Photos by Peter Poole, no reproduction without permission. I took these photos in 2003. They show the self-opt presentation studio which was operated by the news reader. They could opt out of the network programme and switch all the Midlands transmitters to enable a regional news bulletin. With the increasing number of regional bulletins during the Breakfast programme a dedicated production gallery was installed. This freed the news reader from any equipment operation. The gallery enabled video reports to be played and was operated by the director. This area also housed the computer graphics equipment. This was used for the weather maps.
Stuart Gandy adds the following information: ‘In 1991 there was a project to make the presentation studios in all the regions stereo and included a new self op desk that the presenters used in the studio itself. At Pebble Mill though it was decided to build a gallery for the pres studio as well, that could be used to direct the shorter bulletins from instead of using the main gallery, so needing less people. Hence this was built with a tiny budget. The far end of the gallery here was where the news paintbox was located that was used to produce at very short notice, the graphics for Midlands Today.’
Pete Simpkin remembers visiting the self opt desk: ‘I remember visiting the late David Stevens at work in the self op days and noticed he sat on phone directories as he was a little short to be correctly framed by the locked off camera.’
Mary Sanchez remembers working in the Regional news gallery, ‘ I remember gallery B very well- worked from there for years- vision mixing and directing Midlands Today and Midlands at Westminster etc … Many happy ( and lots of scary!) memories! Self opt desk at 6am – hilarious with carol , sheila and Mandy ….!!’
Roz Gower remembers, ‘the terrifying experience of directing and vision mixing Mids Today! Did the gallery really look that tatty? And the monitor stack looks positively Heath Robinson! But in spite of the gut wrenching nerves it was somehow all great fun.’