Memories of the VPR20 – Norman McLeod

(Norman McLeod remembers the following incident involving the VPR20, a portable 1″ recorder)

Nigel Evans and Ian Dewar spent 3 days and nights trying to repair the beast in Raffles Hotel Singapore – a ‘Pebble Mill at One’ Summer shoot in 1984 with Donny MacLeod, Paul Coia, Peter Seabrook. Eventually, an Ampex engineer was diverted from Malaysia with chips. The then Video Manager refused to let us take one of the new-fangled Beta portables as back up, so we had to borrow a Singapore TV VHS for the first part of the month. Don Cooper was camera, Roger Casstles directed, Arthur Binnie producer, Nicky Barfoot prodn. asst. Dick Bentley E.M. All our credit cards (especially Dick’s) were hammered to pay for facilities not covered by production – especially the Tiger beer.

Also used on Loch Ness on a Scottish adventure with John Smith – Whisky distillery at dawn: and the “Sealink Cycle Race” with Norman Steemson sitting in the boot of a Rover hatchback from the Isle of Wight to Sheffield.

Norman McLeod

‘Pebble Mill at One’ location shoot – Ian Collins & Jane Mclean


Photos by Ian Collins and Jane Mclean, no reproduction without permission.

These photos are of a ‘Pebble Mill at One’ location trip to the Netherlands and Belgium.  They date from 1982.

The photos include Stephanie Silk (white cardigan), producer; Tony Rayner, director.  The presenter in the red suit is Marjorie Lofthouse, and it looks like gardening presenter Peter Seabrook is also featured. Jane Mclean was the PA on the shoot.

The shoots covered Amsterdam, including a trip to a Dutch cheese factory, and the Floriade in Belgium.

Steph Silk remembers the trip: ‘ The girl in the boat was a Dutch pop star of the time and she was about to burst into song. To be fair to Tony Rayner the pic of him was taken in a Dutch cheese factory and not a brewery! The unusual pic of me with a glass of wine and a cigarette was taken at the Floriade, Holland’s gigantic Tulip Festival (when we had wrapped!) I vaguely remember that Tony Wolfe was there? The most notable thing about that shoot is that it was the first and last time that I ever saw Jane cLean in a skirt!’

Peter Seabrook’s Gardening Week – Gail Herbert’s photos

Peter Seabrook presented many gardening programmes at Pebble Mill including Gardeners’ World in the 1970s, Pebble Mill at One in the 1970s and 80s, and the gardening advice show: Peter Seabrook’s Gardening Week in the 1990s.  These photos from Gail Herbert, who was the production assistant on the series, feature the production team, probably from 1996.  Gail is wearing the red scarf on the first photo, on the left of Gail is Kathy Bryant, and Rachel Innes-Lumsden is crouched down.  Rachel went on to become BBC Head of Development Factual and Learning in 2006, and won a BAFTA for her work on The Tower – A Tale of Two Cities in 2008.

Peter Seabrook's Programme Team

Seabrook team - Kathy Bryant & Rachel Innes Lumsden