Voice of the Listener and Viewer visit 1992

BBC Pebble Mill (1992)












Photo copyright Robin Vanags, 1992. No reproduction without permission.

Here are Robin Vanags recollections of visiting Pebble Mill in 1992, around the time that the 21st anniversary of the building was being celebrated:

‘Those of us visiting BBC Pebble Mill from ‘Voice of the Listener & Viewer’ in November 1992 were guided by a gentleman who had worked for the BBC in Birmingham from before the centre was built & who recalled masses of cabling, visible in large apertures in the floors, before the studios opened in 1971.

In addition to the network & local radio facilities, we visited a very smart BBC Midlands Today set, in television studio B, and, after a live broadcast of Pebble Mill (no longer ‘at One’) from television studio A (where the new Sony cameras were in action), we toured studio A’s 3 control rooms (production, lighting & sound) which appeared to me, as sophisticated & impressive as those I’d seen at BBC Television Centre in London.  Good Morning with Anne and Nick occupied the foyer – previously home to Pebble Mill At One.’

Robin Vanags



Angela Rippon presenting Top Gear

Copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission

Copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission










Here is a screen grab of Angela Rippon presenting the first ever episode of the motoring magazine show, Top Gear, stood outside BBC Pebble Mill, from 1977. An excerpt of this episode is included in the following BBC show, Back in Time for the Weekend, episode 3, The 70s: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b071c07m/back-in-time-for-the-weekend-3-the-70s

Here is the Radio Times entry for an early episode of Top Gear, from July 1978, courtesy of the BBC Genome project: http://genome.ch.bbc.co.uk/53d7caaca2db42e9af4b102cb6bb061b. You’ll see from the text that the programme was much more consumer and safety conscious than the current iteration of Top Gear:

“Top Gear with Angela Rippon and Barrie Gill
Rippon on the Road
The big holiday rush begins this weekend and many drivers plan to travel through Friday night. How dangerous is this practice? What are the stress factors and what are the signs of fatigue? Angela finds out for herself by night driving to the West Country. Twenty people are killed and over 200 seriously injured each week yet these figures could be cut to one tenth if we used our seat belts. Should we leave it to persuasion or is compulsion the final answer?
Director PHIL FRANKLlN Producer DEREK SMITH BBC Birmingham

Behind the scenes of a Pebble Mill rehearsal

FM Steve Pierson mimes Curtis Steiger

FM Steve Pierson mimes Curtis Steiger

Debbie Hood in the audience seating area

AFM Debbie Hood in the audience seating area

Peter Poole and Andy Morton adjust sound

Peter Poole and Andy Morton sorting out sound

Wilf Welch walks through shot

Wilf Welch, cameraman, walks through shot








































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

These grabs are taken from a rehearsal of the lunchtime studio entertainment show, Pebble Mill, which went out from Studio A from 1991-6. The rehearsal was recorded by Paul Vanezis.

Thanks to Laura McNeill for taking the grabs and sharing them.

Floor team mimes to Curtis Steiger on Pebble Mill!

Steve Pierson, Laura McNeill miming to Curtis Steiger Steve Pierson miming, Laura McNeill
























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

The floor management team, led by Steve Pierson, and accompanied by Laura McNeill, mime to Curtis Steiger, You’re all that matters to me. VT recorded the  Pebble Mill rehearsal for posterity.

Thanks to Laura McNeill for making the grabs available.

Pebble Mill 2004

Pebble Mill 2004 from pebblemill on Vimeo.

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

This video was recorded on December 11th, 2004 by John Sarson. By this time production had moved to the new BBC Birmingham headquarters at the Mailbox, and the excess equipment had been auctioned off, prior to the building being demolished in 2005. The site is now being redeveloped as a dental hospital.

Thanks to John Sarson, and the VT Oldboys for sharing this video. There is plenty more interesting material on the VT Oldboys website, so do take a look: http://vtoldboys.com/.

Pebble Mill reception Dec 2004









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

Terry Powell: ‘I walked through those doors for many a happy year’

Andy Marriott: ‘Where was the tape storage area?’

Pete Simpkin: ‘The nagging question is what happened to all the tapes in that library?’

Janet Collins: ‘Tape storage area was down stairs in the basement.’

Matt Toomer: ‘Did all those tapes get rescued or were they binned?’