The Long, The Short and The Tall – Andy Woodhouse

As part of my training in 1979, I was attached to the technical team of a couple of productions including a drama, a BBC Schools’ production of The Long, the Short and the Tall recorded over 3 days at Pebble Mill. The producer/director was Ron Smedley. Key acting cast is listed at https://www2.bfi.org.uk/films-tv-people/4ce2b73aef97d. The episodes were subsequently transmitted as a single play. More details at IMDB https://www.imdb.com/title/tt13411812/?ref_=adv_li_tt. I can recall the lighting director was Barry Hill, the technical manger was Ron Irvine, the sound supervisor was Alastair Askham, and the vision mixer was Mark Kershaw.

The production was divided into 3 half-hour transmissions, each episode was allocated one studio day and recorded “live to tape” multiple times. Ron Smedley wanted the uninterrupted action from the stage play to be available in this TV production, enabling the actors to react better to the rapid dialogue segments. The production used a single set that occupied most of the floor area in Studio A, including a jungle setting at the rear of the hut. One shot in the programme needed a wide shot of that jungle and the entrance to the hut, but the camera shot would have included a lot of the lighting rig, so a glass shot was created to hide this unwanted area.

by Andy Woodhouse

Hut interior (right) and jungle (left). Floor at edge of hut is quite crowded with technical kit. Photo by Andy Woodhouse, no reproduction without permission

Multiple sound booms and camera cranes in use. Photo by Andy Woodhouse, no reproduction without permission.

Close positioning of the cameras and sound booms on the floor. Photo by Andy Woodhouse, no reproduction without permission.

Shows size of jungle area, and use of bounced light for the hut interior. Photo by Andy Woodhouse, no reproduction without permission.

Shows the camera at the left side, with the artist, Steve Mitchell, painting onto the glass to add the scenery extensions. The artists monitor showing the composited image is just to the left of centre. Photo by Andy Woodhouse, no reproduction without permission.

Cutout in the scene cloth, the glass in the frame, and the two artists at work. Photo by Andy Woodhouse, no reproduction without permission.

Detail of the painted glass. Photo by Andy Woodhouse, no reproduction without permission.

 

Lesley Weaver left the following comment on the Pebble Mill Facebook page:

Lovely to see this production pop up. I worked on it, I was assistant to the lovely Make-up Designer Carol Churchill, and I looked after actor Micheal Kitchen who I remember as being really nice.

 

Great Expectations photos by Bhasker Solanki

Photos by Bhasker Solanki, no reproduction without permission

‘Great Expectations’ 1981, made at Pebble Mill. It would have been recorded in Studio A, for the interiors and on 16mm film on location, for exteriors. Actor Philip Joseph playing Joe Gargery the blacksmith. The editor was Oliver White, assisted by Ian Bellion.

Here is the link to more information on the BBC Genome project: https://genome.ch.bbc.co.uk/search/0/20?q=Great+Expectations++Phillip+Joseph#top

Below is the listing for episode 1 from the Radio Times

‘Great Expectations’ by Charles Dickens, dramatised in 12 parts by James Andrew Hall
Starring Gerry Sundquist as Pip, Stratford Johns as Magwitch, Joan Hickson as Miss Havisham, Phillip Joseph as Joe Gargery, John Stratton as Uncle Pumblechook

A lonely little figure hurrying home across the marshes… The sudden terrifying appearance of a brutal escaped convict – and Pip is launched on an adventurous journey that changes him from blacksmith’s apprentice to snobbish young gentleman.

 

Author:Charles Dickens
Dramatised by:James Andrew Hall
Music composed by:Paul Reade
Film Cameraman:John Kenway
Script Editor:Terrance Dicks
Designer:Michael Edwards
Producer:Barry Letts
Director:Julian Amyes
Pip:Gerry Sundquist
Magwitch:Stratford Johns
Miss Havisham:Joan Hickson
Joe Gargery:Phillip Joseph
Uncle Pumblechook:John Stratton
Pip, aged 9:Graham McGrath
Mrs Joe:Marjorie Yates
Compeyson:Peter Whitbread
Mr Wopsle:Peter Benson
Mr Hubble:Walter Sparrow
Mrs Hubble:Christine Ozanne
Sergeant:Adrian Bracken
Orlick:Linal Haft
Estella:Patsy Kensit
Pip, aged 12:Paul Davies-Prowles
Camilla:Janet Henfrey
Raymond:Edmund Kente
Sarah Pocket:Mollie Maureen

 

Siouxsie and the Banshees – Look! Hear!


Photos by Christopher Glover, no reproduction without permission.

Siouxsie and the Banshees being recorded in Studio A for Look! Hear! Produced by Roger Casstles. Look! Hear! was a regional music and culture show. The photos date from the mid-1980s.

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

Phil Dolling: This brings back memories I was a very junior sound assistant on the floor, I recall the drummer ‘Budgie’ had his fold-back set to terrifying levels with all the high frequencies wound up. It was like razor blades coming out of the speakers. A brilliant series, it caught a great moment in Midland’s music.

Annette Martin: I mixed it she was v good. Just spotted the lovely Ron Sowton Floor Manager in 2nd pic.

Richard Stevenson: It is pre-1987 when I joined as the new cameras were in by then. Probably the Heron crane – one man to drive it and the camera op had a pedal for up and down plus a second pedal to rotate the seat. If you got them mixed up it got very messy!

Great Expectations – Soldiers in the Blacksmiths

Photo by Albert Sheard, no reproduction without permission

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Soldiers in the blacksmiths, Great Expectations, 1981. The set was created in Studio A of Pebble Mill.

The following comment was added to the Pebble Mill Facebook page:

Camilla Fisher: ‘Tony Fisher worked on this production and also took photos. A few years later our daughter told her teacher that her daddy had been at the battle of Waterloo. She was disbelieved. So to prove her point she took the photos into to school.’

Nationwide visits Pebble Mill

1971: Nationwide: Pebble Mill

#OnThisDay 1971: Nationwide was broadcast from their swish new Pebble Mill studios for the first time, and gave everybody a tour.

Posted by BBC Archive on Friday, 15 June 2018

Tom Coyne shows the viewers of Nationwide around the brand new Pebble Mill studios in 1971, including TV Studios A and B, and Radio studio 3, the home of The Archers.

Copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission