Andy Payne filming on the roof

Photo by Andy Stowe, no reproduction without permission














This photo shows cameraman, Andy Payne, filming the arrival of a harrier jump-jet at BBC Pebble Mill, from the roof of the building, for Pebble Mill at One. Andy’s great friend, Andy Stowe, was allowed up onto the roof by Security to take photos. They were accompanied by two sappers in case of any security issues!

Thanks to Andy Stowe for sharing the photo.

Andy Payne sadly died in the summer of 2016, he was a great cameraman, and a great bloke, and is sadly missed.

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

Pete Simpkin: ‘I recall no-one had told us at Local Radio that this was about to happen and as the noise got louder and louder we had to cut a live interview we were doing and play records until the dratted thing had landed!’

Julie Hill: ‘I remember it well. I was one of many “trapped” in the Pebble Mill Club (not that we minded of course) and watched it take off vertically on playing field. The whole building shook, the noise was incredible but awesome sight! There were often amazing other stunts too – who remembers the parachutists who landed all over the Bristol Road ha ha!!’

Philip Morgan: ‘I seem to recall leaning out of a fifth floor window to watch it land. What a way to spend lunchtime.’

Marie Phillips: ‘I remember that so well. I worked in Personnel on the sixth floor at the time and we watched the Harrier approach and then land. It was awesome and I can only describe the noise as making all my insides rattle !!’



Colin Pierpoint blog – Part 17

Pebble Mill canteen. Photo by Philip Morgan, no reproduction without permission

Pebble Mill restaurant. Photo by Philip Morgan, no reproduction without permission












I remember sitting in Pebble Mill the top floor restaurant while a motor bike was flying round the top of the building. Seeing Gangsters recorded and transmitted. The daily Pebble Mill at One. In fact for a long time I appeared daily on BBC1 because the opening titles had a shot of me walking along a corridor. I didn’t know until my mother asked if it was me!  In the Comms Centre we had to set up the a circuit daily from Pres A studio at the Television Centre, for the weatherman to be used in Pebble Mill at One. This was normally fed on the BBC2 distribution vision line, with Sound-in-Syncs for the sound, because in those days BBC2 didn’t begin transmission until the late afternoon.

Birmingham Network Production Centre, as it was officially known, was just the right size by accident to make an environment where everyone works together to the same aim. I brought my sister and her family on a visit, and got here to see makeup, which I could not have done in London if my face was not known. There were no divisions between departments and different disciplines which I saw elsewhere, where television people do not understand radio, and studio sound staff were unaware of film sound techniques. These problem were absent at Pebble Mill because you had coffee and meals in the same restaurant and talked to each other. I once had my evening meal with the Midlands Presenter for television, I used to invite other presenters into the Comms Centre for a coffee. A production Assistant and I had an arrangement to see each others jobs. One TM (Technical Manager in television) suggested I follow him around and see his work on the set for Pebble Mill at One. I think the regions NPC working environment has been undervalue by the BBC.

Colin Pierpoint




Pebble Mill mosaic

Pebble Mill Mural Suzie Curtlin

Photo by Suzie Curtlin, no reproduction without permission









Copyright Martin Phillip, no reproduction without permission

Copyright Philip Morgan, no reproduction without permission















When the Pebble Mill building was closed before being demolished in 2005, the mosaic mural in the courtyard was dismantled and a piece of it given to each member of staff, as a memento, which was a nice gesture. The mosaic was in the courtyard shown in the photograph, although unfortunately not visible in it.

Thanks to Suzie Curtlin for sharing this photo of her piece of mosaic tile.








Radio WM News Presentation Area with ringmain selector

DSCN2373 DSCN2372





















Photo copyright, Philip Morgan, no reproduction without permission.

These photos were taken by Philip Morgan in autumn 2004, when Pebble Mill had been emptied, and just prior to the auctioning off of equipment.

The top photo shows one of the Radio WM studios, with the second one showing a close up of the ringmain selector, which is mounted on the back wall.

I particularly like the piece of paper stuck to the wall reminding presenters not to forget to include the travel in the 7pm news bulletin, as well as the reminders for how to get accurate time signals!

Andy Walters added the following information:

“That was the NPA (News Presentation Area) at the end of the newsroom nearest WM. The ringmain was a separate one for the newsroom and there were several of them dotted around. in the NPA the red and gren dials appeared as monitoring sources on the desk. I remember having to remake those labels. Even though we had computer playout from 2001 the cartridge machines were still used for regional news bulletins to the end. There was a similar studio next door (The TPA!) and in Wolverhampton. Here’s the same room on it’s last day of action in June 2004. Due to some error none of WM’s equipment was auctioned and was slowly picked off by other stations who were still using the same equipment.”

News presentation area, photo from Andy Walters

News presentation area (NPA), photo from Andy Walters


Radio WM newsroom, the NPA, was just off here. Photo by Andy Walters

Radio WM newsroom, the NPA, was just off here. Photo by Andy Walters

Midlands Today from the Conservatory

Midlands Today notice AW

Photo by Philip Morgan, no reproduction without permission

Photo by Philip Morgan, no reproduction without permission







































In the final weeks of Pebble Mill in autumn 2004, different areas of the building were decommissioned at different times, as technical equipment was transferred to the Mailbox. I suspect that Studio B, the Midlands Today studio must have been decommissioned, leaving the regional news programme temporarily homeless, and having to find a short-term location – the Pebble Mill Conservatory. Hence the need for the notice, asking for quiet!

The Conservatory was originally built for Good Morning with Anne and Nick in 1992.

Thanks to Andy Walters for photographing the sign, and to Philip Morgan for photographing much of the Pebble Mill building, including the Conservatory.