The Flying Gardener

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The first series of The Flying Gardener was produced in London, by Owen Gay in 2001, with the subsequent series being produced in Birmingham in 2003. Sarah Davis (now Moors) was the producer, and Gill Tierney the series producer, when the series transferred to Birmingham. It was transmitted on Friday evenings on BBC2. Presenter and garden designer, Chris Beardshaw travelled around the country in a helicopter, in search of inspirational gardens, to influence the design of a garden project.

Thanks to VT Editor, Ian Collins, for making the screen grab available.

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

Steve Saunderson: ‘Barry Foster shot a lot, all or some of it on tape and I shot the title sequence on film, all at 75fps on my Arri SR3 Advanced camera, which then was speed-ramped in the edit to whiz the helicopter in and out of frame. My focus puller was Terry Bartlett and the assistant was my son Paul. We were on top of a steep “cliff” at a golf club somewhere above Cheltenham so that Chris could stand on the edge and have the helicopter rise and fall behind him with lots of airspace to manoeuvre. We shot most of it on my 50mm, 85mm and 135mm prime Zeiss Superspeed lenses, to visually pull the helicopter closer to Chris.’

Adam Trotman: ‘Yep I edited all the stings… speed ramping them…..very in those days….. bloody Matrix had a lot to answer for’

Barrie Foster: ‘ It was great fun. Tim Green did the sound and Castle Air did the flying. Memorable very ‘lumpy ‘ rid over Scottish hills after kippers for breakfast!

Tracey Bagley: ‘How could I forget this one .. hard sums and schedules but all worth the effort’

Sarah Moors: ‘Now there‚Äôs a blast from the past! The hours spent on that programme and the stories I could tell…The start of years of Gardening programmes for me. Happy times.’







Top Gear GTi












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Thanks to Ian Collins for making this titles still from the Top Gear GTi series, which went out on the UKTV, UK Horizons channel.

Here is the entry from Wikipedia which explains the series,

“Top Gear GTi was a series of programmes broadcast by the BBC covering a variety of features such as car reviews, special features such as attending a driving school and motor shows. Essentially, GTi is an expansion on the main programme. The series was mainly presented by Vicki Butler-Henderson, although Steve Berry and Jason Bradbury appeared on the show at times. The show was the last of the spin-off series’ of Top Gear to be broadcast, airing between September 1999 and May 2001, with more than 100 episodes in its name. Unlike any other spin-off, Top Gear GTi was broadcast on a near daily timeslot on the UK Horizons channel.”

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

Sarah Wilkin Hodgson: ‘Did we even have a budget?!! It was fab fun though…..apart from when I blew the tyre on the tracking mondeo car…..can you remember the weeing incident Michelle in the Honda Jazz when we were stuck in traffic in Madrid?…..and how ill I was in Barcelona….!!!! ‘

Michelle Davies: ‘Yes I remember Madrid!! That was a crazy 24 hrs smile emoticon and yes I remember Barcelona, you were so poorly. Do you remember me fixing the minicam to the Audi TT (you were presenting) and it fell off and smashed to pieces on the A345?! Managed to save the rushes though – sorry Alan Miller! So many memories .’

Alan Miller: ‘The show was by UKTV standards quite well funded but BBC overheads certainly ate into that budget big time. We cut costs by shooting and editing everything ourselves. Everyone did their bit,. Driving tracking cars, rigging in car cameras, writing running orders and even supervising the final compile were all shared by the entire team including the PA. It was a very flat hierarchy I think. The directors and producer of course shot and edited their own items. With very little lead time before the first TX we had to generate 23 minutes per week ourselves towards the 46 minute long programme, which had of course commercial breaks. Despite the pressures it was great fun to work on and I was and still am proud of what the fantastic team achieved, sometimes beating the BBC1 Top Gear to be first to test new cars!’

Joolz Richards: ‘It was one of the most fun programmes I ever worked on, certainly. Plus, we got to travel and stay in some excellent hotels. I particularly remember Branson’s place in Mallorca with Mark Scott and Steve Berry – I directed one piece and actually got Steve to recite Shakespeare (not well admittedly, remember that northern accent????) as this hotel had a proper Juliet balcony. There was also one occasion in Barcelona where the other journos thought I was Steve’s wife… Jeez…We were looked down on massively by the main programme which I think we really loved!!!!! However, it gave all of us the opportunity to learn lots of skills we would never have been able to otherwise – writing scripts, driving filming vehicles, sound boom, second camera, directing, the list is endless. An excellent training ground. Fab memories.’

Tracey Bagley: ‘May I add … Yes you all did a great job and quite frankly at times I know it proved challenging. Alan Miller, I recall going through that budget with you and you then taking me through all the technical aspects of the self shooting / self editing ! The innovation …. Happy days .’

Alan Miller: ‘Hi Tracey. We certainly played around with the budget to get the most out of it. I am sure I could not have done the various “deals” which allowed us to work the way we did without your inestimable help. I always thought of you as a crucial part of the team.’


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

Here are a couple of titles stills from the stylish, offbeat countryside guide, Tracks
circa 1995-7.

Here is the Radio Times entry for the episode transmitted on 4th July 1995:

“The weekly guide to the countryside. In tonight’s programme, Lindsay Cannon talks to champion trainer
Ian Openshaw about the secret life of working dogs such as the labrador, golden retriever and springer spaniel and learns, amongotherthings, that labradors were originally bred for catchingfish.
Undaunted by the cerebral palsy that slows his movement, disabled mountaineer John Hawkridge – who has previously tackled Everest and Annapurna – embarks on a trek among some magnificent prehistoric ruins in Orkney. There he indulges his passion for neolithic sights and visits
Maeshowe and the Ring of Brodgerat midnighton Midsummer’s Day.
David Stafford looks at Rattus rattus, also known as the black rat, which may be the most endangered mammal in Britain. Far outnumbered by the brown rat, the black rat gains little sympathy for its plight, having been responsible for the spread of the Black Death. Plus the animated Tracks guide to trees continues with the native yew. Steeped in myth and legend, it has unusual growth characteristics.
Producer Kathryn Moore ; Series producer Dick Colthurst”

The series was re-titled Country Tracks from 1998.

Each episode contained a distinctive animated sequence, which I think was drawn by Pebble Mill graphics designer, Tony Fisher.

Thanks to Ian Collins for making the grabs available.

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

Tracey Bagley: “Tracks was briefly part of my portfolio when I joined the dept as Unit Manager. I recall Tony Fisher definitely doing animation for one of my series and out of them all, I think it could only be this.”

Kath Moore: “Tony did them all – with his usual dedication and inimitable, incredible professionalism. He asked such In-depth questions about the characters – in order that that looked right and lived in the right house / environment we created a biog for each of the main souls…from scratch. Tony was as one in a million.”