Comms fast response Land Rover

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This is the Comms fast response Land Rover, just leaving the Pebble Mill car park. I presume it would have been used on news.

Thanks to Stuart Gandy for sharing this photo, which was originally posted on the Pebble Mill Engineers Facebook group.

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

Malcolm Hickman: ‘As the name suggests, it didn’t require much setting up. The pump up mast had a microwave transmitter that could inject programmes into the receiver up the mast at Sutton Coldfield or another mid point, then by line to the Comms Centre for recording or passing on to London. One person operated, just plug the camera feed into it and go.’

Jackie Cross: ‘I loved the FRV as the shortest member of the department (until the arrival of Charlotte) I was the only one who could sit comfortably in it. It was two ‘man’ operated for a long period, so as the trainee I drove the land rover while the engineer arrived on site in their car, the looks I used to get as a 5’4″ 21 year old with long blonde hair, knocked a few stereotypes!’

Andrew Willetts: ‘In the mid 90’s it became BBC East Midlands first OB vehicle, was based at York House, Mansfield Road and fired 7GHz microwave signals into the Bardon Hill receive site (now decommissioned) near Loughborough. A great introduction to Links vehicles for me. It did 70mph… just and the MPG was always in single figures, gotta love a Land Rover V8.’

Simon Calkin: ‘It was a pig to get the gearbox to do the necessary once you were on site, and by 1994 the stabs were horribly corroded and difficult to get out then back in again. That said, used for many a Midlands Today (sic) News O.B. I did squillions but the FRV one that sticks in my mind for no good reason is the one I did at Rolls Royce in Derby with Mike Barratt.’

Andy Marriott: ‘Is it roughly the same design as the ‘FART’ that Northwest Tonight had in Manchester? Or were they dreamt up separately?’

Malcolm Hickman: ‘I don’t think there was a standard design. We did build one in a Renault Civic van though.’

Andy Marriott: ‘I only ever saw pictures of the one in Manchester. But it seemed to be of a very similar design and they were both around at the same time.

The FART has since earned a reputation as a bit of a ‘widow maker’ as some of Manchester comms engineers that worked on it have subsequently died from various cancers and the like.’

Malcolm Hickman: ‘I just remembered, the land rovers were built by a firm in Birmingham to a design by TCPID.’

Editing News

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This photo shows the editing of regional news in 1990. It looks like a rather makeshift edit suite.

This photograph was originally posted on the Pebble Mill Engineers’ Facebook page.

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

Brian Charles: ‘Makeshift?!? That was state of the art kit at the time – Edit Suite 2 I think.
That’s Inge Samuels managing to get a smile out of Gary Hudson. Can’t have been a last minute lead story edit then!!’

Richard Uridge: ‘Notice the heavy tape boxes ready for Gary to throw at unsuspecting passersby.’

Diane Kemp: ‘Blimey it does look very last century. Definitely Gary though at PM’

Simon Calkin: ‘Three-machine Betacam suite with an Audio Designs mixer.’

Gary Hudson: ‘It’s not me. I sent my stunt double and the bastard smiled, ruining my public image (see comments above about the legendary bad temper). He was a little fey, as you can tell from the girly haircut, and I made sure we were never seen in the same room together, partly to maintain the mystique but also because his immaculate dress sense and devastating good looks were an embarrassing distraction from my position as the only competent journalist in the newsroom at the time. He usually did the posy stuff – PTCs, cutaway questions and the like -while I got on with the proper job. This picture appeared in the book that was given free to staff when Pebble Mill closed – obviously as a tribute to those who were soon to embrace obscurity. Inge was brilliant though, as was Brian Charles, despite his cheeky comment above.’