Steve Johnson – Clearing the News VT Library 2002

Photos by Steve Johnson, no reproduction without permission





























































‘Clearing out the News VT Library at BBC Pebble Mill sixteen years ago. Preparing for the move to the Mailbox. My previous manager Garry Campbell looking on wistfully.

I was by this time working in the newsroom on BBC Birmingham Online but still daily visited my old offices next to the newsroom, sad to see them being emptied. Harvinder plugging a beta tape into a machine in the newsroom in the second photo.’

Steve Johnson

News VT Library

Copyright Steve Johnson, no reproduction without permission












This photo shows the News VT library at Pebble Mill in the late 1990s. The VT library would have catalogued and housed tapes of stock shots and continuing news stories for Midlands Today.

Thanks to Steve Johnson for sharing it. Steve moved from working on the hotline of Good Morning with Anne and Nick to the News VT library, after the series ended in 1996.


Good Morning with Anne and Nick Hotliners

Photo from Steve Johnson, no reproduction without permission













The photo shows the hotline team from the 1990’s daytime magazine programme, Good Morning with Anne and Nick. The CSV volunteers who manned the phone lines were an integral part of the programme, and regularly appeared on screen, as well as putting through the calls from viewers. The photo was taken at the end of the last show in 1996. Working on the hotline was the start of quite a number of successful careers in the BBC.

Thanks to Steve Johnson for sharing the photo.

Please add a comment if you can identify anyone.

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

Grant Robinson: ‘I’ll identify myself. Back row furthest right! I was a lowly runner – occasionally herding the talent (Robson & Jerome!) and filtering out the inappropriate mail before it reached A&N! I remember the wrap party when the show finished. Anne made a very barbed speech and Ainsley Harriott dropped his trousers!’



Countryfile – Ken Pollock


Countryfile team

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













Regarding Countryfile, it is fun to look at the photograph and recognise old friends/colleagues.
My involvement was to be a producer on Farming, with Martin Small, and Exec John Kenyon. We wanted to acknowledge the large “over the shoulder” audience we had on Farming, and hence wrote the brief for Countryfile. I remember it well, sitting in John Kenyon’s office sketching in the idea, and kicking around names. I came up with the Countryfile name, although we may have thought it should be two words…
Michael Grade, Controller BBC1 accepted the idea, the team went from 4 to 24, and the Countryfile bandwagon started rolling.
After poor Brain Strachan died, there was a vacancy on Top Gear, and John Kenyon told me to get some broader experience, before applying to run Countryfile. So I did, but they did not want me to run Countryfile, as I was supposedly too biased to the farming community and Mike Fitzgerald got the gig.
I stuck with Top Gear and the rest is history…

Ken Pollock

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

Patrick Flavelle: ‘I started on a rolling weekly contract working with Fitz surfacing potential stories at the fag end of Farming…led to working on the show for its first 11 years. Happy days and incredibly boozy Xmas do’s…the one after this photo was very messy!’

Mick Murphy: ‘3rd from right, 2nd row – Sue Lloyd, Director. 1st on the left, front row – Barry Paine, former BBC producer / wildlife narrator, who used to voice over some of our films. Girl behind Fitz is called Sarah…? Great picture. ‘

Jane McLean: ‘John Clarke on the left .. who I went to Russia and Siberia with for Countryfile in 1989. Should try & find the Russian pix. Talk about an eye opener. The director was Dick Colthurst (what happened to him?) and the crew was Nigel Davey, Barrie Foster, Keith Rodgerson and Andy Frizzell. We were force-fed vodka shots 24/7 – honestly! ‘

Pam Relton: ‘Dick is very successful Jane – he went to BBC Bristol after CountryFile and is now MD at Tigress Productions.’

Jane McLean: ‘Good on him. Never heard of Tigress Prods – am SO out of the loop these days re anything telly!’

Viv Ellis: ‘I recognise Yasmine O’Grady looking glam – as ever. I worked on Farming for a few months’

Roy Thompson: ‘Spent a very happy attachment to Countryfile from Wood Norton even getting to direct a piece on arts in rural communities. Very supportive and friendly team.’

Andrea Buffery: ‘This picture would look amazing next to the Countryfile team today. It consists of 30 plus people.’

Steve Johnson: ‘I worked on Countryside for a short time in mid nineties, arranged the filming of the brand new RSPB reserve at Conwy.’

Pam Relton: ‘As a real City girl, CountryFile opened my eyes to so many things. I remember my first shoot – in a battery hen farm, a barn the size of a hanger filled with chickens in cages no bigger than themselves, floor to ceiling, the noise!! I’ve not knowingly eaten anything other than free range, outdoor-reared produce since. I learned so much about the pressures on farmers and producers to comply with the big supermarkets. This was the great thing about working on programmes like this – that open up the issues to do with farming and the countryside to everyone.’

Jane McLean: ‘I was country born & bred Pam – my brother was a pig farmer – and I know exactly what you’re talking about from the other side! ‘

Vanessa Jackson, Good Morning with Anne and Nick

Vanessa Jackson

















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

This is a photo of me, Vanessa Jackson, taken for the Pebble Mill Press Office, circa 1992. It was taken when I was a producer on Good Morning with Anne and Nick. I worked with Alex Fraser at the time on the VT inserts, and we commissioned Independent production companies to make the pre-recorded strands which went out on the magazine show.

Production co-ordinator, Gail Herbert gave me the photo, which she found in the basement of Pebble Mill, when the building was cleared prior to being demolished in 2004/5.

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

Alexandra Fraser: ‘Wow feels like yesterday and this gorgeous photo brings it all back!’

Jane Mclean: ‘Don’t look any different! Not sure what to say about it being found in the basement!’

Ruth Kiosses: ‘I’ll have you know all the very best people were in the basement at Pebble Mill!!!’

Steve Johnson: ‘I worked on Good Morning with Anne and Nick at the last series, looking after the ‘hotliner’ students.’