Working in Television – Clare Stride

Excerpt from ‘Working in Television’ 1980, by Jan Leeming

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is an excerpt from an interview with Clare Stride, from a book called Working in Television written in 1980 by Jan Leeming, who worked at Pebble Mill for a time. The aim was to encourage young people to think about careers in television. Clare was working as a research assistant at the time, and later became a producer on The Clothes Show and a series producer on various Daytime shows. I worked with her when she was a producer on Good Morning with Anne and Nick in the early 1990s. She sadly died aged 55 in 2006.

Thanks to Jonathan Dick for sharing the photo, who has sadly died since sharing the excerpts.

Clare Stride on the Severn Valley Railway. Photo by Peter Poole, no reproduction without permission

Roger Casstles reminisces about BBC Pebble Mill

Specially shot video of Roger Casstles talking about why BBC Pebble Mill was a special place. The video is recorded on Pebble Mill Road, overlooking the site where Pebble Mill stood, and is now a dental hospital. Roger mentions some of the productions that came from Pebble Mill, like Pebble Mill at One, Midlands Today, The Archers, as well as the Midland Radio Orchestra, and being a centre for drama, but tells us that the really important thing was how people worked together, for instance post production working across all productions and the way that Graphics and Set Design departments collaborated with production. Roger Casstles was the creator and producer of The Clothes Show, the fashion magazine series which ran from the 1986-2000.

(The video was shot by BCU Media graduate, Ash Connaughton, with me, (Vanessa Jackson) asking the questions).

Roger Casstles at the site of Pebble Mill

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Andy Frizzell: ‘Had some great shoots with Roger in many countries around the world. As always talking a lot of sense. We were all saddened by the closing of ‘The Mill’.

Claire Chambers: ‘As Roger would say “ why answer a question with one word when thousands will do” ! Very well said’

Linda Hearn-Clapham: ‘Very happy memories of recording Hartbeat and The Movie Game at Pebble Mill in the 90’s!’

Arthur Binnie

Arthur Binnie's leaving do from Pebble Mill at One. Photo from Jane Mclean, no reproduction without permission

Arthur Binnie’s leaving do from Pebble Mill at One. Photo from Jane Mclean, no reproduction without permission

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“It is with great sadness that I tell you all that Arthur died last night at the age of 89.   During 10 years at Aberdeen Journals, Arthur was a general reporter, gossip columnist for the Evening Express and latterly the paper’s chief sub-editor. In 1964, he joined the BBC to oversee an expanding output from its Aberdeen newsroom. Later in his career he co-produced a documentary series on the offshore industry, worked as assistant editor on the Pebble Mill show and worked for Aberdeen Cable TV.”

Helen Straine (BBC)

 

 

Here is one of the Radio Times entries for the 6 part series on North Sea oil, from the BBC Genome project, you’ll notice that Roger Casstles (later on Pebble Mill at One and The Clothes Show) was the director: http://genome.ch.bbc.co.uk/d27f1b1e94f04b458b0bc804fb22ba1f

“The Energy File: Sweet Oil

A series of six programmes with Raymond Baxter and Michael Buerk
Sweet Oil – The words were used by BP to announce the discovery which launched Britain into the age of oil. In less than ten years oil has become our most booming industry and the one which largely will determine how our future can be shaped.
So why do oil companies go to extraordinary lengths to keep their information secret? How much more remains to be discovered? How far and how deep can we go into the turbulent northern seas? And what’s involved in getting the oil ashore?
BBC Scotland
Contributors
Presenter: Raymond Baxter
Reporter: Michael Buerk
Director: Roger Casstles
Producer: Arthur Binnie
Producer: David Martin”

The Clothes Show – Ruth Kiosses

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photos from Ruth Kiosses, no reproduction without permission.

Ruth Kiosses was at the Wimbledon School of Art in Dec 1988, when ‘The Clothes Show’ filmed her dressed in an Edwardian evening gown. It was filmed at the Barbican centre, and transmitted in January 1989.  A year later Ruth was working at Pebble Mill in the costume department and bombing around in ‘The Clothes Show’ ‘wagon’ the large box van with CS logo on.

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