Derek Smith RIP

4 in Hand, Derek Smith directing, Jim on camera, Murray Clarke, sound 1975 or 6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Derek Smith, a producer of Top Gear at BBC Pebble Mill sadly died in hospital yesterday (17th March 2015). He never properly recovered following a serious stroke, which he suffered over a year ago.

Derek is seen in this photograph, directing on a programme called Four in Hand. It featured carriage driving, and featured the Duke of Edinburgh. The crew includes Jim Knights on camera and Murray Clarke on sound. It was taken around 1974.

Thanks to Jim Knights for sharing the photograph.

 

The Bike’s the Star

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

The Bike’s the Star was a four part series which went out in January and February 2001, repeated in the Autumn. The series was produced by the motoring unit. It was presented by Steve Berry, with Dave Smith, and Dennis Jarvis as the producer/directors. The series looked at different classic motorbikes, including the Harley-Davidson, the Italian Vespa Scooter, the BMW Boxer, and the Triumph Bonneville.

Thanks to Ian Collins for making the title grab available.

The following comment was left on the Pebble Mill Facebook page:

Peter Poole: ‘Anyone remember Top Gear on radio 5? I think Steve Berry presented. The other presenter was Zog Zeigler.’

Top Gear titles grabs

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

These title grabs are from one of BBC Pebble Mill’s longest running and most well known series – Top Gear. They date from the 1990s.

The series began as a monthly magazine show in 1977, and ran at Pebble Mill until 2001. It was fronted by a whole host of different presenters over the years, including Jeremy Clarkson, William Woollard, Noel Edmonds and Angela Rippon.

The colour schemes are all suitably macho, as are the design features!

Thanks to Ian Collins for sharing the stills.

The following comment was left on the Pebble Mill Facebook page:

Andy Bentley: ‘Sometimes the vehicles for the program were delivered to Pebble Mill and we kept the keys in the Security office. As space on the car park was at a premium we felt duty bound to re-park them of a night. Got to drive some fab motors.’

Gregory Hallsworth: ‘Standing next to the fax machine the day after Clarkson tore into the Vauxhall Vectra was very revealing!’

Jeremy Clarkson’s – Motorworld

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

Jeremy Clarkson’s Motorworld was a lighthearted series on BBC 2, about the culture of the car in different countries. It was a spin off programme of Top Gear. There were two, six part series, with an additional special programme going out as a Christmas special in 1996, about motoring in the United Kingdom. The first series went out in January and February 1995, and the second series going out in January and February 1996.

The countries visited included: Series 1: Japan, Vietnam, Detroit, Iceland, Italy, India; Series 2: Monaco, Cuba, Switzerland, Australia, Texas, Dubai, UK.

There was a DVD made of the highlights, and book, written by Jeremy Clarkson, accompanied the series.

Dennis Jarvis was the series director, and the title music was written by David Lowe.

Thanks to Ian Collins for sharing this grab from the titles.

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

Lynn Cullimore: ‘I was the production assistant. Dennis is lovely and great to work with.’

D3 and Beta SP machines

P7121397Photo by Ian Collins, no reproduction without permission.

The photo shows a Panasonic D3 machine, and an Ampex Betcam SP machine.

D3 was a 1/2 inch videotape format which lost very little information between generations, and was hailed as a great revolution. It was brought in, in the early 1990s. I remember how excited everyone in post production got about D3, because you didn’t lose picture quality in going down a generation – although some thought that it would make production staff even more lax in their editing, because it didn’t matter if you had to go round again! Ironically, the tapes did not stand the test of time well, meaning that much of the BBC archive had to be digitised. D3 tended to be an editing and delivery format, rather than a shooting format.

Beta SP was also a 1/2 inch videotape format, and was the standard tape used in the late 1980s, and early 1990s for recording portable single camera location pieces.

These machines were in post production – probably in the machine room between VTC and VTE.

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

Paul Vanezis: ‘We had three D3’s in VTE but 2 machines everywhere else. We did totally mad pre-read edits on Top Gear and The Clothes Show. But the maddest was a Motor Show Special. It was 10 minutes before TX on a Sunday afternoon in 1992. Steve Neilson was editing and dropped out of record in the middle of a pre-read edit. The look of horror on his face was something to behold. I got him to redo the edit as audio only and pick the vision up later! We did make it on air and there were plenty of examples of that going on.’

Alan Miller: ‘I believe the D3 saga has an interesting ending in that the BBC has thousands of tapes to archive but there are not enough D3 head assemblies in the world to copy them to another format!’

Adam Trotman: ‘And you had to line them up properly or you would get a hop in the picture. …’

Russell Parker: ‘They retired there, but I think this photo is either VTE or Edit 17’s machine room.’