Radio Birmingham audio slideshow – Pete Simpkin

Copyright resides with Pete Simpkin, no reproduction without permission.

This audio slideshow of 1970s and ’80s photographs, was produced by Pete Simpkin, and used when he gave talks about the work of Radio Birmingham ‘Heart of the Nation’.  It dates from the time when Pete presented the Breakfast programme, and illustrates the daily routine of the Station, which was based at BBC Pebble Mill.

Marconi Mark One Camera – Pete Simpkin

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

I remember the Marconi Mk ONE……we trained on them at Evesham (Wood Norton) and this picture is of three of us carrying out some ‘impact’ maintenance on one of them! On the left is Phil Upton showing where to hit the camera and wielding the panning handle is Keith Tucker. We were from all the regional studios and I cannot recall the members from Birmingham on TA Course 16 in the Spring of 1963.

Pete Simpkin


Tim Manning – 206 Five Star Listening

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

This photo flyer of Tim Manning dates from 1981, and the relaunch of Radio WM, as ‘206 – Five Star Listening’.  Tim was the head of the 206 Information Team, as well as presenting ‘Great! It’s Saturday’, on Saturday mornings.

The photo was taken by Stuart Roper, at the side of Pebble Mill, by the brook.

Tim moved from radio and went on to work with executive producer John King on many television entertainment shows.

Producer/presenter Pete Simpkin remembers the era well:

‘It certainly was a time of great change and for some of us took some time to adapt, but it turned out to be fun, and there is no doubt that although some of the ideas were challenging, the changes laid the foundations for the present success at WM. Among other things I got involved with was a trip to Dallas Texas and another time found myself doing a ‘Radio 3′ style announcing job at the old Town Hall with the CBSO when we went stereo.’

Radio Birmingham Carnival Float – photo by Annie Gumbley

Photo by Annie Gumbley, no reproduction without permission.

This photo is of the Radio Birmingham float, from the Birmingham Carnival, dating from the 1970s.

Producer and presenter Pete Simpkin is on the right handside, in the white shirt. In the red jacket at the back is Early Show and Traffic presenter Peter York,next to him Alex Lester (now the Radio 2 Thro’ the night presenter), just behing Annie G is David Lowe who was a tech op, now writes TV theme tunes. Next to Annie, is Kathy Nelson (Kathy Scott then), behind to the left is Crol McLeod and to the left Clair ? ex copy taker in the Newsroom.

Please add a comment if you can identify the others.  Thanks to Pete Simpkin and Annie Gumbley-Williams for identifying many in the photo.


‘Yorkie’ – Radio Birmingham, by Pete Simpkin

Here’s someone else you may recall from the Radio Birmingham days……’Yorkie’ (Peter York) was a regular presenter of many programmes especially the old 5am show which I often followed at 7am. He was also a speedway announcer and reporter and still appears at the remaining tracks around the UK. We shared the dubious honour of covering the first night of nude bathing sessions at the old Handsworth baths……he had been comissioned to ‘cover’ it for the breakfast ‘Heart of the Nation’ News programme but as the organisers would only allow him in if he too appeared ‘au naturel’ he refused to go unless I (as presenter) accompanied him in a similar fashion. Unfortunately no photographs were allowed but we still have the tape!

Pete Simpkin