Midlands to remember BBC Pebble Mill dramas
Drama production at the iconic – now demolished – Pebble Mill studios in Birmingham is to be celebrated in a special event in the city next month.
The ‘It Came From Pebble Mill’ event will run from Friday July 2nd through to July 4th at the MAC venue in the Edgbaston area of the city – only a short distance from where the once mighty BBC production centre once stood.
Back in the 1970s and 80s Birmingham was a serious provider of television content to both BBC Television and ITV, with Pebble Mill and ATV Centre pumping out 100s of hours of networked programming per year.
Today, however, the picture is different. The only regular programme from the city is BBC One daytime soap Doctors – and there are no major dedicated television studio facilties in operation. ATV Centre closed for the final time in 1997 and BBC Pebble Mill was discontinued in 2004.
Now Screen West Midlands, MAC, Birmingham University and 7Inch Cinema are to celebrate some of the best dramas that were recorded at ‘The Mill’ by producer David Rose. The event will screen shows such as Empire Road – Britain’s first all-black television soap opera that was set in Handsworth, Birmingham and Nuts In May – the cult comedy drama about class warfare; as seen through holidaymakers at a campsite, to name only two of the screenings.
“Long before shows like The Wire and The Sopranos ripped up the television rule-book, a corridor of the BBC’s Birmimham studio was rivalling HBO in the range and riskiness of its output. Over the course of a decade from 1972 onwards the uncompromisingly-named English Regions Drama Department created a unique culture where young writers and directors could flourish. Where Sci-fi and cop-shows were taken in strange new directions, and where contemporary Britain in all its glory and messiness were reflected on the small screen” SWM say.
Screen West Midlands add that the event will allow people a rare opportunity to rediscover some of the best work from the era and to find out how those at Pebble Mill managed to “get away” with it.
For more information you can log-on to the venue website MACarts.