Kenny Ball plays Saturday Night at the Mill


Copyright resides with the original holder

In 1977 Kenny Ball and his band were the house band for the entertainment show from Pebble Mill, ‘Saturday Night at the Mill’. The show was a spin off from ‘Pebble Mill at One’. Here is the title track of the band’s 1977 album, which was also the show’s title music.

Thanks to David Ackrill for sharing the link.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo of Donny MacLeod and the Kenny Ball band by John Burkill, no reproduction without permission.

The following comments were added on the Pebble Mill Facebook Group:

David Crozier: ‘I was the designer on a number of these shows. I remember them as being huge fun and with a very real sense of being live. It was working on Sarurday Night at The Mill which gave me the first yearnings for becoming a live programme, multi-camera TV director, which I later became. Great times!

Stuart Gandy: ‘It certainly was a fun programme to work on and like so many programmes we did, put Birmingham on the broadcasting map, something it sadly no longer seems to be.’

Julian Hitchcock: ‘I was Floor Assistant / AFM on any number if these and recall it all vividly. As David says, “great fun”.’

Kevin Lakin: ‘I remember Bruce Forsyth taking a very dim view of trays of beer being bought down from the bar on the 2nd floor during rehearsals . . . . pillock’

Janice Rider: ‘I earned the nickname Strobe Rider from Rob Hinds after the Hollywood movie star Joseph Cotten threatened to walk off the programme if he couldn’t wear his very inappropriate black & white dogtooth jacket which flared dreadfully during his interview !’

Julian Hitchcock: ‘Now this is interesting. I remember going on the studio directors’ course and wanting, in my final project piece, to show a scene in a cinema (it was an adaptation if Graham Greene’s short story, “A Place off the Edgware Road”. Cinemas are, of course, dark. However, the technical manager was adamant that if the scene was dark, no one would be able to see anything,- as if this could not possibly have been intended. I pathetically agreed, with the consequence that the cinema was entirely visible. On this basis, what would be wrong with a person appearing with a “strobing” jacket? When, having left TV, I found myself having to be interviewed in the foyer, I deliberately put on a check jacket because I wanted to strobe…’

Jane Mclean: ‘I did autocue. Maggie Walne (Kidger) was PA. Yes, a beautifully alcoholic programme to work on. And afterwards we always went to The Strathallan on Hagley Rd to wind down. Remember Roy Norton directing the early morning traffic! He directed with Roy Ronnie (I think I’m right).’

Julian Hitchcock: ‘I can never remember Roy Ronnie directing, but it’s possible. They were each great fun in different ways. Norton was wonderfully nervy. I well recall him ordering us ( the floor crew) to “make them laugh”. And thereon hangs another tail.’

Kevin Lakin: ‘Does anyone remember the ” The James Last Orchestra ” fiasco . . . the 50 piece Orchestra were going to be performing in the courtyard, then at 7 o clock we were told they would coming into the foyer, at 7.30 the whole Orchestra went back outside, and that’s when the two Roys went and hid on the 5th floor.’

Julian Hitchcock: ‘I do! Better with hindsight than at the time. I was the guy who had to tell Herr Last. I think this was one if the things that lead to the building of the quadrangle roof.’

Carol Churchill: ‘Oh l loved working on it , l remember making Kate Bush up on her first TV appearance .’

Tim Dann: ‘I did twelve of these beauties!!…& it certainly was off to the Srathallan afterwards!!…tho I don’t remember ‘winding down!!!’…The milkman beat me home every time!!!!…After the ‘credits’ Roy Norton the director, who was always in a state of high excitement…used to leap to his feet sending his chair crashing into the gallery window & screamed “Take me Pres, take me Pres!!!”….I can only imagine ‘Presentations’ enjoyment & envy of what fun we, in the Midlands were having!!…Designed the ‘Kate Bush’ prog too…which morphed into ‘Dave Brubeck’ & then we took the set to Glasgow for an ‘Andy Williams Special.’…. Thwarted tho by Production A’s/managers/managers industrial action!!…Roy Ronnie produced & Roy Norton directed them all.’

Kevin Lakin: ‘Andy Williams was cursed then, I worked on an Andy Williams Special from Warwick University which was thwarted by the Musicians Union, all the orchestra walked out 2hrs before the show started, and fair play to Andy Williams he did the whole show to just a piano accompaniment, it was recorded, but never went out. I think the two Roys were behind it, Mary Spencer was the Designer.’

Pebble Mill Reunion 2010

Copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission. Thanks to Jane Mclean for making the photo available.

The photo was taken at Keith Salmon’s get together at the Saracen’s in 2010.

Included are: John Smith, John Endall, Yvonne Ackrill, Keith Ackrill, Jim Dumighan, Roy Ronnie, Margaret & Brian Barton, Gordon White, Keith Salmon, John Kimberley, Dave Ballantyne, Toby Horwood, Bob Jacobs, Wilf Welch, Tony Wolfe, James French, John Couzens, behind Jane Mclean (front with orange juice), Kath Woolston, John Abbott. Simon Evans wearing shades at back and Eric Wise standing in the front between Dave Ballantyne and Bob Jacobs.  It might be Keith Bullock behind Margaret Barton, Dave Doogood behind Bob Jacobs and Mark Kershaw between Wilf Welch and Tony Wolfe.  Probably Phil Wilson behind Kath Woolston. Simon Albu on left in front of John Smith.

Thanks to Dave Bushell, Jayne Savage, Janet Collins, Yvonne Ackrill and Jane Mclean for identifying everyone.

Jock Gallagher blog

Considering the glorious sound and fury the network radio team created at Pebble Mill down the years, I’m sorry that there are so few contributions from the wireless wonders.

I was editor and then Head of Network Radio for the best part of twenty years (1970-89), and I can recall an astonishing array of talent that passed through the radio studios both in front of and behind the mic. When I started with the Beeb in 1966 (pre Pebble Mill), I worked in the Broad Street newsroom for the fiercesome Glaswegian Jack Johnston and was regularly saved from his wrath by Roy Ronnie and Sam Shaw!  Despite Jack’s attempt to fire me, I survived and thrived well enough to climb the greasy pole and had a key part in the move into Pebble Mill in 1970. In fact, when Alan Rees (Head of the Centre at the time) became ill, I got lumbered with the whole fandango of the royal opening of the building.

So…I have a shedload of memories but is there anyone out there who wants to hear them?

It would be nice to hear from some of the old school but I warn you, I won’t need too much encouragement to shout my mouth off!

Jock Gallagher (Pebble Mill from the beginning until 1989)