Newsletter 2010


Everything in those days was live

Here are two of five photos found by Terence Pegram in a local junk shop. He sent them to me in April 2009 thinking that they might be of interest to Newsletter readers. At the time he thought they related to one of TDU’s demonstrations, and noted that a young Cliff Michelmore was identifiable in two of the pictures. He finally managed to track down one of the people in the group photograph – Martyn Clarke – who has supplied the following information. Ed.

All the photos tie together, taken in 1957 at the Marconi Studio in London.  I worked on the programme doing both sound and telecine, everything in those days was live (no videotape then) which made things very interesting.  The bosses at TV Centre never saw what was going to happen until we went live and then it was too late.

Picture 1, the group (below – on the back is written Eric, Arthur, Ross, Martin and Ted) shows Ross Isles, second from left, who went to Australia in late 50s, and Arthur Kemp, third from left, who went on to do studio installations in Cyprus and was very proud of bullet holes in his car he collected during the conflicts. I am the fourth from the left. Of the other two guys, the Christian names are familiar but I can’t remember the surnames. We also used guys from Radar as they had video experience.

Picture 2, which has ‘Neds Pantry’ written on the back shows the monitors in Production Control and the ‘Ned’ reference on the back refers to Ned Sherrin who was a trainee director/producer working under Donald Baverstock.  He went on to be involved in shows like ‘That Was The Week That Was’ and many others.

(In recent times he was the presenter of Loose Ends on Radio 4 on Saturday evenings until his death a couple of years ago)

Picture 3 is the party at Studio M for the last time we did Tonight on 15th November 1957.

Pictures 4 & 5 are of the Tonight programme in our studio. The microphone boom operator is Martin Boothman, another Marconi apprentice.  The Cameras are Mk 3s.  These show Cliff Michelmore on the right of the set.)

I have a very rough video copy of the last night we did for Tonight. Initially we were going to do 6 weeks but landed up doing 9 months.

We had a very nice letter from the Tonight team saying how much they missed being at Studio M and were now not so free, being at Lime Grove and the top brass monitoring them all the time.

Following the publication of this Newsletter the following comments have been received from Mike Plant

The information on page 9 of this year’s newsletter mentions Martyn Clarke and Martin Boothman.  I had the pleasure of meeting the former at the 2008 tour of New St, after a gap of some 45 years.  Re M. Boothman, his memory lives in the minds of my close ex apprentice friends due to the event about 1960 when he decided to “straighten out” a right hand corner on what we oldies still call the A414, a mile or so short of Leaden Roding.  Henceforth this spot has been known within our circle as “Boothman’s Bend”.  Memory suggests that Boothman himself was not badly damaged, the same not applying to the Marconi Commer estate!

Since a search of the lists suggests that M B is still with us, assuming he ever reached the status of a Veteran, it would be nice to hear from him, with his memories of the above alleged occurrence!. Mike