tredre and Grace Wilkinson.

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

Stuart Gandy: ‘I remember this well. It was quite a challenge from an engineering point of view, but it worked well. I think this was the programme that I got my name on the credits. Engineers usually didn’t unless they were directly driving the gallery. In this case the credits included absolutely everybody that had been involved, however slight.’

Paul Grice: ‘I think it also held the record for the number of phonecalls generated at one time. As a fairly new Comms manager at the time it was my responsibility although I think Mike Day did the real work!’

Eagle Tower – Stuart Gandy

Eagle Tower 1980

Photo by Stuart Gandy, no reproduction without permission.

The photo is of the Eagle Tower, it was taken in 1980 in the Pebble Mill car park. This vehicle was used by the Comms department at Outside Broadcasts. It had a 60 foot mast that was raised and had a microwave dish on top that was used to transmit the programmes back from the OB to a receiving point. The Comms engineers needed a good head for heights as they had to climb the mast to position the dish correctly. It was usually driven by one of the many Pebble Mill ‘rigger/drivers’ as they were known.

Stuart Gandy

Paul Grice, added the following comment on Facebook: ‘It’s interesting to think that these were the mainstay of OB transmissions until satellite technology took over in the 90’s and that they only transmitted over line of sight which meant some OB locations might need three midpoints to get the signal back. Here’s to the people who spent many a happy day stuck on a remote hilltop.’

Richard Taylor left the following comment: ‘I would hasten to add that we didn’t actually climb all 60 feet of it! The first stage was 30 feet, the mast was telescopic and rose from the centre of the first stage. It was all done by hydraulics, the engine gearbox being locked in to a hydraulic pump mode first. After the first stage was raised to the vertical, we’d climb up the fixed vertical ladder, through a small trapdoor and onto the platform raising the safety rails.

The radio link components had to be manually hauled up, using a hoist arm, and bolted into place. Once all was fitted together the tower could then be raised and panned remotely from the ground.

I remember giving David Robinson, an EM then, cause for concern at a Grand Prix rig. The tower chassis had been extended lengthwise for some reason, and the shuttle valve to convert prop shaft motion from driving to pumping would jam. The solution was to get into the chassis and “help” it with a long screwdriver. All perfectly safe, wouldn’t do it otherwise, but David was concerned because the engine was still running, and someone could have knocked it into gear accidently. Not with a burly Rigger Driver guarding the cab, they couldn’t!!’