Don Pinchbeck

Don Pinchbeck

Don Pinchbeck

Don, in the centre

Don, in the centre

Children in Need: Jason (postroom) (left), Marie Phillips (Children in Need Organiser) (centre) next to Don

Children in Need: Jason (postroom) (left), Marie Phillips (Children in Need Organiser) (centre) next to Don

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My dad, Don Pinchbeck, worked at Pebble Mill between 1977-2001 as a Studio Attendant, he absolutely loved working for BBC Pebble Mill, he always had great stories about stars that he’d seen and the lovely people he worked with, unfortunately he passed away on 27 Dec 2015 aged 80, a great dad, husband and grandad, much loved and missed. His funeral will be taking place at St Edwards Church, Selly Park on Wed 20 Jan 2016 at 9.30am.

My dad worked at the BBC from retired in 2001 (though he really didn’t want to) he was always based at Pebble Mill, the shows I know he worked on were:

Pebble Mill at One

Telly Addicts

Basil Brush Show

I can’t remember if he worked on the Clothes Show, I know he worked on a similar show with John Leslie hosting it.

The Alan Titchmarsh show

Maybe Top Gear

Children in Need

He mentioned lots of celebrities over the years, probably when Pebble Mill at One was still on, Barry Manilow, Joan Collins, Roger Moore, the stars from the shows above and lots of others.  He received lots of commendations for his hard work over the years which my mom kept.  He took me to a few staff kid’s Christmas parties at the BBC, we went to see Basil Brush a few times, we attended an open day they had for the public in the early 90’s I remember which are great and we went in the audience a few times at Children in Need.  He was very hard working, dad to 5, grandad to 3, great grandad to 2.  He lived in Selly Oak all his life, so he loved working locally and for the Beeb as he called it.

Catherine Pinchbeck

(The show that Catherine mentions, presented by John Leslie, would have been Style Challenge).

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

Les Podraza: ‘I remember Don very well. A great charachter and hard working part of Studio A. Always ready to muck in and help out. So sad he has now departed this world. ‘

Richard Smith: ‘Sad to learn of Don’s death. A lovely, friendly and hard working man, would do anything to help you. Many happy times with him in House Services. In the photos are Jason Edwards, Robert Pash, Alan Evans, Billy Gardner, Frank Barber and Marie Phillips. Condolences to Don’s family.’

Donald Steel: ‘I remember Don very well and with fondness – always the same always cheerful. It was a great gang in those days everybody helped you. So very sorry to hear of his passing.’

Marie Phillips: ‘The group photo was my retirement party in March 1998. Don was not fond of “does”so I was thrilled he and the rest of “my lads” came along. I honestly could not have done so many events for Children in Need without the enthusiasm and often out of hours help given by Don and all of them. He and they were a breed apart and I was forever grateful. Fond memories Don.’

Gill Thompson: ‘I worked with Don looking after the audiences at Pebble Mill, a lovely man and excellent at his job, always smiling and very professional.’

Mary Sanchez: ‘I remember him well from my Pebble Mill days – always really nice and friendly. I also used to see him out and about around Selly Park and we’d wave .’

 

 

Telly Addicts titles grab

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

Thanks to Ian Collins for making this titles grab available.

Telly Addicts was a BBC1 early evening, game show about television presented by Noel Edmonds. It was first transmitted in 1985, and ended in 1998. John King was the Executive Producer, with producers including Tim Manning and Richard Lewis. It was recorded in Studio A.

The questions were about television programmes past and present, with the usual format being a clip followed by questions. There were usually two teams of four people each, with a tournament style of 16 teams, in 8 qualifying heats, being adopted from 1987-1996.

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

Denny Hodge: ‘Yes fond memories doing the warm up on the show.’

Jane Green: ‘Your warm ups were a treat to see Denny. Remember them well. I worked on this. Noel was a dream to look after. Helicopter arrived literally 5 minutes before rehearsals began and he had his clothes all ready and pressed and he’d be in studio on time. No fuss, no silly demands. Went to collect him from his dressing room once and found him standing on a chair waving a ‘brick’ around. It was a new thing called a mobile phone and he was trying to get a signal. His very beautiful new wife Helen turned up to rehearsals one evening to support him as his much loved dog had just died and he was so upset. She just walked in – I didn’t know who she was and was about to ask her to leave when someone explained…’

Andrew Langstone: ‘My friend Jennifer Kings (was Hassall) was a production secretary on Telly Addicts. Managed to get us some tickets for a few recordings.’

Malcolm Hickman: ‘Didn’t John King flog the rights to Noel Edmonds?’

Richard Stevenson: ‘The first show I worked on in 1997. Ironically I then went on to work with Noel on numerous Gotchas (65 I think), Noel’s House Party and some great worldwide trips for Noel’s Christmas Presents.’

Belinda Essex: ‘I used to do auto cue sometimes’

Gill Thompson: ‘I used to organise the audiences for this show, never had a problem filling seats was always a popular one!’

Sarah Dunning: ‘And the graphic designer was the brilliant Annie Jenkins!’

Jane Upston: ‘I remember recruiting for this programme (I was Jane Morgan then and worked in HR). I remember Nick Hurran too, the Director and Jennifer Hassell. Who was the PA?’

Richard Stevenson: ‘Trudi Stanton and Roger Sutton vision mixed I think. Can’t remember the PA but it will come to me!….Thea Harvey?’

BBC Telephone Directory 1995/6

BBC Telephone directory 1995:6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

This is a page from the BBC Telephone Directory of 1995/6. It promotes the Resources Department of the Midlands and East Region. This would have been after the vertical split imposed by John Birt, when Resources had to become more commercial and take paying work from Independent Production Companies. The page is lists prominent productions serviced by Pebble Mill’s Resources Department, which included design, graphics, editing, crewing – both radio and television.

Thanks to Peter Poole for making this page available.

Telly Addicts

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

Thanks for VT editor, Ian Collins for making these grabs available.

Telly Addicts was a gameshow which went out between 1985 and 1998 on BBC1, with all the questions being based on television shows past or present. Most questions were introduced via clips. It came out of John King’s department, and was presented by Noel Edmonds. The format of the shows changed a bit over the years, and there were some celebrity versions and Christmas specials.  Usually there were two teams of four contestants, and a tournament structure which produced an overall winning team at the end of the series.

The show was recorded in Studio A.

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

Maria Needle: ‘Ah yes I was the production secretary on Telly Addicts, Sue Williams was the PA, Louis Robinson was the producer, Sue Robinson the Director I think. I learnt to drink on this show!’

Ruth Kiosses: ‘We did loads of light entertainment costumes for Telly Addicts either from Selly Oak stores or sent up from Wales Farm Road and ones that were made especially (usually at pretty late notice I recall?) Mr Blobby often arrived in a box for various of  Noel shows not sure whether he appeared on Telly Addicts?’

Clare Cotton: ‘Aghhh happy days! We had such a laugh making telly addicts-great production team, great characters one and all…’

Jane Green: ‘Noel always gave me a panic by arriving at the last minute in his helicopter but was always ready on set on time and wanted no special treatment. I once found him standing on a chair in his dressing room trying to get a signal on a new thing called a mobile phone. It was the size of a shoebox.’

Julian Hitchcock: ‘Like Jane, I floor managed it. I also directed it once on some sort of wheeze, and was a terrible Assistant Producer on the show. Richard Lewis was the producer, working with the very talented Louis Robinson as (correct me, Louis) AP cum scriptwriter. Marino Katchmaryck was the genius AP, who (unlike me,- who didn’t possess a TV and preferred books and radio) knew everything about every programme since the birth of Logie Baird. John King presided fatuously over all, assisted by Tim Manning. King’s slightly dubious interests in the supposed format rights helped my interest in intellectual property, which I’ve practiced for 17 years now.
In my view, the sycophancy displayed towards Edmonds, which he seemed to expect, probably contributed to the fatality on a different programme that he presented. Edmonds himself appeared to loathe the contestants. It was, however, very easy and very successful.’

Becky Rogers: ‘Worked on sadly the last series of the show in @ 1998 with Helen Hands (nee Lott) as producer, Sue Robinson as director, together with Nick Harris, Sarah Proctor, Kate Hillman, Simon Lupton, Dan sorry can’t remember surname…… Richard Lewis was exec producer. Happy memories – especially the celebrity edition featuring a very young Ant and Dec!! Left telly in 2000 for life in the lakes and the world of commercial radio. Got married last December and hubby surprised me with a personal video message from Noel during the speeches. Despite it being 14 years since I’d worked briefly with him, it was genuinely lovely of him to ‘share’ our day. Many many happy memories of my time at Pebble Mill!’

Julian Hitchcock: ‘I had no idea that it went on so long after I left in ’92. I meant to mention Helen Lott. Nick Hurran directed, presumably before Sue. Possibly Annette Martin, briefly, too. There wasn’t exactly a lot of scope for directors or camera operators; two cameras on each side and a wide angle in the middle!
During my stint, there was a dreadful family (stars of auditions we did in the Clifton something hotel in Bristol) that kept on winning. Of course, being supreme couch potatoes, Pearl and her family were utterly boring. Noel hated them and beseeched us to hit them with harder questions, but it was useless…’

Nick Harris: ‘Such a happy show – remember being paid as a researcher to literally watch TV for six months choosing clips. The longer you’d been there the better the series you got to watch. I started with Triangle and ended with Ab Fab! Then followed three months of auditions around the country. A sifting out the dopes. (One guy thought Noel was called Norman!) and then three months of studio. Two very happy years of my life – in fact I was reminiscing with Noel about exactly that a couple of weeks ago at Deal Or No Deal…’

Julian Hitchcock: ‘The name, of course, was extraordinary. Addiction was not the best thing for a government-funded broadcaster to paint in such a positive way, but King, who was not quite of this world (where does one begin?!) thought it was so good that he tried another series, simply called “Addicts”…’

Thea Harvey: ‘I was PA and worked with Tim, Richard, Helen, Marino, Andrea and, Nick Hurran now a famous (??!!) movie director. They were happy days and we used to have great Christmas lunches! ‘

Ann Gumbley Williams: ‘I worked as PA as we were called then on the pilot shows of Telly Addicts. I think it was first called Telly Quiz . Memories of who worked on the pilot show not good. I think it was Annette Martin who was the producer. Does anyone else remember? They took ages to get the format and edit at first. I didn’t do the programmes after it was commissioned. I was probably off having a baby!’

Lynn Cullimore: ‘I did work on one of the Addicts programmes with Claire Rayner at her house. I just stepped in as another Production Assistant was sick. I enjoyed the day filming at claire’s house – she was lovely and had made us all cake! Telly Addicts was very popular I remember and I did go to one of the shows – just as a member of the audience so i could show my husband what went on!’

Gail Herbert: ‘I was the copyright researcher on Telly Quiz. Producer was Bill Jones, Prod Sec Julie Whittaker, Studio Director Mike Derby. It was great fun doing that series. I then went to work as John King’s PA on Golden Oldies, etc.’

John Kimberley blog

OB Scanner CM1 (1980s)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I joined Pebble Mill in 1974 and was a staff Studio and O.B. engineer until we lost the O.B. fleet in 1992, after which I became a freelance engineer. I did do some contract work at the Mill afterwards until 1997, then I became a full freelancer working for Sky, BBC and ITV via various O.B. facilities companies. I retired this year, but if offered an O.B. which appeals to me, I guess I’ll take up the offer! Regional Engineers, as we were known were expected to work in Telecine and Videotape as well and we were trained to work in Communications (‘Comms Centre’ and Radio Links) if required.

During my first few years at the Mill, Studio A was usually working 6 days a week, with 2 sets of 2 day dramas and 2 days of Pebble Mill at One; during the latter there would be a complete scenery and lighting reset for the following production. I worked on the last series of Poldark, various series of All Creatures Great and Small, Angels, Juliet Bravo and countless Plays for Today. Amongst memorable Studio A productions were a series of live dramas for BBC 2 around 1980. We were using the very first colour cameras, EMI 2001s, and the first incarnation of the studio technical facilities. Despite the age of the equipment, all the plays went out without a hitch, and much alcohol was consumed afterwards as we all came down from the adrenaline ‘high’. A great breakthrough came with the inclusion of Light Entertainment programmes in the late ’70s, a welcome change from a constant diet of drama productions. I thoroughly enjoyed the specials with Showaddywaddy, Elky Brookes and Don McLean and have very fond memories of doing Basil Brush shows on Saturdays. Oh, and I nearly forgot Saturday Night at the Mill! In the 80s, drama became a single camera operation, usually on location rather than in the studio. However, the studio seemed to be just as busy doing many other productions like Telly Addicts, The Adventure Game and Young Scientist of the Year. When London decided to kill off Pebble Mill at One, there were many spin off daytime programmes involving D.I.Y., fashion (The Clothes Show), and cooking, mainly done using Gallery C. A house was built in the back quadrangle for some productions! Studio B shouldn’t be remembered as only doing Midlands Today – I worked regularly in there on Farming Today and various programmes for Asian immigrants. There were often innovative ideas for the regional opt-out programmes, some of which went on to be networked – Top Gear being a good example. We even did a rock music show in there, and on one occasion, the sound travelled through the building and was picked up on the microphones in Studio A which was doing a Play For Today at the time.

I worked briefly with CMCR9 during my first ever O.B. stint in 1980, but it was moved to Manchester to become ‘North 3’ during that time, and we had CMCR10 for a few months until our new scanner, CM1 arrived. An O.B. stint then was very varied in programme type. It would include football, rugby, swimming, cycling, snooker, horse racing, cricket, party political conferences, inserts to Pebble Mill at One or to drama productions. After I went freelance, all I seemed to do was football!

I have so many lovely memories of my life at Pebble Mill, and it’s great to see that everyone else remembers it fondly and that we are all keeping in touch. I remember that when I left in 1992 I felt like I had suffered a divorce and a bereavement at the same time and it took a long time for me to come to terms with the fact that I no longer worked there. I must say that I don’t feel that way about retiring now as the industry has changed so much and has completely different principles from those with which I’m familiar. I completely agree with the idea that we saw the Golden Age of Television in the 70s and 80s!

John Kimberley