Outside Broadcast Culture – Adapt Project

This video is part of Royal Holloway, University of London’s ‘Adapt’ project, which organises and records reconstructions of heritage television production practices with the historic equipment. The project is led by Professor John Ellis.

In May 2016 the project arranged a the reconstruction of an outside broadcast, using the restored OB truck, CMCR9, which was Pebble Mill’s original CM1, later becoming Manchester’s North 3.

In this video the veteran BBC crew from the reconstruction discuss the culture of outside broadcasts in the 1960s and 70s. The crew is I think a predominantly BBC Manchester one.

This video is protected through a Creative Commons licence.

Veteran CMCR9 crew

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

Richard Stevenson: ‘Jane Whitmore is sat next to the first guy speaking. A BBC Sport PA whom I worked with on everything from cricket to bobsleigh. Dave Taylor, legendary camera supervisor from Manchester is to her right. Robin Sutherland to his right – ex KA camera sup. Roger Neale, KA Vision Sup (“Twink”) in the blue jumper under the camera by the dart board. Doug Whittaker (?) at 4’35” – ex KA sound sup.’

Dave Rimmington: ‘Geoff Wilson is the guy speaking next to Jane (ex BBC Manchester Director).’

 

Studio B in action

Copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission

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Studio B in action at BBC Pebble Mill circa 1975/6. Jack Rooke on the left hand camera and Dave Doogood on the right hand one. The presenter looks like a young Tom Coyne, who presented Midlands Today.

Studio B was used for Midlands Today as well as many other programmes, which didn’t need the much larger, Studio A.

Thanks to Stuart Gandy for making the photograph available.

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

Malcolm Hickman: ‘EMI 2001s on HP peds.’

Richard Stevenson: ‘Although the cameras changed, pretty sure those peds stayed until the end.’

Carole Haysom: ‘Early Sunday mornings for Farming today…remember getting a few shorts straws for that!!!!’

Susan Astle: ‘Farming and Asian progs on a Sunday, early days at Pebble Mill! I remember Samantha once coming in the night before frock! They were early starts!!’

Helen Smith: ‘Love this – that is my Dad on the right hand camera!’

Richard Stevenson: ‘Many happy days being trained by your father. He taught me a lot for which I will always be grateful.’

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Bob Meikle and Jim Gray

Photo by Richard Stevenson, no reproduction without permission

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This photo is of cameramen, Bob Meikle and Jim Gray, sitting in the Crush Bar, outside Studio A, enjoying a break and a snack. It was taken by Richard Stevenson in February 1990, when Bob and Jim were presumably working on a show in Studio A.

The following comment was left on the Pebble Mill Facebook page:

Stuart Gandy: ‘This was when the servery for the crush bar was downstairs, before eventually moving to the corridor above.’

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New Window Please!

Photographs from Andy Stowe, no reproduction without permission

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Thanks to Andy Stowe and Malcolm Hickman for this tale from Pebble Mill:

Andy’s father, Pat Stowe, supervised the team of glaziers called in to install a replacement window at Pebble Mill in the late 1970’s. As you can see from the photo, it was a huge piece of glass, in the corridor outside Studio A!

Ray Lee added a comment about the cause of the broken glass:

“The incident I remember, was after a Saturday Night at the Mill, which I worked on. There was an item involving Paratroupers landing on the lawn and the Lighting TM had two large lights shining through the windows to illuminate the area. He checked regularly to make sure the windows were not getting hot, and all seemed well.
The program went well, and all the lights were turned off. That night was a very cold night with a sharp frost. At about 3am there was a loud bang heard by security. The thermal stress had proved too much and both windows that had been warmed cracked. A plastic film was applied to the cracked windows to prevent them falling out while replacement glass was arranged, which had to be imported as a special order as the size was too big for any UK Float Glass company.
The cracked windows were there several months before they were replaced, and when they were, it featured as an item on Pebble Mill at One. When the windows were replaced, the top edge needed an extra wide section of “putty” as the glass was about half an inch short of the top frame! I was there on the day they were put in as well, and remember seeing the gap at the top of the glass before the extra “putty” was applied.”

Malcolm Hickman remembers the incident well:

“I was watching as they removed the old glass. They attached these big suckers to it, took all the trim off and started pulling with the crane. It refused to budge, so one of the men claimed onto the frame that had the suckers mounted on it and started bashing the glass around the edges with a big rubber mallet. It came out in 3 big pieces.”

“No hard hats or safety gear. That would have been my dad!” (Andy Stowe)

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

Herbie Donnelly: ‘I believe the light didn’t fall over but was placed too close to the window. Its purpose being to live alone for parachutists to see it as they jumped in on Saturday Night At The Mill. The subsequent heat caused the glass to crack.’

Jayne Savage: ‘ I thought the safety film went on after the Birmingham bombings and because of threats to the building but maybe it was this incident.’

Richard Stevenson: ‘Many happy hours sat by those windows in the days when tea breaks were part of the drama schedule and as the trainee, you were dispatched with loose change from the camera crew to get the tea in at the time of the allotted break.’

Keith Ackrill: ‘I also think the film was added to avoid splinters after an explosion. I also believe the light was too close to the glass, but not as a guide for parachutist. I believe it was for some routine to be shot there, and the lamp was left there too long. I cannot recall any parachutist landing on the lawn after dark.’

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A Sort of Innocence – James French

Behind the Scenes; A Sort of Innocence from pebblemill on Vimeo.

Video copyright, James French, no reproduction without permission.

James French has provided the following information about this behind the scenes footage which he recorded on location for A Sort of Innoncence, known as ‘The Hereford Project’ at the time. The first sequence is by the river in Hereford and the other involves a low-loader being rigged at Chateau Impney in Droitwich Spa:

This was a two camera shoot using CM2 and I (James French) was second camera, Keith Salmon camera. The cameras were Philips LDK 514s with Angenieux lenses for the techie-types.

The Director was John Gorrie. You hear him but don’t see him in the first sequence. The 1st AD is Peter Rose, who went on to direct several soaps including Crossroads, Eastenders and Coronation Street. Main actor: Kenneth Cranham. Boy: Neil Jeffery, LD: Barry Chatfield, Sparks: Dave Walter, Sound: Tony Wass, Tim Everett.

It was in 1986 I think.

I am embarrassed that I can’t remember the grip’s name and I think the cable basher is rigger, Barry but can’t remember his surname.

Second clip

EM: Dave Robinson, Spark: Roger Hynes (can’t remember the other guy), Director: John Gorrie seen sitting on the kerb in the early panning shot, Engineer: Peter Eggleston, Vision Mixer: Roger Sutton, Rigger: George Stephenson, Editor: Mike Bloore.

Here is the Radio Times entry from the first episode courtesy of the BBC Genome project:

A six-part serial by ALICK ROWE Episode 1 starring
Kenneth Cranham Cheryl Campbell Michael Byrne
Introducing Neil Jeffery Elizabeth Fellowes seems well suited to life in a small cathedral town. Her husband, Mark, teaches at the cathedral school where her son, Tim, is a chorister. Unknown to the family, boardroom battles are taking place elsewhere. These are to have a dramatic effect on their future lives together.
Music composed by RICHARD HARVEY Script editor JENNY SHERIDAN Designers
MYLES LANG. AMANDA ATKINSON Producer RUTH BOSWELL Director JOHN GORRIE

genome.ch.bbc.co.uk/56046536e8054c6fb2167b2d10c5920f

 

behind the scenes on A Sort of Innocence

behind the scenes on A Sort of Innocence

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Diana Lester: ‘Thanks James, I cannot believe that was over 30 years ago. …lovely to see faces from the past, many who unfortunately are no longer with us ….and we all look so young !!’

Karen Lamb: ‘Hearing Keith’s voice again was so special saying “don’t point it at the sun” such wonderful memories working on crew 5.’

Dawn/Kevin Hudson: ‘Great memories,the grip was Ronnie Fleet, and the fella brushing the path was affectionately known as Gonzo.’

Richard Stevenson: ‘Great clip. Is Tim booming wearing a tie?! Those were the days.’