Empire Road – Wedding

Photos from Janice Rider, no reproduction without permission.

The wedding episode of the black soap opera, ‘Empire Road’ was transmitted on 25 October 1979, it seems to be the final episode.  It was directed by Horace Ove, written by Michael Abbensetts, and produced at Pebble Mill by Peter Ansorge.  Janice Rider was the costume designer.

Norman Beaton played Everton, Corinne Skinner-Carter played Hortense, Wayne Laryea played Marcus.

The photos include publicity stills, polaroids taken for continuity reasons and the original drawn design for the wedding dress.



Empire Road – Radio Times













‘Radio Times’ front cover from 1976, courtesy of Janice Rider, who was the costume designer on ‘Empire Road’.

‘Empire Road’ was the first black soap opera in Britain.  It was produced at Pebble Mill by Peter Ansorge.  It was written by Michael Abbensetts, and starred Norman Beaton.

‘Empire Road’ was shot in Studio A, and on location in Handsworth.

Salt on a Snake’s Tail – Come to Mecca











Photo by Tim Savage, no reproduction without permission.

This photo is from a drama outside broadcast, probably from one of the ‘Come to Mecca’ dramas, called: ‘Salt on a Snake’s Tail’. The Traffic Warden, with the rigger driver, Bob Few, is writing out a ticket for the scanner, CM2 – despite it having a parking permit!

‘Salt on a Snake’s Tail’, was transmitted in 1983, it was written by Farrukh Dhondy. Franco Ross was the director, Peter Ansorge the producer, and Ian Ashurst the production designer.

The cast included: Zia Mohyeddin, Andrew Johnson, Gill Dharminder.

The following comment was posted on the Pebble Mill Facebook Group:

Andy Bentley: ‘Last time I saw Bob (Few) was a number of years ago, I had just parked the car on Barmouth Sea front when someone shouted ‘Oi what the F*** are you doing here. It was Bob driving a coach full of passengers.’

Come to Mecca – Janice Rider

Photos by Janice Rider, no reproduction without permission.

‘Come to Mecca’ was transmitted on 2 Dec 1983.  It was produced by Peter Ansorge at Pebble Mill, and directed by John McGrath.  It was written by  the Anglo-Indian writer, Farrukh Dhondy.

The story involves Shahid, who is delighted when Betty asks him to go to a meeting at her house.  It is about the crossover and misunderstandings between different cultures.

The play stars, Sharman Macdonald (Betty), Dinesh Shukla, Nick Stringer, Moti Makan, Paul Anil, along with Zia Mohyeddin and Phil Daniels.

Janice Rider worked in the costume department, and took these polaroids for continuity reasons, so that the actors’ costumes matched from scene to scene and shoot to shoot.



Empire Road – Janice Rider

Video interview with costume designer Janice Rider, about working on the drama series: Empire Road.  Empire Road was produced at Pebble Mill by Peter Ansorge and written by Michael Abbensetts.  It was the first soap opera in Britain with a black and asian cast, starring Norman Beaton.

Radio Times 1979