Pebble Mill Studios

Pebble Mill Studios

"For the talk show, see Pebble Mill at One."

The BBC Birmingham network production centre Pebble Mill was located in Edgbaston, a suburb of Birmingham, England.

Opened by Princess Anne on the 10 November 1971, it was a prominent landmark in the Edgbaston area. The land for the site was acquired by BBC Birmingham in the 1950s but the plans for the site were not approved until 1967, the same year that construction of the studios began.

The centre opened with one main television drama studio (Studio A) and a regional news studio (Studio B). The planned second drama studio (Studio C) was never built. For many years references to this ghost studio could be found in the building wiring systems, and in the video and audio switching matrices.

The seven storey site contained several offices, television studios, radio studios, two canteens, a post office and a garden. The views from the roof overlooked Cannon Hill Park, a nature centre, as well as Birmingham's city centre.

The facilities were second only to Television Centre within the BBC. The world's longest running radio soap, "The Archers" was produced at Pebble Mill, as were talk shows "Pebble Mill at One" and "Good Morning with Anne and Nick", "Midlands Today" and television dramas "All Creatures Great and Small", "Howard's Way", "Juliet Bravo" and "Doctors". The 1977 "Doctor Who" serial "Horror of Fang Rock" had its interior scenes shot at Pebble Mill due to studio space being unavailable at the usual Television Centre studios in London. cite web
url = http://www.shannonsullivan.com/drwho/serials/4v.html
title = Horror of Fang Rock
accessdate = 2006-09-08
date = 2004-03-21
work = A Brief History of Time (Travel)
]

The practical joke series hosted by Jeremy Beadle, "Beadle's About", was also recorded at The Pebble Mill studios. Fact|date=October 2007

The centre was also home to the largest and most advanced post-production departments outside London, including six VT edit suites, two dubbing suites and a multitude of Avid non-linear suites.

After changes in the way television is produced and increasing repair costs due mainly to the building condition - the cladding was falling off and refurbishment was proving a very expensive option - the BBC vacated the premises and moved to new studios at The Mailbox, completing the transfer on 22 October 2004. Remaining fixtures, furniture and technical equipment were auctioned at Pebble Mill a few weeks later. The studios were demolished between May and September 2005, and the site is to be redeveloped as a science park.

The decision to relocate was controversial, indeed, not long after the decision was made to move to The Mailbox, it was discovered that there was not sufficient strength in the foundations to construct the area of mezzanine floor as originally planned. Some departments had to be relocated to a second site (notably the drama department) which became known as the 'Drama Village'. There is talk of looking again for a single site and a further relocation.

References


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