John Bland

John Bland SO






















Photo from Shirley O’Mara of John at the BBC Club, no reproduction without permission

John Bland, film editor, died recently. He joined BBC Birmingham as a news editor in Broad Street, and later became a film editor at Carpenter Road, before Pebble Mill was built. John’s credits include a Play for Today called Packman’s Barn 1976, the police series Juliet Bravo 1980; Mavericks, a BBC1 series in 1984 about eccentrics, produced by John Kenyon, which Sharon Pemberton assisted him on; and Countryfile amongst many others.

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

‘John Bland, a Film Editor at Pebble Mill for many years, passed away suddenly last week aged 78. His funeral will be held at Streetly Crematorium on Weds 26th August 2015 at 10.00am.’

Shirley O’Mara

‘I was John’s assistant for a while and he was very much part of my early years in editing at Pebble Mill. I recall being (pleasantly) surprised by his insistence that ‘Two Tribes’ (Frankie Goes To Hollywood) was the best single EVER and that Ruby Turner was the best singer to come out of Birmingham. (I think eclectic is the word!) I hope they’re both serenading you John. R.I.P.’

Sharon Pemberton

‘Great bloke! I ran the Run the World race with John, Ingrid Wagner and Geoff Dargue. We trained every lunchtime by running up all the flights of stairs at Pebble Mill. Judging by the state of us at the end of the race it didn’t do us much good!’

Mark Ray




Post Production Christmas Party

Mark Heslop, Ingrid Wagner, Stan Treasurer, Greg Miller

Mark Heslop, Ingrid Wagner, Stan Treasurer, Greg Miller

Jonathan Birkett, Victoria Trow, Roger Mulliner, Ian Bellion

Jonathan Birkett, Victoria Trow, Roger Mulliner, Ian Bellion

Ian Bellion, Peter Gower, Charles White, John Rosser, Mike Duxbury

Ian Bellion, Peter Gower, Charles White, John Rosser, Mike Duxbury































Photos by Shirley O’Mara, no reproduction without permission.

Each year the Pebble Mill Post Production department held its own Christmas party. These photos date from the late 1980s, when the department descended on the Forbidden City Chinese Restaurant for its festive treat!

Please add a comment if you can identify any of the missing names.

Brown Paper Bag – Michael Baig Clifford

Brown Paper Bag

Brown Paper Bag, copyright Michael Clifford, no reproduction without permission














Post producing Brown Paper Bag at Pebble Mill was a sublime experience. By that time I’d done a few pieces of work in the edit suites there, most of which, funnily enough were not BBC productions. The view from the outside was that it was more expensive than going elsewhere but, if you had it in the budget, it would be worth it. My main feeling, every time I went into edits there was one of safety, the feeling that no matter what was about to be thrown at the post production team, me included, everything would be alright!

Anyway, the good news for Brown Paper Bag was that BBC Post Production became partners in the project, led by Shirley O Mara and Trevor West, god bless ’em! Prior to Brown Paper Bag we’d made Bouncer, which editor Stephen Killick did in his spare time due to his BBC commitments and the lack of cash. That was nominated for a BAFTA and naturally when it came to Brown Paper Bag I wanted to work with Stephen again. He suggested approaching BBC post production to become partners in the project. Which they did and it was awesome. The funny thing was though that, having edited Bouncer at weekends, I’d discovered the benefits of breathing spaces during an edit which allowed thinking time. I asked Shirley and Stephen if we could ‘artificially’ break up the BPB edit in order to introduce that same thinking time that had happened by accident on Bouncer. They obliged the request and away we went.

Stephen had lots of fun creating sound fx with glasses and slo mo, which worked really well. We mostly stuck to the script but I think we cut one or two of the early scenes to move things forward. One of my biggest memories was the dub. Fiona did a fantastic job. We had no music in the piece apart from the credits, so voices and atmos had to carry the film. The work that Fiona did in track laying quite simply changed the film, even before it was mixed, it was brilliant the way she pulled the voices out in particular. It’s always hard to tell what you’ve got when you’re editing and got your nose to the screen but I think it was at that point (and the first time I read the script of course) that I realised we had something special.

And here’s a couple of lines from Stephen!

“Brown Paper bag. I remember needing copious amount of comedy viewing when I got home to remind me that life isn’t always as dark as the story I was editing.”

Michael Clifford

BAFTA – Brown Paper Bag











Photo by Steve May, no reproduction without permission.

Included in the photo, left to right are: John Reynolds; editing organiser, Shirley O’Mara; assistant editor, James Cole, dubbing mixer, Fiona Voght; editor, Steve Killick.

The BAFTA was for a short called ‘Brown Paper Bag’, directed by Michael Baing Clifford and produced by Natasha Carlish. Steve Killick was the editor.




More Film Unit photos

photo by Steve May

photo by Steve May

photo by Jim Gregory

Photos by Steve May and Jim Gregory, no reproduction without permission.

The first photo features Pip Cooper; editor, Nigel Evans; and Shirley O’Mara.

The second photo features Imelda Stevens and Shirley O’Mara.

The third photo taken in Pebble Mill’s Telecine, show Nigel Evans (background), with Shirley O’Mara and Pip Cooper, ready in their fancy dress for ‘Children in Need’.