Ed Doolan – Radio WM photo card

Ed Doolan

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

Thanks to Stuart Gandy for making this Radio WM photo card of Ed Doolan available.

Ed Doolan was born in Sydney, Australia, and spent ten years working as a school teacher, before taking up broadcasting, originally in German.  He started with Radio WM at BBC Pebble Mill in 1982, and began his consumer show in 1988.  He was awarded an MBE in 1998, and was the first person to be awarded Honorary Degrees by Birmingham City University, University of Birmingham and Aston University!

Andrew Langstone makes the following comment about working for Radio WM:

“I did some stints of work experience during university vacations with BBC Radio WM (as it was then) assisting on the mid-morning ‘206 Team’ with Gyn Freeman and Stuart Roper. Production team was Phil Horner, and Bill Morris who went on to big things at Broadcasting House in London – I think he’s now left the BBC and is involved in the opening of The Olympics next year. The 206 team shared an office with Ed and also Malc and Rosie of ‘The Barmaids Arms’! Happy memories indeed!”

Tim Manning makes the following comment:

“I was Ed’s first producer when he joined BBC Radio WM from BRMB. It was an important and slightly nervous moment for the then senior management (Manager John Pickles and Programme Organiser Jeremy Robinson) as it was important both for the future of the re-launched station and morale that Ed’s show worked. Some longer-term members of staff weren’t entirely comfortable about his high-profile arrival from commercial radio and the new emphasis on personalities. Ed was nervous too, as moving was a risk for him and he needed to convince an audience which wasn’t just Birmingham, but we spent a few weeks before he went live settling ourselves in and recording some shows, and when he did hit the airwaves, we had a great time. I moved on to very different things, but the years have since proved that Radio WM turned out to be the perfect home for Ed.”

Pebble Mill walkthrough – 1997 video by Tony Wadsworth

This video of the BBC Pebble Mill building was taken by Tony Wadsworth in 1997. It is a walk-through from outside to the studios of Radio WM where Tony worked from 1991-2004. Featured are: Julie Mayer, Lesley Hale, Lee Stone and Malcolm Boyden.

Thanks to Tony Wadsworth for making the video available.

Christian Marchers – Pete Simpkin

Here is another group who provided programme material…they came on a sponsored walk from Walsall and were raising money for a tape recorder to help them in their endeavours. They are being greeted at the Mill by Religious Programmes Organiser the Rev Michael Blood and Pete Simpkin the Producer of religious programmes.

The Green Machine – Pete Simpkin

The creators of 'The Green Machine'

‘The Green Machine’ was another innovative show from the community, a sort of ‘with it’ religious education experiment from the Birmingham Council of Churches which had a great response. Shown here are the creators of the programme the Revs David Tennant and Laurie Green with presenter John Cornbill.

Pete Simpkin

Memories of Pebble Mill

Pete in WM Studio 1

From PETE SIMPKIN  – Radio Birmingham/WM producer and presenter 1970-1988

Pebble Mill was a pioneering Broadcasting Centre custom built to house the cream of the BBC’s non metropolitan broadcasting and its staff. It unified under one roof several premises in Birmingham and so brought together all the talent and technology for Broadcasting in the 70s and 80s. It also was the headquarters of the BBC’s non London Organisation.  Others will tell the story of the building, of it’s multitude of programmes both on TV and Radio. There was a high profile Radio operation including drama and Music of all kinds, not forgetting of course the fact that it was the home of ‘The Archers’, the Radio soap opera.

For my part it was a terrific place to work. Local Radio was the first part of the operation to be homed here as it went ‘On air’ as the Mill was being commissioned. Wherever there are local radio broadcasters there are thousands of tales to tell and so I have collected here just four personal memories which pull together the magic of working at Pebble Mill and the ways in which this extraordinary building operated for good or ill!