The Pamela Armstrong Show – photo by Maggy Whitehouse

Photo by Maggy Whitehouse, no reproduction without permission.

The photo is of the production office of the ‘Pamela Armstrong Show’, seated at the desk are Peta Newbold and Jane McLuskey.  The series went out in 1986/7, after the end of ‘Pebble Mill at One’ in 1986.

The series producer was Juliet May, with Vanessa Whitburn (now the editor of the Archers) one of the producers.

Pamela Armstrong was an ITN news presenter between 1983-6, before joining the BBC, and presenting the breakfast news and ‘Pamela Armstrong’ from Pebble Mill.  The show was a chat show with celebrity guests, going out on BBC 2 in the afternoons.  It lasted about a year. Pamela Armstrong went on to present ‘Daytime Live’ in 1987, a lunchtime studio magazine show, from Studio C.

Stuart Gandy adds the following information: ‘This was the show that effectively replaced Pebble Mill at One, which had been very successful for over 15 years and a lot of people were sad to see it end. I seem to remember that at the time there was a general feeling that this new show was an attempt to ‘de Birminghamise’ the output from Pebble Mill. (allegedly to fit in with ideas from London). The show had blacked out windows that made the foyer like an inside studio so that the familiar view outside could not be seen. This together with the afternoon slot pulled in far less viewers. The daytime live show that followed it was a complete turn around going back to more like the Pebble Mill format and using every bit of the building to make the programme from. Us engineers had to come up with some novel ideas when the request came in to get facilities into the parts of Pebble Mill that were far from the studios!’

‘Pamela Armstrong’ was one of the first shows Mary Sanchez worked on in the production office, ‘ operating autocue on what looked like wide toilet paper on a magnifying glass. I remember making changes while on the air by cutting out/ tippexing/writing and cellotaping it back together onto the roll !! We went on the air at 4pm and due to v generous hospitality at lunchtime, alot of the guests were a bit worse for wear by the time they went on! Remember the Keith Floyd cookery slots and Fanny Craddock??!’

Studio C, Calrec Sound Desk – Peter Poole

Photos by Peter Poole, no reproduction without permission.

Studio C was the Foyer, made famous by ‘Pebble Mill At One’. In the early days of ‘Pebble Mill At One’, Studio C did not have a dedicated Production Gallery.  Studio A or B’s Galleries were used depending on which one was available. About 1982 Studio C had it’s own Gallery built. This enabled much greater use of the Foyer by other programmes. ‘Saturday Night At The Mill’ and ‘Good Morning With Anne And Nick’ were among many programmes to be broadcast from Studio C. In the final years of Pebble Mill the Foyer was used to record the daytime drama ‘Doctors’.

The photos show the Studio C, Calrec Sound Desk, which gave similar facilities to the Studio A desk, and offered more channels than the Studio B desk. It was very well designed for live broadcasting.

Peter Poole

‘Good Morning’ titles shoot – photo from Clive Wagner

Good Morning titles shoot

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

This photo is from the title shoot of ‘Good Morning with Anne Nick’ in 1992.  Clive Wagner (on the left with the bald head) was the director on the shoot.  He was a director on ‘The Clothes Show’, and very well thought of.  The cameraman is almost certainly Tim Johnson, and the assistant, Sue Cane. The titles were shot on 35mm film, which was a real luxury.

‘Good Morning with Anne and Nick’ began on 12 Oct 1992, and was on air until 1996.  Their first guest on the sofa was Joan Collins.  The popular morning magazine show was presented by Anne Diamond and Nick Owen.  Anne’s husband, Mike Hollingsworth, was the series editor.

‘Good Morning’ was set in Studio C, the Pebble Mill foyer, where ‘Pebble Mill at One’ was set, but the instantly recognisable windows and view out on to Pebble Mill road were blocked out by the living room type set.


Studio C – Walkway Sign

Studio C Walkway Sign

This sign used to hang on the walkway at the back of Studio C at Pebble Mill.  Studio C was originally the entrance foyer, which was then converted into the studio for Pebble Mill at One. It was later used for Good Morning with Anne and Nick.  At the back of the foyer was a corridor which led to Studio A, Make Up and the dressing rooms.  This corridor had to be closed when Studio C was being used, so that people weren’t walking through the back of shot.  When the Studio was in use only the top sign was displayed, with the lower one being taken up and down, depending on whether you were allowed to walk through or not.

The sign was rescued by James Patterson from Pebble Mill before it was demolished and is now proudly displayed in the Post Production area of BBC Birmingham, in the Mailbox, next to the sink and the drinks machine!

Phil Sidey’s Leaving Party – photo Paul Scholes

Phil Sidey's leaving party

Photo from Paul Scholes, of Phil Sidey’s leaving party, in the Pebble Mill Foyer, Studio C, the home of ‘Pebble Mill at One’.

Phil Sidey was the head of centre from 1973 to 1983, when David Waine succeeded him.

Phil Sidey, born in 1926, died on the 15th October 1995 whilst walking in the Peak District, below is a quote from his obituary in the Independent, written by Leonard Miall:

‘As the Head of the BBC Network Production Centre at Birmingham, Phil Sidey was the man who converted Pebble Mill from a structural white elephant into a thriving source of daytime television. He was the first manager of Radio Leeds and played a leading role in establishing lively local broadcasting on a financial shoestring. He was a programme innovator with a spate of lively ideas and an abrasive tongue which tended to upset some of his colleagues. He was also an accomplished public speaker and a successful chairman of the Royal Television Society.’

Please add a comment if you knew Phil Sidey and can add more information, or if you can identify people in the photo.