This photo by Martin Fenton, shows the piano in Pebble Mill’s Radio Studio 3. It was this piano which was played by Norman Painting, who played the role of Phil Archer, in The Archers. Norman Painting died in 2009, aged 85. He played Phil Archer from the start of the Radio 4 soap in 1950. Additionally, Norman wrote over 1,000 scripts for The Archers between the mid 1960s and early 1980s. He also wrote two books about the series: Forever Ambridge in 1975, and his autobiography, Reluctant Archer in 1982.
The following comments were posted on the Pebble Mill Facebook page:
Jane Partridge: ‘I remember Studio 3 – little cubby hole by studio standards (actually about the size of our living room) – rather like Studio B was for the TV lot (only needed to be big enough for a camera dolly and a presenter!). Pity the old building is no longer there, but the memories remain. (I worked in Communications & Engineering Services on the third floor before marrying one of the communications engineers (36 years ago in June!) and ending up in Props until our eldest daughter was born in 1984).’
Lynn Cullimore: ‘Norman was also very knowledgeable about plants etc. and I did a series with him called The Garden Game and Gardens of Delight. He was great to work with and I managed to see him just before he died. Yep, remember the piano too.’
Jane Ward: ‘Norman loved playing piano duets and duos for two pianos. I once went to his house for the day and we spent the entire time having a ball playing through loads of duet repertoire he had…it was such an enjoyable day!
I played the Studio 3 piano for the programme a few times when they needed a pianist and Norman happened not to be in…
Loved the Studio three stairs with various acoustic properties…and the kitchen sink!’