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					   The newspaper for BBC pensioners - with highlights from Ariel

 ‘Wonders’ shine through
 difficult year                                                       BBC continues to make great
                                                                        programmes despite chilly
                                                                                 climate – Page 2

A u g u s t 2 0 11 • I s s u e 6

                                     More from you                 emerging -
                                     on the dr. Who                words from                  Memories of
                                     howl-round                    the Chairman                Wood Norton
                                     Page 4                        Page 8-9                    Page 10

 NEWS • LifE aftEr auNtiE • CLaSSifiEdS • Your LEttErS • obituariES • CroSPEro

  Tough year of upheaval and ambition                                                                                                                       Pension news
                                                                                                                                                            Below is a short overview of

  – the BBC annual report summarised
                                                                                                                                                            recent government changes
                                                                                                                                                            and developments to
                                                                                                                                                            state Pensions.
  For Mark thompson, the powerful Afghanistan documentary                                                                                                   State pensions
  Our War symbolises much of the BBC’s ambition in a year of                                                                                                The Government’s proposals to accelerate
                                                                                                                                                            the planned rise in State Pension age are
                                                                                                                                                            expected to become law by October. The
  radical change.                                                                                                                                           press has reported on the estimated 300,000
                                                                                                                                                            women who will be most affected by the
                                                                                                                                                            planned changes in the Pensions Bill 2011
                                                                                                                                                            (those in their mid to late fifties) and who
                                                                                                                                                            will see a delay of up to two years in the start
                                                                                                                                                            of their State Pension. A number of campaign
                                                                                                                                                            groups have attacked the plans, claiming that
                                                                                                                                                            women who are affected have been left very
                                                                                                                                                            little time in which to re-think their finances.
                                                                                                                                                            Work and Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan
                                                                                                                                                            Smith, last month conceded that support
                                                                                                                                                            must be put in place for such cases, stating
                                                                                                                                                            that ‘transitional arrangements’ may be made
                                                                                                                                                            in these circumstances.
                                                                                                                                                                It is important that you are aware of your
                                                                                                                                                            correct State Retirement date, so that you can
                                                                                                                                                            plan effectively for your own retirement. The
                                                                                                                                                            Department for Work and Pensions will be
   Brian Cox, presenting the popular Wonders of the Universe                    Five daughters                                                              updating its forecasting system in line with
                                                                                                                                                            any change in legislation; once the new ruling
  Shot with soldiers’ helmet cameras and               approach to reflecting people of different       audiences rising to 10.3m against 6.2m for          is in force, the State Pension Age calculator at
  voiced in their own words, the BBC                   ages in our on-air talent’.                      Sky News.                                  will also be updated, and
  Three programme was ‘exhilarating,                      The impact of last autumn’s licence fee           Audiences for regional tv news reached          you can check your own State Retirement
  disturbing, heartbreaking and utterly                settlement and the DQF process meant that        a five-year high (5.5m) and local radio             date by visiting the site (see ‘Pensions and
  gripping’, the director-general says in his          there remained ‘many difficult questions and     audiences were up by 720,000 to 7.4m.               retirement planning’ section).
  introduction to this year’s annual report.           trade-offs to work through’, but Thompson        Network television hours from Scotland
  It claimed the second highest AI of any BBC          concludes: ‘Now, more than ever, we are          more than doubled to 611.                           Pension liberation
  factual programme and reached a large                determined to put quality first.’                    Across the portfolio of BBC TV and radio        In recent months, it has become
  young audience.                                         For many BBC staff, the year was              channels, reach was up. Drama output across         apparent that a number of companies
      ‘To me this commitment – not just to             characterised by upheaval. There were angry      all channels was down year-on-year by a             are claiming to be able to release pension
  ‘preach to the choir’, but to put serious,           protests at the World Service closures and the   hefty 630 hours, largely due to the strategic       funds for members, contrary to the
  engaging journalism, knowledge and culture           painful pensions reform process, designed        decision to acquire fewer series, but the           Government’s early access rules. Known as
  in front of everyone, including those who            to address a £1.6bn deficit – along with a       year saw a drop in originated drama of just         ‘pension liberation’, methods of doing this
  may not feel a natural appetite for it, and to       below inflation pay offer – led to two days of   eight hours.                                        vary, and include loans written to the scheme
  make it so compelling and inspiring that it          strike action.                                       An average of 20m people in the UK used         member, or the transfer of pension scheme
  becomes unmissable – is at the heart of what            The Executive review recognises that the      BBC Online each week, with a record 11.7m           funds into an alternative product which
  it means to be a public service broadcaster’,        migration of departments to Salford – now        hits to the News website on the day after           then releases money at a much earlier date
  Thompson says.                                       under way, coupled with the uncertainty          the General Election. Across the year, BBC          than intended. Both the TPR and the FSA
      Over a period of digital growth, strong          over implementation of Delivering Quality        iPlayer averaged more than 100m requests            have issued warnings about the danger
  audience approval and rising trust levels            First is ‘unsettling’ for people inside          a month and a total of 1.6bn programmes             of such action.
  among licence payers, he singles out                 the organisation.                                were played.                                           From 2012, the Government’s Automatic
  Wonders of the Universe, the most ‘exciting’            ‘There will be fewer jobs in the new              As the future of the BBC Asian Network          Enrolment system will come into force as part
  Proms season in years and the ‘brave’ drama          BBC. So the coming year will see us work         remains under review, its audience grew,            of plans to boost the number and quality of
  Five Daughters as stand-out achievements,            with staff and unions to manage those            although it recorded the lowest AI score            workplace pension schemes. The National
  along with BBC coverage of massive world             changes fairly, transparently and with           of any BBC radio station (71%) while                Employment and Savings Trust (NEST) is a
  events like the Japanese tsunami and the             compassion, providing outplacement services      continuing to cost the most per user hour.          new workplace pension scheme which was
  Arab Spring.                                         and redeployment wherever possible and               Overall – despite a licence fee freeze,         created to support employers in meeting
                                                       working to maintain staff motivation and         extra future commitments including paying           their new duties. NEST has launched a
  A year of upheaval                                   engagement’, management promise.                 for World Service, the pension deficit and          comprehensive website which provides detail
  Miriam O’Reilly’s successful suing of the BBC                                                         inflationary pressures – the BBC ended the          on how the scheme will work, how money
  for ageism was clearly a low point: ‘In 2011         BBC News Channel increases                       year with a balance sheet, and a net overdraft      will be invested to enhance members’ pension
  we need to demonstrate that we have learned          weekly reach                                     of £16m, that demonstrates the ‘underlying          pots and also includes an interactive area
  both the specific and the more general               Among the report’s content reviews, coverage     health of the BBC’, says chief financial officer,   where members of the NEST scheme can log
  lessons from the case’, Thompson says. The           of seismic international events helped the       Zarin Patel. The five-year continuous saving        in to access their account details and
  BBC will continue to work with the wider             BBC News Channel increase its weekly reach       programme is on target to exceed £2bn by            monitor their pension fund progress.
  industry to develop ‘a more sophisticated            by almost a third to 12.2%, with 2010/11         2012/13.                                            Visit

                                                                                                              Editorial contributions: Write to: Prospero, BBC Pension and Benefits Centre,
                                                                                                              Broadcasting House, Cardiff CF5 2YQ. Email:
                                                                                                              Please make sure that any digital pictures you send are scanned at 300 dpi.
                                                                                                              The next issue of Prospero will appear in October
                                 Prospero is provided free of charge to retired BBC employees,
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                                 or to their spouses and dependants. Prospero provides a source
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  PROSPERO August 2011
                                                                                                                                        uPdatE from thE bbC                                               03
The BBC Pension Scheme –                                                                             Save your energy
Report and Accounts                                                                                  with BBC lighting
the BBC recently published its scheme Report and Accounts                                            guide
for the year ending 31 March 2011. Below is a short summary                                          the BBC has launched a guide
of the main points. We plan to feature a broader breakdown of                                        to using low-energy lighting
the Pension scheme’s report later in the year.                                                       (LEL) on television productions.
Overall performance                              average, as measured by WM’s UK Pension             It is meant to act as a one-stop-shop for
The membership of the Scheme rose slightly       Fund Benchmark.                                     lighting directors, studio managers and
during the year. As at 31 March 2011 the            The BBC Pension Scheme, which is                 production teams, helping them to cut carbon
total membership was 60,399; 1.4% more           registered with HM Revenue & Customs                emissions and save on energy bills. The
than last year, and 5.4% more than five years    and the Pensions Regulator, is established          comprehensive 32-page guide – with graphics,
ago. The value of the Scheme’s investments       and governed by a Trust Deed and Rules.             statistics and product comparisons – is to lead
(including AVC investments) rose by 8.3%         Members of the Scheme (other than                   the way in changing the industry’s approach to
from £8.2 billion last year to £8.9 billion as   members of the Career Average Benefits              sustainable productions. The guide is the first
at 31 March 2011 and the Scheme’s assets         sections) are contracted out of the State           of its kind in the UK television industry.
produced a return of 8.6% in the year ended      Second Pension.                                         The BBC has a target of reducing its energy
31 March 2011. Over the last five years the      To find out more about the BBC Pension Scheme       consumption by 20% by 2013. LEL lamps
Scheme’s investments have generated an
annualised return of 3.7%. This is around
                                                 Report and Accounts, please visit
                                                                                                     last longer than traditional ones and save
                                                                                                     money and energy in the long run, although
                                                                                                                                                        Strike action
                                                                                                     they initially cost more to buy or hire. It’s
                                                                                                     estimated that up to 80% of energy consumed        strike action took place this
                                                                                                     on a production can come from lighting             summer after BBC members

Introducing Quick                                                                                                                                       of the NuJ voted in favour
                                                                                                     alone. By using LEL, the energy consumption
                                                                                                     can drop substantially. BBC Three’s Mongrels
                                                                                                     has, for example, saved 40% of its energy          of industrial action over
Response Codes (QRCs)                                                                                consumption by using low-energy lighting,
                                                                                                     and Silent Witness is saving around 30%.
                                                                                                                                                        compulsory redundancies.
                                                                                                                                                        Of members who voted, 72% said they were
What is a QRC?                                   the BBC Pension Report and Accounts, visit          Cardiff Bay                                        in favour of strike action and 87% were in
A QRC is a kind of barcode, which you  ’ at the end of an           Other BBC programmes are about to                  favour of action short of a strike. The union
may have seen on advertising or in other         article, a printed QRC image would take you         introduce LEL, including the new set of            says the recent ballot could result in more
publications, and is often used for adding       straight there once you had scanned it with         Casualty, which will use 100% LELs when            strikes unless compulsory redundancies
web links to a printed page. Using your          your mobile.                                        it moves to Cardiff Bay. Studios in London         are halted.
Smartphone (mobile), you scan the QRC                                                                and in the buildings occupied by the BBC               NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet
(like you scan a barcode on a product you        QRCs in Prospero                                    at MediaCityUK will also use lights that           said, ‘Members at the BBC are fully prepared
buy) and, providing you have the QR Reader       For the first time, readers are able to access      consume less energy for regional news              to stand up for their colleagues under threat.
application on your mobile, it instantly         websites straight from Prospero, using their        programmes, sports coverage, the News              If the BBC wants to provoke a strike over
takes you to the link generated by that QRC.     Smartphones or web cams. Below are a                Channel and on the new set of BBC Breakfast.       such small numbers it would be shameful.
It could be any website, a YouTube video or      couple of examples of QRCs for you to try,             The BBC believes that, by sharing this          We call on the BBC to get round the table
any other sort of web page. Basically, instead   which will enable you to access the BBC             guide, everyone working in the industry can        with us and sort it out.’
of saying, say, ‘for more information on         Pension website and Prospero online.                find out how to reduce the carbon footprint            The strike ballot was called after it
                                                                                                     of their own productions.                          became clear that compulsory redundancies
                                                                                                        Adrian Poole, Director of IT and Technology     would arise from cuts to the World Service
                                                            Delivery, said, ‘Only by having a shared goal      and BBC Monitoring, where 387 posts are
                                                                                                     of reducing our energy consumption whilst          scheduled to close.
                                                                                                     maintaining the quality of light, have we now          The NUJ motion reiterates the policy
                                                                                                     got to a stage where low-energy lighting is a      of no compulsory redundancies among its
                                                                                                     reality for productions. We hope that this guide   members and calls on the BBC to resolve
                                                      will help move the whole industry forward in       all outstanding cases. It also condemns the
                                 helpadvice/pages/documents-prospero.shtml                           creating a sustainable future.’                    decision not to use the £2.2 million granted
                                                                                                                                                        by the Foreign Office to the World Service for
                                                                                                                                                        the next three years to halt all compulsory

                                                                      devised and compiled by Jim Palm
                                                                                                                                                        Low turnout
 1                       2                                            Complete the square by using the clues; these apply only to words                 In a staff email sent in response to the
                                                                      running across. Then take these words in numerical order and                      announcements, director of News,
       3                                   4                          extract the letters indicated by a dot. If your answers are correct,              Helen Boaden emphasised that turnout
                                                                      these letters will spell out the name of a period BBC serial.                     for the ballot was less than 40%, involving
       5                             6                                                                                                                  1,248 members – 6% of BBC staff.
                                                                      Please send your answers in an envelope marked Crospero to the
                                                                                                                                                           ‘We will continue with our efforts to limit
                                                                      Editor, Prospero, BBC Pension and Benefits Centre, Broadcasting
 7                                   8                                                                                                                  the number of compulsory redundancies
                                                                      House, Cardiff CF5 2YQ by Friday, 9 september 2011.
                                                                                                                                                        but the number of posts that have to close
                                                                      CLUES                                                                             means that unfortunately it is likely to be
                                                                      1. Youth (3), 2. Responded in a certain way (7), 3. Drinks counter (3),           impossible for us to avoid some compulsory
 10                                  11
                                                                      4. tree (3), 5. Big lake (4), 6. Having nothing to do (4), 7. Paces (5),          redundancies’, she said, adding that the
                                                                      8. Requirements (5), 9. Cat or dog (3), 10. Kind of soup (5),                     extra FCO funding for World Service was
                                                                      11. Antique (5), 12. American lizard (3), 13. Projections (5),                    ‘not enough to allow us to avoid having to
                                                                      14. take the wheel (5), 15. Abrasive tool (4), 16. Northern river (4),            continue with this process’.
 13                                  14                               17. small pocket (3), 18. For cooking (3), 19. Forebears (7), 20. Drop off (3)       She continued, ‘I understand that many
                                                                                                                                                        NUJ members will face a personal choice
       15                            16                               Solutions to Crospero 158: stationer, Mean, Nonet, Lit, Quasi, ulnar,             about whether or not to take part in industrial
                                                                      shane, Basic, sonar, Roles, Ducat, Radio, sum, Haven, Eros, Landwards.            action. Before they make that decision I
       17                                  18                         Partial down words: umber and Egret                                               want to stress that we will continue to do all
                                                                      the programme was ANtIQuEs ROADsHOW. the winner was                               we can to limit the number of compulsory
 19                                              20                   Mr Ray targett.                                                                   redundancies though at this point we have no
                                                                                                                                                        other options available to us.’

                                                                                                                                                                          PROSPERO August 2011
04 LEttErS
  Dr. Who building
  may become
  student digs
  Nigel Vincent, on the ‘Local
  London’ website, writes
  about an old film set poised to
  become accommodation.
  An empty office block above Ealing                  The commentators position and new C.P.S (Cathode Potential
  Broadway tube station that was once used as         Stabilisation) Emitron camera televising the Boxing Finals at the
  a film location for BBC TV’s Dr.Who could be        Empire Pool, Wembley, at the 1948 Olympic Games, held in London            Riverside studios
  converted into student flats because of a lack

                                                     The howl-round continues to excite
  of interest from commercial bidders.
      Villiers House has been earmarked by
  Imperial College and the Royal College of
  Music as a suitable venue for a new hall                                                                                    I believe this was how it first happened!
  of residence. The landmark building has
                                                     Prospero would like to thank readers for the many letters            Whilst I believe I may have inspired Ben to
  been placed under offer with the academic          received on the subject of the Dr. Who ‘howl-round’. Just as it      discover the effect, I do not claim to have
  institutions willing to take on the remaining
  55-year lease, currently held by the BBC,
                                                     seems we are getting close to the definitive truth behind its birth, discovered it! Senior Studio Engineer)
                                                                                                                          John Billett(retired
  according to reports in the latest edition of      someone else comes up with a recollection which keeps the
  Property Week.                                                                                                          Camera tubes responsible
      ‘The office market isn’t that buoyant in the
                                                     debate going!                                                        for peel-off
  area and there is a lot of product along the                                                                                                               Far be it from me to disagree with the
  Uxbridge Road’, says Tony Fisher, head of office   Dr. Who Titles                                         The distance from the monitor was very           esteemed Geoff Higgs, with whom I
  agency at Lambert Smith Hampton, which is          Please allow me to solve the mystery of the         critical, and the ‘beam focus’ on the camera        eventually worked, but his memory is
  acting for the BBC. ‘Lots of educational bodies    ‘howl-round’ title sequence. On Friday,             was adjusted to get ‘dynode spots’ on the           playing tricks with him. The peel-off effect
  have looked at it. It seems an obvious move.’      13 September 1963, crew 1 was allocated             picture. If these were varied, sometimes the        was an unwanted feature of the CPS Emitron
                                                     to Studio D, Lime Grove, 0930-1745,                 Riverside or Dr.Who effect would be triggered.      camera tube that occurred when it looked
  The enemy of the world                             programme title – ‘Dr.Who experiment’. Some         However it was very fiddly to set up, and           at a bright light. It was not used for the
  The nine-storey building has been on the           experiments involved smoke generators and           there was no way that it could be used on the       Dr.Who titles. The studios at Lime Grove, D, E
  market since the collapse into administration      some electronic effects. Studio D still had         transmission because the camera was used            and G (F was a scenery store), all had those
  of Glenkerrin, the Irish property                  the old CPS-Emitron cameras which were              elsewhere until a few minutes before the            cameras in the early sixties when the first
  development company which failed to push           renowned for producing a vision ‘peel-off’          effect was required.                                series of Dr.Who was made. I actually had the
  through a controversial redevelopment of           when pointed at a bright light so pointing          Peter Jarrett, BBC Operations and Maintenance       privilege of working on the first episode in
  central Ealing. The plans had proposed the         one at a monitor and getting a ‘howl-               1955-1990                                           studio G shortly after I joined Tech Ops as a
  erection of a 40-storey Dubai-style tower          round’ added to the effect. Five weeks later,                                                           camera trainee.
  block designed by Sir Norman Foster.               18 October, we recorded the first Dr.Who            Dr. Who Camera Peel                                    Apart from Dr.Who, studio G was also
      Some local residents fear that a change of     in the same studio. The first series involved       The Dr.Who howl-round, came about                   famous for becoming the home of Top of the
  use to student digs could freeze any significant   cavemen in skins and because Studio D had           (I believe) after I talked to Ben Palmer            Pops when it moved from Manchester down
  redevelopment of the station which is widely       the old tungsten 4-lights it was very hot!          in Riverside Studios. I said to him that a          to London. It was also, I believe, where
  regarded as being long overdue for having its      You can imagine the smell!                          camera taking a picture of a monitor was            another Sci-Fi series, Quatermass, was recorded.
  poor access problems dealt with.                   Dave Mundy                                          not a ‘howl-round’ but a picture of a picture.      Ben Palmer (also no relation, although we
      Villiers House was once home to the                                                                This I think, made him think about the              now live just a few miles apart) is, of course,
  BBC’s finance and accounting services and in       Down by the riverside                               subject, and experiment with a camera               right in confirming the origin of the video
  November 1967 the building’s fire escape was       Could I add a little information on                 in Riverside 2.                                     howl-round used for the titles as mentioned
  used to film a scene from Dr.Who’s The Enemy       this subject?                                           I remember that he positioned the camera        in previous letters. The peel-off effect was
  of the World, starring Patrick Troughton as the       Originally I believe this was known as           so that it framed an area smaller than the          made use of, however, when the Daleks
  doctor. Ealing locations were often used for       the ‘Riverside Effect’. This must have been         monitor raster, and adjusted the brilliance of      ‘zapped’ someone, giving an unworldly look
  Dr.Who stories during the period that the BBC      before Dr.Who used it. Presumably it was first      the picture to produce the howl-round. This         to the way they died. When the CPS Emitrons
  owned Ealing Film Studios. One of the most         discovered by Norman Taylor in these BBC            had the appearance of a CPS camera peel but         were eventually replaced by cameras using
  famous sites, close to Ealing Broadway was the     Riverside Studios.                                  he was using an Image Orthicon Camera,              Image Orthicon tubes, the producers then
  department store shop window from which               In the early 1960s I was working as a            which does not peel.                                had to work out a new way for the Daleks to
  animated shop dummies, the Autons, broke           Vision Control Operator with either crew               We were all very excited by this, and Ben        kill their enemies!
  out for an alien rampage in the 1970 series        4 or crew 9, in studio Riverside 1 when             spoke to Presentation and offered it as an             The only studios I remember using
  Spearhead from Space.                              Norman Taylor, our Technical Operations             interval picture.                                   Vidicons were the Presentation studios Pres
                                                     Manager, asked us if we could set it up, as            They declined, since he could not                A and Pres B. Pres A was then the weather
                                                     the producer would possibly like to use it          guarantee what it would do. This was just           studio and Pres B was where Late Night
                                                     at some stage. It was set up on our camera          prior to Dr.Who coming on air, I don’t know         Line-up was based and where The Old Grey
                                                     3 Image Orthicon with the camera facing a           what brought it to their attention, but they        Whistle Test originated.
                                                     studio monitor with camera 3’s output on it.        used it for the titles.                             Rex Palmer

                                                      Quatermass and the Pit pic                                                  Daleks made use of the ‘peel-off’ effect

  PROSPERO August 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                  LEttErS                   05
Clear writing                                     areas of the discipline.
                                                     When Ann joined, the BBC’s News
                                                                                                     introduced by Stuart Hall. David Davies (of
                                                                                                     football administration fame) and the late
                                                                                                                                                           on a television puppet programme called
                                                                                                                                                           Vegetable Village and showed me a photograph
I found this little gem in a recent copy of       and Current affairs staff were more                Nick Clarke were, I believe, Sports reporters         of herself with a veggie glove puppet.
‘Ariel’, being part of a report on a visit to     mobile than ever before, given to being            at that time.                                         She said the show was produced by Ian
Pacific Quay, Glasgow:                            sent wherever a news story was to be                   Other names I remember from the                   Carmichael, Musical Director was Eric
    ‘The technology has been key for              covered into undeveloped countries where           Newsroom along the corridor are Directors             Robinson and amongst those doing the
everyone working at PQ. For example, Radio        medical support was less than minimal              Charles Farmer and Linda McDougall (wife              voices were Joan Sims, Derek Guyler and
needed a system that would link teams all         and the occupational health hazards quite          of veteran MP Austin Mitchell) and Hazel              Kenneth Connor.
around Scotland with the main base, and           horrendous. Thanks to her, our staff were          Mackintosh, who was the PA for Look North.                I asked older members of the British
would also marry up with Audio and Music          prepared as far as they could be, being                Just to jog a few memories, the                   Puppet & Model Theatre Guild, some of
in London. Everybody uses VCS dira to access      supplied with health advice and kits that at       photograph shows some of the team in the              whom worked on early TV puppet shows,
content, with SADIE for craft editing. The        the least would help protect from bush witch       studio gallery one afternoon circa 1970               if they knew anything about this show and
managing editor, Radio Scotland, explains,        doctors and untrained local support.               waiting for action. Technical Manager John            nobody had heard of it. However, it seems
‘When we moved here we changed our                   When I retired from the BBC and became          Spicer (now retired in North Wales, Con               that Ian Carmichael actually was a BBC
work flows, our job roles and the tasks           an Executive HR Director of one of the             Jones (camera) and Jerry Clegg (Sound                 staff producer in his early career, just after
within them. The big success for us is            biggest NHS trusts in Scotland, I inherited        Supervisor), also retired but active in the           the war. The BBC must have been the only
the interface between VCS and the digital         responsibility for setting up a system of          restoration project of North 3.                       company making TV shows in those days;
library. It has been a huge benefit to staff in   Occupational Health and Safety for some            Mike Baker                                            would they have made a pilot programme?
terms of accessing content, reversioning it,      9,000 staff. My guiding light was the                                                                    The lady also told me she had been asked
finding and using content from different
genres. What we have on the desktop now is
                                                  example set by Ann and previously, Alec.
                                                     Personally, I owe her a great debt; she         Rooting around –                                      to operate ‘Mrs Mop’ in a puppet version of
                                                                                                                                                           ITMA, but this plan was abandoned.
incomparable, and that’s really important.’
    I seem to remember attending an
                                                  uncovered a health problem which sent me
                                                  off to specialists rapidly. She had identified     can you help?                                             I wonder if any of your older readers
                                                                                                                                                           have any memories of this programme.
Engineering Division ‘Report Writing’             the problem while we were having a meeting         I was for some years a director/producer              Her son, who must be in his early 60s,
course in the mid-70s, when the emphasis          over the changing needs of News staff.             with BBC TV Children’s Programmes and                 says he remembers going to Lime Grove to
was on producing clear messages, free from        Moving to Scotland I kept in touch with Ann        when that nice Mister Birt came along I               watch it. I thought she might be confusing
ambiguities and jargon.                           and her husband Peter and will ever regret         returned to my former occupation of actor/            it with WHIRLIGIG and Mr Turnip but a friend
    So, when I read statements like the one       that distance meant little opportunity for         singer/puppeteer.                                     of mine who worked on that said Mr Turnip
above, some of which I freely admit I don’t       more than letters and cards.                          I recently met a lady (of 80 plus) who             has a different producer. Any help would
understand, I have two questions: what has        Tony Austin                                        told me that she once worked as a puppeteer           be appreciated.
happened to clear writing, and who is trying      Ex CA News and Current Affairs Radio and Manager                                                         Peter Charlton
to impress who?                                   Foreign Bureaux and Special Projects News and
    Oh – and why does this word ‘content’         Current Affairs.
appear so often these days? Surely the BBC
still produces and distributes programmes /
programme material, regardless from which         Well done, Chairman
‘platform’ (more jargon) it is transmitted?       As a pre-war television engineer, I was
Robert Matthews                                   delighted to see the new Chairman Chris
                                                  Patten directing the Corporation thinking
Occupational                                      back to Reith days: a broadcast service of
                                                  great quality and standards serving the
Health pioneer                                    people, with contented staff not concerned
                                                  with pay.
May I add a few words to your obituary of            I was also sorry to read of the death of
Ann Fingret?                                      my TV engineer friends like Pottinger and
   When Ann joined the BBC she followed in        Walters and one or two others. I begin to
the footsteps of a venerable and very much        wonder at 95 whether I am the last of the
respected Dr Alec Muirhead. Alec’s humanity,      pre-war TV engineers. I look forward to
understanding of the needs of the hugely          the 75th anniversary.                               Picture shows Molly Blake (daughter of Annette Mills) with
diverse staff and his ability to persuade those   Robert Mears                                        Prudence Kitten in a puppet programme for young viewers
who tried to use the system, meant that the
BBC had an Occupational Health department
of outstanding class. I mention this because it   Recollections
was very clear very quickly that Ann brought
to the BBC a style and compassion that            of Studio N
moved Alec’s legacy forward.                      Reading Martin Noble’s memories of the
   Occupational Health was a discipline of        newsroom in Manchester’s Broadcasting
medicine which was still in its infancy. Ann’s    House in the 1960s brought back my own
professionalism and background gave us a          memories of working in Studio N, with its
head start in coping with developments in         vidicon cameras and its 16mm Telecine in
procedures such as health analysis of staff,      the back of the gallery itself.
health trends under stress and pressure              As a junior operator at the time it was
which were under-acknowledged but now,            often my duty to load the reel of 16mm
some quarter of a century on, are the main        news film to play in inserts to Look North

  Studio N

                                                                                                                                                                             PROSPERO August 2011
06 LifE aftEr auNtiE
        CONtACts                                    Mont Blanc, Rodney
   Visiting Scheme                                  Readers may recall our feature in the July edition of Prospero (‘Our World at the science
   If you would like a visit or information on      Museum’) on the partnership between BBC History and the science Museum. In that article
   how to become a volunteer visitor, please
   ring 0845 712 5529. You will be charged          our contributor, Robert seatter, of BBC History, briefly detailed some upcoming events. In this
   only as a local call.                            article, he brings us up to speed with anniversary celebrations planned for more landmarks of the
   Queries                                          BBC’s illustrious past (including for one of the uK’s most popular comedy series) and asks for
   For benefit and pension payroll queries, call
   the service Line on 029 2032 2811.               contributions from readers.
   Prospero                                         ‘Unbelievably, it was almost 30 years ago,          this great comedy moment, and would               on Our Hands, which holds the record for the
   to add or delete a name from the distribution
   list, ring the service Line (number above).
                                                    8 Sep 1981 to be precise, that Only Fools and       love to hear from any Prospero readers who        highest UK audience for a sitcom episode
   Prospero is provided free of charge to retired   Horses hit the UK’s TV screens, and went on         were involved in the show – either at the         (24.3 million viewers, over a third of the
   BBC employees. On request, we will also          to be one of the most popular and best loved        very beginning, or at any point during its        then UK population)? The show of course
   send it to spouses or dependants who want        comedy series ever.                                 long and successful life. Did anyone for          went on to win many awards, and was voted
   to keep in touch with the BBC. Prospero is          ‘In BBC History, we’ll be celebrating            example work on the 1996 episode, Time            Britain’s Best Sitcom in 2004.
   also available on audio disc for those with                                                                                                                ‘Insights into what it was like working
   sight impairment.                                                                                                                                      on the show, the personalities involved, as
       to register, please ring the service Line                                                                                                          well as any memories and anecdotes about
   on 029 2032 2811.                                                                                                                                      scrapes, crises, successes and glories, would
   bbC Club                                                                                                                                               all be much appreciated.
   the BBC Club in London has a retired                                                                                                                       ‘Coming up in October there’s the 50th
   category membership costing £30 a year                                                                                                                 anniversary of Songs of Praise where, likewise,
   for members and £39 a year for family                                                                                                                  we’d love to have any staff stories of working
   membership. Pre-1997 life members are                                                                                                                  on the show.
   not affected. Regional clubs may have                                                                                                                      ‘In November, it’s the big one: the 75th
   different arrangements.                                                                                                                                anniversary of the first ever continuous
       Please call BBC Club London
                                                                                                                                                          high-definition television service, when we’ll
   administration office on 020 8752 6666 or
   email                                                                                                                    be launching a range of partnerships and
                                                                                                                                                          celebration activity.
   benevolent fund                                                                                                                                            For further information on the
   this is funded by voluntary contributions                                                                                                              upcoming BBC History anniversary projects,
   from the BBC and its purpose is to protect
                                                                                                                                                          information on other history collaborations
   the welfare of staff, pensioners and their
   families. grants are made at the discretion
                                                                                                                                                          or recollections for the anniversaries,
   of the trustees. they may provide                  Only Fools and Horses, 1983 Picture shows Nicholas Lyndhurst as Rodney                              please get in touch with BBC History.
   assistance in cases of unforeseen financial        Trotter, David Jason as Derek Trotter and Lennard Pearce as Grandad                                 You can visit their website:
   hardship, for which help from other sources                                                                                                            historyofthebbc, or contact Robert Seatter at
   is not available. telephone: 029 2032 3772.                                                                                                  
   Prospero Society
   Prospero society is the only section of the

                                                    Ex-Radio Cleveland producer helps explode
   BBC Club run by and for retired BBC staff
   and their spouses. Its aim is to enable BBC
   pensioners to meet on a social basis for

                                                    myths about the origin of the Land Rover
   theatre visits, luncheons, coach outings etc.
   Prospero is supported by BBC Club funds
   so as to make events affordable.
      the only conditions (apart from paying
   a small annual subscription) are that you
   must be a BBC pensioner and a member of          graeme Aldous, one-time Producer/Presenter at BBC Radio Cleveland (now BBC tees), has
   the BBC Club. For an application form write      exposed as myths some of the folklore behind ‘the World’s Favourite 4x4’.
   to: graham snaith, 67 Newberries Avenue,
   Radlett, Herts WD7 7EL.
   telephone: 01923 855177                          All Land Rover enthusiasts ‘know’ that the          90) was invited back to the UK for a fortnight    from for £20,
   Mobile: 07736 169612                             vehicles were built of aluminium because            of celebratory events, including a visit to the   including postage worldwide. For more
   Email:                 there was a surplus of aircraft scrap after the     Solihull factory where his career started; the    information, contact Graeme Aldous at the
                                                    War, and they were painted green because of         recreation of some early publicity photos with    address(es) below.
   bbC products                                     a stockpile of cockpit paint. Graeme’s new          an appropriate 63-year-old Land Rover, and a
   BBC retired staff are entitled to a 30%          DVD shows that to be a myth.                        dinner in his honour.                             Teeafit Sound & Vision, South Lane Farm, Moorsholm,
   discount off the RRP of most products               Graeme, a freelance audio-visual producer           Realising this was a unique opportunity        SALTBURN,Yorkshire TS12 3JE 01287 660515
   in the BBC tV Centre shop. there is a
                                                    and Land Rover enthusiast, has produced             to document an important event, Graeme  
   postage charge of £2.95 per order
   (not per item). Pensioners must quote            the DVD ‘Stop Gap’, featuring the man who           arranged to shadow Arthur with his video
   their BBC pension number when ordering.          can be regarded as the ‘midwife’ of the Land        camera, and produce a DVD that allowed
   Contact: BBC shop, Audience Foyer,               Rover... Arthur Goddard. Arthur was the             enthusiasts worldwide to share in the visit.
   television Centre, Wood Lane, London             Land Rover Project Engineer back in 1947,           What he didn’t realise was that Arthur was
   W12 7RJ. telephone: 020 8225 8230                and as such was responsible for turning the         about to explode a number of pieces of
   Email:                        original ideas and drawings into a viable           Land Rover legend.
       Other ways to order (quoting your            vehicle. But in the late 50s (and before the
   pension number when ordering): By                history books came to be written) he moved          Myths exploded
   phone: 08700 777 001 8.30am-                     on to another company, eventually running           Arthur emphatically denied the main folklore
   6pm weekdays. By post: BBC shop,                 their operations in Australia. On the other         – he said that Land Rovers were aluminium
   PO Box 308, sittingbourne, Kent ME9 8LW.
                                                    side of the world, he got forgotten.                so that they wouldn’t rust, and the metal was
       Or visit BBC shops in Eastbourne,                                                                a new, special formula that had nothing to do
   Brighton, Leicester, Birmingham or               Land Rover reunion                                  with aircraft. Similarly, the light green was a
   Liverpool. uK postage £2.45 for telephone,       A couple of years ago, a chance meeting in          standard Rover car colour, which was already
   post and email orders. Overseas: £4.50 for       Brisbane with a young Land Rover enthusiast         set up in the paint guns. This and other,
   one item and £2 for each additional product      led to a conversation with another Australian       similar myths were exploded by the only
   for telephone, post and email orders.            enthusiast now living in Worcestershire. He         man still alive to tell the true story.
                                                    recognised the name ‘Arthur Goddard’ from              The ‘Stop Gap’ DVD is now already selling
   bbC Pa                                           research he’d done in the Land Rover archives.      to enthusiasts all around the world, and the
   For details of how to join the Pensioners’
   Association, see panel on page 5.
                                                    Realising that this was the only surviving          modern Land Rover company has requested
                                                    member of the original team, Arthur (now            a copy for its own archives. It’s available

  PROSPERO August 2011
                                                                                                                                                            LifE aftEr auNtiE                                 07
BBC Volunteer Visitor Scheme – an update
the BBC Volunteer Visiting scheme is a practical method for ‘keeping in touch’ with BBC pensioners.
the scheme operates throughout the united Kingdom. Visitors are BBC pensioners themselves. they
have an aptitude for forming friendly relationships with others. their activities are managed by the
Volunteer Visiting scheme Co-ordinator from the Pension and Benefits Centre in Cardiff.
                                                                                                                                                             MonEy MATTERS
                                                                                                       lunches a year, one in the summer and one at          IHT: is it time to
                                                                                                       Christmas time.
                                                                                                          ‘It is really popular and now people
                                                                                                       attending have become old friends. It has
                                                                                                                                                             give a little?
                                                                                                                                                             The Budget announced one helpful
                                                                                                       also reunited old colleagues who worked in
                                                                                                                                                             future change, but more radical reform
                                                                                                       the same departments and it is very good for
                                                                                                                                                             could be on the horizon.
                                                                                                       some people who don’t get out very much.
                                                                                                                                                             By Arnie Vashisht, Independent Financial
                                                                                                       Although the BBC was the introduction to
                                                                                                                                                             Adviser, AWD Chase de Vere
                                                                                                       my visits we now just have a cuppa and
                                                                                                                                                                 Before last year’s election there was
                                                                                                       a chat about just about everything. I have
                                                                                                                                                             talk that the inheritance tax (IHt) nil rate
                                                                                                       heard some fascinating stories and enjoy
                                                                                                                                                             band would be raised to £1 million. During
                                                                                                       meeting people.’
                                                                                                                                                             the election campaign this idea gradually
                                                                                                          Maureen is the lady standing in the centre
                                                                                                                                                             moved into the hinterland of ‘aspirational’
                                                                                                       of the photo (below) with the turquoise
                                                                                                                                                             policies. After the election, the formation of
                                                                                                       top and glasses. The other attendees are
                                                                                                                                                             the Coalition government meant that the
                                                                                                       as follows. Left to right front row: Audrey
                                                                                                                                                             £1 million goal was abandoned: increasing
                                                                                                       Flay, widow of Frederick Flay who was a
                                                                                                                                                             the personal income tax allowance was
                                                                                                       scenery supervisor at TV Centre, Bill Isaacs
                                                                                                                                                             given priority over reducing the impact of
                                                                                                       – communications engineer based in Bristol
                                                                                                                                                             IHt. the June 2010 ‘emergency’ Budget
                                                                                                       who worked all over the country, Megan
                                                                                                                                                             confirmed that Alistair Darling’s planned
Each visitor is allocated a convenient               Kent                                              Isaacs his wife, Carol Nicolson – Production
                                                                                                                                                             freeze of the nil rate band at £325,000 until
geographical area covering an agreed number          Maureen O’Halloran is the Volunteer Visitor       assistant on Radio 2 and world service, carer
                                                                                                                                                             at least April 2015 would be implemented.
of pensioners. Visitors undertake to visit           for the Kent area and is responsible for co-      Zinta, Donald Holmes – World Service &
                                                                                                                                                                 the 2011 Budget contained a statement
each of their pensioners twice a year. Some          ordinating visits and get-togethers there. She    CBC broadcaster (he covered the royal tour
                                                                                                                                                             which seemed to offer some easing of the
visitors organise get-togethers which take           writes about a recent event held in July: ‘A      of Canada in 1953) and Donald’s other
                                                                                                                                                             IHt burden. However, once the details
place locally to them. Different areas have          hugely successful summer lunch was held           carer, Ramona.
                                                                                                                                                             emerged it became apparent that this easing
different volunteer visitors. We have details        on 7 July at the Marine hotel in Whitstable.          Standing: Gordon Traynor - husband of
                                                                                                                                                             was not as generous as it had seemed. What
below of two recent events organised by the          There were 17 attendees and people from           Rosemary, Sally Kimber – Station assistant,
                                                                                                                                                             has been proposed is that for wills coming
Volunteer Visiting Scheme.                           other areas were there too – some from            radio Medway which became Radio Kent
                                                                                                                                                             into effect from 6 April 2012, the rate of IHt
                                                     Dartford and Hertfordshire. There were three      (she is also the Visitor for the Dartford area
                                                                                                                                                             will be reduced to 36%, provided at least
Truro                                                absentees due to ill health and bereavement       but comes to our lunches as her old boss
                                                                                                                                                             10% of the taxable estate is left to charity.
Judith Cook is the Volunteer Visitor in the          who always attend – Jack Hollands, Harold         Harold Rogers usually attends) Maureen,
                                                                                                                                                                 this is good news if you are already
Mid Cornwall area, and she has sent in a             Rogers and Matilda Dourant.’                      carer Bridgitte, Barbara Jones, widow of
                                                                                                                                                             intending to make substantial charitable
picture (above) of a recent get-together, held          Maureen has also given us some details         John Jones – Scenic operative BBCTV, Audrey
                                                                                                                                                             donations in your will. If you are now close
in May at the Cathedral Cafe in Truro. Judith        of her background, her work as a Volunteer        Flay’s daughter, Joan Coburn-Moon, Widow
                                                                                                                                                             to the 10% threshold, it could even pay
is also planning to do something similar             Visitor and a guide to who’s who in the           of Anthony Coburn- Producer at BBC TV
                                                                                                                                                             your beneficiaries for you to increase your
later in the year and would love to hear from        Whitstable photo. ‘I worked at BBC Radio          Centre, Rosemary Traynor – PA in the History
                                                                                                                                                             charitable bequests, once the legislation
other interested pensioners who couldn’t             Guernsey as an MA/Head of Music/producer          and Archive Dept at Elstree, Mike Lucas - HR
                                                                                                                                                             takes effect. However, if your sole aim is
make it in May.                                      of Children in Need’ she says. ‘We moved to the   and Development Manager BBC Medway
                                                                                                                                                             to maximise what your beneficiaries will
     Judith has also sent in details of the people   UK nine years ago when I retired to be near       and London and South East.
                                                                                                                                                             receive, the concession is of no use.
in the picture, which might stir up recollections    our children. I then did a brief stint at BBC        ‘As you will see’, concludes Maureen,
                                                                                                                                                                 the charitable gift rate reduction may
in some of our readers. On the left of the           Radio Kent helping my Guernsey boss Robert        ‘there are carers who accompany people
                                                                                                                                                             not be the only revision to IHt in the next
picture at the front is Thelma Rowlands, former      Wallace who then had moved to Kent. (He           enabling them to come. Donald Holmes in
                                                                                                                                                             few years. the Office of tax simplification
BBC Visitor. Thelma joined the BBC Valve Section     has now gone back to Guernsey!)                   fact brings his three ladies with him each
                                                                                                                                                             (Ots), set up by george Osborne, was
at Motspur Park in 1969 and retired as head of          ‘As a Volunteer Visitor, I visit 20-25         time and it’s an opportunity for him to give
                                                                                                                                                             critical of the current IHt regime. the
data processing in 1982. Her husband Geoff           people (numbers do fluctuate for various          them a nice meal together. He is almost
                                                                                                                                                             Ots pointed out that the £3,000 annual
Rowlands (who set up the photo) is across            reasons) twice a year in the Thanet area          blind and lives alone and they really are
                                                                                                                                                             exemption had not been increased since
the table from her, at the bottom right. Geoff       of Kent (Ramsgate, Margate, Herne Bay,            amazing people.’
                                                                                                                                                             1981, nor had the exemptions for gifts on
retired from the BBC in 1992 but continues           Whitstable and also the City of Canterbury
                                                                                                                                                             marriage changed since 1975.
to use his BBC expertise in looking after a TV       and surrounding villages – quite a big
                                                                                                                                                                 Rather than proposing these exemptions
‘studio’ system in Truro cathedral.                  pitch). A few years ago I decided to hold a       If you would like a visit or information on how to
                                                                                                                                                             be uprated, the Ots suggested that it
    On Geoff’s right is Ann Keith. Ann started       lunch during the summer months and it has         become a Volunteer Visitor, please ring 0845 712
                                                                                                                                                             would be better ‘to consider the scope and
at the BBC in 1963 at the Langham, working           snowballed since then – we now have two           5529. You will be charged only as a local call.
                                                                                                                                                             operation of inheritance tax with reference
in Finance in the post room. She also worked
                                                                                                                                                             to the original and desired policy rationale’.
at Henry Wood House, Duchess Street,
                                                                                                                                                             the Ots’s conclusion was that IHt ‘is a tax
16 Langham Street, Brock House and BH.
                                                                                                                                                             that needs a ‘top down’ review’.
On her right is Judy Andrews, who worked
                                                                                                                                                                 For expert assistance with inheritance
for the BBC from 1973 – 2005, firstly as a PA
                                                                                                                                                             tax planning aspects, call AWD Chase
with Current Affairs and Science in London
                                                                                                                                                             de Vere on 0845 140 4014. Your initial
and then as a Production Manager in Bristol.
                                                                                                                                                             discussion with an adviser will be without
    Judith herself sits in the middle of the
                                                                                                                                                             charge or obligation.
picture (counting out the money!) Judith
                                                                                                                                                                 the value of tax reliefs depends on
recently attended BBC Radio Lancashire
                                                                                                                                                             your individual circumstances. tax laws
(as Blackburn became) 40th anniversary
                                                                                                                                                             can change. the FsA does not regulate
celebrations and retired from full-time work
                                                                                                                                                             will writing, tax advice and some forms of
in December 2010. On her right is Barbara
                                                                                                                                                             inheritance tax planning.
Martin, who joined the BBC as a shorthand
                                                                                                                                                                 Arnie is an independent financial adviser
typist in October 1945.
                                                                                                                                                             with AWD Chase de Vere. AWD Chase
    The last member of the group is
                                                                                                                                                             de Vere is one of a panel of independent
Evelyn Knight. Evelyn was married to Tom
                                                                                                                                                             financial advisers selected by the BBC. AWD
Knight, who joined the BBC in 1956 as a
                                                                                                                                                             Chase de Vere Limited is authorised and
Probationary Technician, working mostly at
                                                                                                                                                             regulated by the Financial services Authority.
Ealing Film Studios.

                                                                                                                                                                              PROSPERO August 2011
08 baCk at thE bbC
                   020 8752 6666
                                                    Cut more managers, says Patten
                                                    The chairman of the BBC Trust has called for       which are central to the BBC’s future,
                                                    senior management numbers to be cut to             including programme sales and distribution,
                                                    around one percent of the total workforce by       the international iPlayer and,
                                                    2015, which at current staffing levels would       he concluded, ‘We will not be willing to
                                                    leave the corporation with some 200 senior         consider any proposals for privatisation of
                                                    posts. Lord Patten set the target in a recent      any of these core elements.’
   Lottery Winners                                  wide-ranging speech to the Royal Television           And he’s asked the DG to see if Worldwide
   Congratulations to June’s lucky winners;         Society. He set out his vision for the BBC as it   can work with the UK’s commercial
   Patrick Mcsweeney, Katie Pollard, stuart         adjusts to a future of restricted income, and it   broadcasters to sell a wide range of UK
   Richardson, sophie Mostyn, Antony                is a leaner, simpler organisation of fewer, less   programming abroad.
   Jolliffe, Katie Hile, Rose Howell, tim           well paid managers he has in mind.                    The chairman also announced that the
   Chisholm, Peter Wise, Mary Manning,                  ‘There are still too many senior managers’,    BBC will have a Chief Complaints Editor,
   Clive Doig, Melanie Webb, terance Peters,        he said. He’s asked the Director General to        reporting directly to the DG. He or she will
   Helen O’ Donnell and J Higgs.                    review both senior pay and senior posts,           be responsible for simplifying and speeding
      to be in with a chance of winning next        saying he wants ‘to create a smaller group         up the complaints process which was
   month – email           of people more clearly accountable for             recently described as ‘convoluted and overly
   or log on to your account on the BBC             spending the licence fee. That means further       complicated’ by a House of Lords committee.
   Club website.                                    reductions and it will also mean a re-drawing
                                                    of the boundaries around who is and is not a       More important issues
   Club West one                                    senior manager.’                                   than pay
   Club West One will be closing in August/                                                            ‘What the BBC pays its stars will become a            Lord Patten
   september for a refurbishment. the dates         How it will happen                                 ‘non issue’ if the corporation keeps a tight
   are to be finalised but as soon as we            In 2009 there were 640 senior management           rein on its talent pay bill’, says Lord Patten.     BBC continues to stop short of identifying
   know, you will too!                              posts in the BBC. That figure will have            Addressing journalists at a press conference        its highest earning stars – those in the £500k
                                                    reduced to 512 by the end of this year, but        to launch the BBC annual report, the Trust          and above bracket, whose numbers are
   fly to Paris                                     the BBC says it can’t estimate the 2015 figure     chairman also reiterated that he wants the          aggregated in the annual report, showing
   Ariel Flying group fly out to Paris.             because the corporation’s size and shape will      ‘toxic’ issue of executive pay dealt with as        19 in that band in 2010/11 as opposed to
   AFg pilots and students will be flying           be different, due to DQF and the out-of-           quickly as possible, because there were more        21 the year before.
   themselves to Paris for the bank holiday         London programme.                                  important things to focus on.                           Patten was ‘totally in favour’ of the holding
   weekend, 27-29 August.                           Senior Manager Numbers:                               ‘The accuracy of our journalism is               back, ‘There is a difference between public
      For information on how you could
                                                    •	 August	2009	–	640                               endlessly more important than executive             accountability and prurience’, he said. There
                                                    •	 July	2011	–	534                                 pay, which is why I want to get it out of the       was natural concern about BBC pay as a
   learn to fly with the BBC Club, contact
                                                    •	 2015	–	1%	of	workforce                          way now’, Patten said. He was speaking as           whole, but recent pay settlements had been
   Chris Poole, 0303 040 9592.
                                                       The BBC intends to achieve the reductions       the Trust published its executive and senior        below public sector and media sector levels,
                                                    through a review of the grading structure          manager pay strategy for the next four years,       and there was no doubt that executive pay
   10% discount on Cottages4you
                                                    and post closures as a result of DQF changes       putting more detail on the aims set out in the      had come down.
   cottages4you offer the largest choice of
                                                    and the end of strategic projects. It estimates    chairman’s RTS lecture last week.                       ‘Talent pay is more complicated’, Patten
   over 15,000 holiday properties throughout
                                                    a third of the reductions will come from post                                                          said. ‘It is absolutely right that we bear down
   the uK, Ireland, France, spain, Portugal         closures and the greater part from regrading.      ‘Tidy up’ grading structure                         [on it] but the question arises as to whether
   and Italy. Choose from the extensive                                                                Under the plan the BBC will:                        we should be as open about presenter pay
   collection of country cottages, villas with      Capping pay differences                            •	 reduce	numbers	of	senior	managers	to	            as you would about a director of finance.’
   pools, rustic farmhouses, rural gites and        Alongside that sweeping reduction, Lord                around 200 (1% of total workforce) from         The National Audit Office should have that
   apartments.                                      Patten also committed the BBC to being the             just over 500;                                  information, he argued, but it was ‘not a
      Holiday cottages and villas are a popular     first UK organisation to introduce a public        •	 depending	on	DQF	and	completion	of	              fundamental human right’ to have access
   and flexible holiday choice – ideal for family   ‘pay multiple comparison’, so that people              projects like Salford and W1, make a third      to BBC celebrity earnings. There were legal,
   holidays, weekends away, romantic breaks         can see how the pay of those at the top of             of those cuts in the next two years, a third    data protection and contractual reasons not
   and get-togethers with friends. Cottage          the organisation compares to that of the rank          by 2013 and the remaining third by 2015;        to disclose, as well as the danger of driving
   facilities include open fires, enclosed          and file. ‘This action on pay is important’,       •	 ‘tidy	up’	the	grading	structure	to	clarify	      the best talent away and inflating the talent
   gardens, hot tubs, four-poster beds, a pub       explained Lord Patten, ‘because the BBC                who are the senior leaders;                     market.
   close by, walking from the door, pet friendly    must do right by the licence fee payers who        •	 pay	SMs	in	strictly	‘public	service	roles’	
   cottages and lots more.                          pick up the bill and by all the staff that work        less than those more likely to be in            Fewer staff
      Login to Club save for details https://       throughout the organisation at every level.’           demand in the commercial sector;                ‘But this will pretty much be a non-issue                             Lord Patten continued, ‘We will do this        •		 cut	the	SM	pay	bill	by	a	further	£9m	by	        if we can demonstrate that overall, the
                                                    by comparing the median pay of Executive               2015, on top of the 25% reduction due to        figures are under control’, Patten said. The
   Phoenix Leisure Centre and Janet                 Board members to median pay within the                 be met by the end of 2011;                      total talent bill is down a further £9m on
   adegoke Swimming Pool                            BBC.’ Median pay is the mid-point, not the         •		 cap	the	median	executive	director	salary	       2009/10, but over the last two years, the
   Exclusive membership for BBC Club                average. The current median pay of BBC staff           at no more than nine times that of the          total had come down by £25m, which with
   members. swim only membership £19.95             is £39,668. The executive level median is              median BBC wage (Mark Thompson’s                inflation, was more like £50m, claimed Bal
   or swim and gym membership £27.95.               £352,900, making the multiple of one to                salary of £671 is 17 times the current          Samra, director of rights and business affairs.
   £11.60 per hour for table tennis and
                                                    the other 9. That ratio will be the cap on the         BBC median);                                       The annual report records BBC headcount
                                                    multiple. Lord Patten explained, ‘Although         •		 remove	private	health	care	benefits	for	        up by four to 17,242, but once the
                                                    the BBC must continue to strive to attract             all new executive directors and SMs from        organisation had completed the moves to
      £29 per hour for hall hire. t&C’s apply.
                                                    and retain outstanding candidates for senior           August 1 and equalise benefits for all staff,   Salford, W1 and fully implemented Fabric,
   Please enquire at the centre. Facility is
                                                    posts, the Trust’s intention is that over time,        with an improved health care offer by           there would be ‘significant provision
   operated by gLL. Bloemfontein Road,
                                                    this multiple will fall.’                              next year;                                      for reducing staff numbers, and they
   W12 7DB                                              Furthermore he hopes to recruit the next       •		 continue	the	BBC	discount	for	senior	pay	–	     will continue to fall over coming years’,
      Join at the centre and show your BBC          Director General at a lower multiple than              at exec board level, a discount for between     Thompson said.
   Club card.                                       that applying to Mark Thompson’s present               50% and 80%.                                       Overall, he was ‘very proud’ of the
                                                    remuneration which, at £613,000, is 17                 Reduction in SM numbers would not               organisation’s achievements over a year when
   Live ticket – Powered by                         times the BBC median.                              simply be people leaving the organisation,          97% of people in the UK used its services
   ticketmaster                                                                                        Mark Thompson said, ‘As we reduce                   every week and the time people spent with
   Fantastic savings on events at 20 Live           ‘No sense’ to sell Worldwide                       [management] layers and simplify, there will        the BBC was up to 19 hours a week.
   Nation theatres nationwide, including 3 in       Top level jobs and pay were not the only           be clarification of who is a senior manager            ‘In a very eventful year off air – including
   the West End!                                    news in the speech. Lord Patten also laid          and who isn’t.’                                     the radical reform of the pensions – it would
      At participating Live Nation theatres.        down a marker for the future of BBC                                                                    have been easy to have been distracted’,
   Follow the link below for full details.          Worldwide, saying, ‘It makes no sense to           Prurience                                           he said, ‘but instead the BBC had delivered
      Login to Club save for details https://       sell Worldwide.’ Explaining the Trust’s view       The chairman and director general inevitably        content of the quality of Sherlock, Brian Cox                         that there are a core of commercial services       faced questions on talent pay and why the           on science and ‘the best ever Proms’.

  PROSPERO August 2011
                                                                                                                                                      baCk at thE bbC                                     09
Pay bill cut, even before                                                                            BBC launches Audio
Patten pledge                                                                                        Research Partnership
As Lord Patten places cuts to senior BBC          Executive pay is discounted                        The BBC has launched a research partnership      big step beyond 5.1 surround sound. This
pay squarely centre stage, the annual report      by an average of 58%                               with five UK universities that will focus        allows sounds to come from above and
reveals a four percent drop in the 2010/11        The 2009 executive remuneration review             on areas such as spatial audio and speech        below, providing a truly immersive audio
talent bill.                                      recommended that executive pay was                 recognition. BBC Research & Development          experience. We will look at how to make this
    Heavily trailed in the press, the figures     frozen for four years and bonuses removed          will work with the University of Surrey in       practical, both in a typical living room, and
show that spend on BBC presenters, artists,       indefinitely, senior manager pay frozen and        the audio-visual field and the University        also through headphones.’
actors and journalists is down by almost £9m      bonuses waived for two years and executive         of Salford on acoustics. They will also
to £212.5m, with more than 8,000 fewer            salaries discounted by between 50-80%              collaborate on wide-ranging audio                Strategic importance
individuals and organisations hired than in       of commercial market rates. Benchmarked            research with the universities of York and       The partnership was launched recently at
the previous year.                                against the commercial sector, executive           Southampton and Queen Mary University            MediaCityUK in Salford, where Tim Davie,
    As expected, the number of individuals,       pay is now discounted by an average of             of London.                                       director of BBC Audio & Music, described it
as well as companies or organisations             58%, reports Marcus Agius. Payments to the             The initiative will run for at least five    as ‘another step towards more innovation in
earning more than £500k (and up to £5m)           slimmed down executive board have also             years and benefits will be shared across the     radio’. Samantha Chadwick, who manages
has been aggregated to protect individuals’       been affected. From 1 April all members have       industry to boost innovations such as the        R&D Partnerships, said: ‘It provides us with
confidentiality in such a small pool of top       agreed to removal of pension supplements.          online Radio Player and HD audio. Graham         a more structured framework for working
stars. In 2010/11 there were 19 in this                                                              Thomas, who leads BBC R&D’s Production           with world-leading universities, in an area
category, two fewer than in 2009/10.                            March 31 2010        May 1 2011      Magic section, said: ‘One area we are looking    of strategic importance to the BBC and to
    The bill for the £500k-plus earners still     Mark Thompson         £838k             £671k      at is spatial audio, which could be the next     our audiences.’
came to £22m, with £14.6m spent on an             Tim Davie             £452k             £380k
undisclosed number of talent fees in the          Zarin Patel           £434k             £365k
£1m to £5m bracket – a saving of £2.3m.           Helen Boaden*                           £354k
The BBC also saved a sizeable £3.5m in the        Caroline Thomson      £419k             £350k
£50k – £100k band due to 56 fewer hirings         Ralph Rivera*                           £308k
and £2.9m at the £150k – £250k level,             George Entwistle*                       £285k
where there were 14 fewer on the talent           *New members.
payroll. It’s a trend that is in line with the
strategic aim to ‘reduce rates paid, develop      Other executive directors have forgone an
new talent and work existing talent harder,       additional month’s salary in 2011/2012,
as appropriate’, says COO Caroline Thomson        which, for instance, brings Mark Thompson’s
in her review of how the BBC is managing          pay down to £615,000. New Vision director
its business.                                     George Entwistle’s salary package of
    In the year that the BBC lost its One Show    £285,000 is 40% less than his predecessor
hosts Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley to     Jana Bennett earned, and almost £100k less
ITV, Thomson notes, ‘A resurgent commercial       than that of his counterpart in radio, Tim
market has seen the departure of several          Davie - appointed just three years ago.
high-profile individuals to other broadcasters,      It was a year that saw the executive board
making further reductions challenging.’           trimmed to seven, as well as reduced salaries
                                                  for new board members and the removal of
Talent costs – but not as                         pension supplements (from April 2011) so
much as it did                                    that, on paper at least, the executive director
Talent spend over £500k, with numbers of          paybill is down 43%.
individuals aggregated:
                                                  In numbers: senior managers                          John Holmes receives his honorary degree
Pay Band   2009/10 2010/11               Cuts     Senior manager numbers are down by 74 on
£500k-£750k £6.17m £4.08m              £2.1m      last year, to 540, with 60 fewer in the £70,000

                                                                                                     BBC staff presenter receives
£750k-£1m   £2.75m £3.31m              £0.5m      – £130,000 pay bracket. Numbers earning
£1m-£5m     £16.9m £14.6m              £2.3m      more than £100,000 dropped by 44 to 269.
                                                  Those earning £250,000 and above remained
Marcus Agius, chairman of the Executive
Remuneration Committee, adds, ‘The reality
of meeting stretching targets, within a short
                                                  static at a total of nine, the review shows.
                                                     Aside of the Patten’s plan to radically scale
                                                  down SM numbers, the organisation is on
                                                                                                     honorary degree
timeframe, coupled with the necessity of          target to reduce senior manager pay by 25%         John Holmes, Nottingham-based TV and             History Unit, he also worked on Any Questions
competing head on with highly commercial          by the end of the year with a reduction to         radio presenter, received the honorary           alongside Jonathan Dimbleby, launching Any
competitors to attract and retain the very        the paybill of £20m on August 2009 levels.         degree of Doctor of Letters at the University    Answers as a phone-in. His TV work began on
best talent, will be an ongoing challenge         The total spend has already dropped by             of Nottingham on Friday 15 July. John            Look! Hear! a youth show with Toyah Wilcox
for the BBC.’                                     £14.4m in less than two years.                     was awarded the degree for services to           which promoted new bands, among them
                                                                                                     broadcasting and the local community.            The Specials, Dexy’s Midnight Runners

Members of BBC Trust submit fewer                                                                       John has been with the BBC for over
                                                                                                     40 years and began his career at Broadcasting
                                                                                                                                                      and Black Sabbath. John also presented one
                                                                                                                                                      of the BBC’s first consumer series, BBC2’s
claims for expenses                                                                                  House in London, working alongside
                                                                                                     household names like Sam Costa, Victor
                                                                                                                                                      Inside Information, and hosted many shows
                                                                                                                                                      for Midlands TV.
Expenses claimed by members of the                   The Trust explains that Lyons’s salary of       Sylvester, Humphrey Lyttelton and Status             Now back in Nottingham, John is about to
BBC Trust between October 2010 and                £142,800 for three or four days’ work a week       Quo. He also did a spell in Birmingham on        start filming another of his popular walking
March 2011 were 34% down on the same              was reduced last September to £130,950, as         spot effects for The Archers. He was fortunate   series Holmes and Away for East Midlands Today.
period last year.                                 part of a voluntary pay cut. When Lord Patten      to find himself at BBC Radio Nottingham as       This is series nine, and is called Innovators –
   In total, the trustees claimed £39,364,35      took over on May 1 the chairman’s fee was          a sports reporter during a great period for      their story and their legacy. He has his own show
over the autumn, winter and early spring,         further pegged back to £110,000.                   local sport in the late 70s when Nottingham      every Sunday morning, 9 til noon, on BBC
compared to £59,956 between October 2009                                                             Forest were winning European Cups under          Radio Nottingham. Favourite interviewees
and March 2010. These figures show that the       No car or driver                                   Brian Clough, Clive Rice and Richard Hadlee      have included Joan Collins, the Duke and
largest claimant was Sir Michael Lyons, whose     Under the terms of his appointment, Patten         were playing for Nottinghamshire Cricket         Duchess of Devonshire, Alan Sillitoe and
term as chairman finished on April 2011.          is not eligible to receive a BBC pension, life     Club and Torvil And Dean were conquering         Sir Anthony Sher.
His expenses amounted to £11,566.73 for           assurance or medical insurance and has opted       the world with their ice dancing.                    Away from work, John’s been married
the final months of his tenure, compared to       not to have a car and driver. The expenses and        John also worked in Bristol, producing        to Kate for 42 years and his three children
£16,043 for October 09 – March 2010. The          hospitality details are published by the Trust     Down Your Way with presenters/interviewees       have so far produced five granddaughters.
second highest set of expenses was submitted      every six months as part of its commitment         such as Nigel Hawthorne, Spike Milligan          He’s also a founder and Chairman of the skin
by Alison Hastings (£6,161.29 against a           to openness and transparency, demonstrating        and Margaret Thatcher. As well as a satisfying   cancer charity, SKCIN and patron of the child
previous figure of £7,105).                       how licence fee payers’ money is spent.            spell working in the world famous Natural        adoption charity, Family Care.

                                                                                                                                                                        PROSPERO August 2011
10 mEmoriES
  Memories of the Engineering Training Centre                                                                                                               so I devised a television studio exercise with
                                                                                                                                                            three sound mixing points. If done four
                                                                                                                                                            times, all 12 students got to do some critical
  Colin Pierpoint, who worked at the Engineering training Centre in Wood Norton, has sent                                                                   sound mixing. However, others thought I was
                                                                                                                                                            just trying to make a television programme,
  in these reminiscences of the institution.                                                                                                                but it was meant to be a training exercise to
                                                                                                                                                            set and control the foldback levels. I never
                                                                                  OB vehicle ‘village’     me after I had also retired and 20 years after   achieved the objectives before the course
                                                                                  operating several VT     their course, were very complementary about      duration was cut by the accountants, so they
                                                                                  machines at once.        me as Course Manager.                            had neither!
                                                                                                              ‘For a year I acted as Senior Lecturer and       ‘After a course had left I would go back
                                                                                  New                      as Duty Lecturer was responsible for solving     into the empty classroom. In my mind’s eye
                                                                                  technology               the clashes on the duty sheet. With 6 or 8       I could see them all, and hear the laughs and
                                                                                    ‘When ENG came         courses running simultaneously, 11 radio         the enjoyment. It brings a tear to my real eye
                                                                                    in, we had to          studios, a television studio and edit suites,    now, typing this.
                                                                                    retrain film camera    not to mention classrooms, this was quite
                                                                                    operators in new       a challenge. Resources were tight, so I used     Presenting duties
                                                                                    technology. I was      to go round to check that what had been          ‘In television studio exercises I was often the
                                                                                    then talking to        booked was actually in use.                      presenter, and I learnt how to let a telecine
                                                                                    some of the most                                                        run up crash in the rehearsal, but to save
                                                                                    experienced and        Programme exercises                              them in the recording. (I believe it is easier
                                                                                    senior cameramen       ‘There were programme exercises for some         now with short runs from still frame – then
   As Course Manager with my                                                        in the country. One    courses. In the early days they were told        we had 10 second run up on leaders.) My
   Studio Managers Course in 1990                                                   of them appeared       to plan it all. I was never happy with this      experience in front of camera led to a video
                                                                                    on television that     because in the Radio network exercise,           recording to replace the old lecture session
  ‘I first worked at the Engineering Training            evening to collect a top news award! Here my      an announcer would say ‘now over to the          ‘Camera to Aerial’ which had been on
  Centre on attachment in 1970. It was a time            experience on Radio OBs and Radiolinks gave       OB on the lawn’. This was followed by a          slides. I wrote, directed and presented this,
  when we were setting up the A course and I             us something in common, but I also learnt a       few words of description of the lawn, and        which followed the signal from a camera in
  worked on part 1, common to all technical              lot from them.                                    ‘back to the studio.’ It left no time for a      Lime Grove to half way up the transmitter
  and operational categories of new staff. I had             ‘I was asked to set up the Resource           pre-transmission test for the next source,       mast at Sutton Coldfield. It helped to have
  to plan each lecture I gave, and much of my            Centre for students to use in the evening.        which then invariably failed. Over time we       worked in Comms in Birmingham and had
  material was still in the files when I returned        It contained audio-visual and video replay,       built up a stock of programmes and could         the knowledge and contacts, but we went
  in 1975. This time I was often the Course              and early desktop computers, so I wrote           run a week’s network on TO or SM courses.        all over London in blocks of 20 minutes
  Manager, around A course number 35, and                the first interactive programs to be used         While working for a talking newspaper, I         following the signal. The recording was later
  I found that I could build up a repertoire             at Wood Norton. Ironically a well known           had recorded a feature called ‘Cropthorne        used for recruitment.
  of routines which would go well. I often               company later gave a demonstration of             Walkabout’ about the village open day. I still       ‘Relationships were never a problem
  particularly enjoyed demonstrations with a             their interactive system, which crashed           had the insert tapes and links which could be    with students, and I loved being in front
  Tommy Cooper impersonation, my speciality              completely if you entered your answer before      used for a students’ programme, impressing       of them getting a smile. Of course, there
  was lighting a 5 foot fluorescent tube on the          being told ‘select your answer now’. Mine         a manager from London who said it was a          was also serious teaching, but my aim was
  bench with only croc clip leads (to illustrate                                                                                                            to keep them interested – a bored student
  transformer turns ratio). Fundamental                                                                                                                     remembers very little. It was quite interesting
  principles in A part 1 leant itself to demos           “After a course had left I would go back into                                                      to watch how people learn. On two
  which were real fun. At this time I also began                                                                                                            occasions a group of my students came to
  to see the deep appreciation of students               the empty classroom. In my mind’s eye I could                                                      me and said ‘we didn’t understand a word
  whom I had helped. Anyone who asked for                                                                                                                   of the last lecture’ so I would go over the
  extra help got it.                                     see them all, and hear the laughs and the                                                          subject again in their lunch break. Lunch

  Permanent post                                         enjoyment. It brings a tear to my real eye now.”                                                   breaks were often taken up with extra
                                                                                                                                                            material; the playback of Aki Kyubiama,
  ‘In 1980 I got a permanent post as a lecturer.                                                                                                            a sort of surround sound stereo recording
  In a class of 30 you can get some good                 didn’t, although it was difficult preventing      very good exercise (it caught out many tape      was always popular.
  exchanges with the students. When I told               students from changing the program. A             operators because there were three reels
  one group that I had accidentally sent +24             contact in Birmingham suggested a way to          running at once, and they had to decide          Many happy memories
  decibels to the long wave transmitter at               make a program listing give a decoy, the real     which one to stop!). The students called it      ‘IRO 89/1 was a special course. They wanted
  Droitwich, one of them asked ‘Is that why              program not being visible on the screen.          the ‘Cropthorne Massacre’, because so many       to cook pancakes on Shrove Tuesday, but
  you are here?’ You have also to go along with             Years later, after a reorganisation, the       fell by the wayside!                             BBC ETD could not provide anywhere due
  the spirit of the group you are teaching or            Resource Centre was closed down.                     ‘I am not saying there were no problems;      to Health and Safety (ugh!). So I invited
  you loose their respect. As I was coming to                                                              I was the lecturer in charge of the Audio        them all round to my house and they did the
  the end of what I thought was a really good            Senior lecturer                                   Qualifying courses which traditionally           cooking (and washed up!). In my home was
  technical explanation, one of the women said           ‘I was known by so many whom I had                ended with a television programme devised        some sound equipment which I designed
  ‘How old are you?’ Of course the whole class           trained that it was nice being recognised at      by them. I felt that this allowed some to sit    and built. It worked by remote control
  laughed, and I had to answer.                          TC or BH within minutes of entering the           in the background, and others to take on a       from any room, and as Studio Managers
     ‘If they had enthusiasm for the subject, I          building. I used to time it; my longest was       lot of work (which often needed a refill of      they were keen to know all about it. I still
  would give extra help to students. One was             five minutes before someone said hello and        energy in the club afterwards!). This gave       Have the memo saying ‘…the trainees were
  later the camera operator for the shot of              asked how I was. In fact, a close friend and      an unequal experience for audio assistants       unanimous in their praise for your help
  Princess Diana arriving at Westminster Abbey           colleague was surprised at a BBC retirement       on the course, after all, there could only be    and commitment in making their time at
  on her wedding day. I met another in the               party by just how many people still knew          one Sound Supervisor for the programme,          Wood Norton worthwhile and enjoyable.’
                                                                                                                                                            It was appreciation like that which made
                                                                                                                                                            my time at Wood Norton worthwhile and
                                                                                                                                                            enjoyable as well.
                                                                                                                                                               ‘As we all know, the redundancies
                                                                                                                                                            came along. I was spared the first round
                                                                                                                                                            and did a year as an Engineering Section
                                                                                                                                                            Lecturer. When I went, I was 50, and I never
                                                                                                                                                            wanted to be conspicuously in training for
                                                                                                                                                            too long. The job had changed and so had the
                                                                                                                                                            BBC. There are many happy memories to
                                                                                                                                                            recall, and I still hear the voices, like ‘How
                                                                                                                                                            old are you?’ I hope not too many of my
                                                                                                                                                            former students are reading this in Prospero,
                                                                                                                                                            because that will mean that their career came
                                                                                  The Main Building of the Engineering Training centre,                     to a premature end like mine, but if any
   ‘Tech Ops Q course with lecturers Jill Diver and Alan Tutton’ note the         Wood Norton, which contains classrooms, sound control                     would like to get in touch I am on
   telegraph pole, used to illustrated OB lines (before ISDN!)                    rooms and studios, laboratories and admin offices               

  PROSPERO August 2011
                                                                                                                                                                      obituariES                         11
‘She was like a second                             a junior capacity but as a result of her hard
                                                   work, talent and enthusiasm she moved up
                                                                                                       rewarding of Weeks’ productions but he
                                                                                                       went on from there to be responsible
                                                                                                                                                        Neil. Ron went on to become the founder
                                                                                                                                                        Editor of the BBC Six O’Clock News and he
mother to me’                                      the hierarchy until she became programme            for 15 FA Cup Finals, nine Summer and            brought about a new change in TV News
                              Alannah Hensler,     organiser for all Italian broadcasts. She retired   Winter Olympic Games, eight World Cup            by appointing Roy as the Head of TV News
                              who died in          in 1982 and lived in North West London. She         tournaments and countless other outside          and Current Affairs Resources, replacing
                              April at the age     was unmarried.                                      broadcasts. His main aim as a producer was       Henry Tanner.
                              of 65, gave 40       Leon R Nahon                                        to give the viewer at home the best seat in          After John Birt set up the News and
                              years service to                                                         the grandstand. It sounds obvious, but Weeks     Current affairs directorate, Roy’s first task
                              the Corporation,     Pioneer of outside                                  made it happen by knowing in advance what
                                                                                                       he wanted and giving clear instructions on
                                                                                                                                                        was to merge Lime Grove TPC operation and
                                                                                                                                                        TV News Resources into one, which he did
                              working for
                              the most part        sports broadcasts                                   how it was to be achieved.                       with utmost skill. He was adept at getting
                              as a copyright                                    More than 32               It is unlikely that in today’s BBC someone   both new methods of working in the BBC
                              commissioning                                     million people in      like Weeks would be recruited. He was just       and getting Inmarsat and SNG technology
                              assistant. She was                                the UK watched         a teenager when he joined, but no one            into daily TV News operations. These both
formidable, independent-minded and no                                           the 1966 World         worked for the BBC with greater pride. He        brought a big benefit to the BBC on-air
respecter of persons.                                                           Cup Final when         was dedicated and regarded with affection by     coverage. His understanding of the working
    She joined the BBC in 1964 from                                             England beat           colleagues at home and abroad. He retired at     of the Capital Finance system was very useful
secretarial college, first as secretary to Dick                                 Germany 4-2 at         the age of 60 and at home in Hove, Sussex,       throughout this change.
Walford, head of the Copyright department,                                      Wembley. The           wrote his autobiography which, despite               With his new systems working and
and later as an assistant commissioning                                         man responsible        its silly title ‘Under Auntie’s skirts’ is an    operational, Roy left to televise Parliament
scripted material. She worked in that                                           for producing the      enjoyable read.                                  on TV, before retiring in 1992. In retirement
department for 32 years, until it closed in the                                 pictures that went         He is survived by his wife Pamela, they      he spent most of his time with his hobbies
1990s, outlasting seven heads of department.       round the world was Alec Weeks (1925 –              had no children.                                 - travelling, trains, theatre and walking.
    Over the years, Alannah worked for             2011), who began his BBC career in 1941             Sir Paul Fox                                     He always found time to meet up with his
television and radio but had a special             as an office boy.                                                                                    retired colleagues and attend local IEE/IET
affection for radio light entertainment. She           He became a junior engineer at
                                                   Broadcasting House during the war and
                                                                                                       Radio transmitter                                meetings in High Wycombe.
                                                                                                                                                            Roy died after a short illness on the
scrupulously kept track of writers’ rates and                                                          Kenneth Shepherdson, a retired member of
listened and watched their programmes,             arranged the microphones for Major Glenn                                                             28 May 2011, leaving behind his wife
                                                                                                       our staff at Skelton, died on 10 June after a    Betty, two sons (David and Andrew), and
so that she could assess the development of        Miller and his band when they recorded 28
                                                                                                       long illness, aged 84.                           a granddaughter.
their careers.                                     numbers for the American Forces Network.
                                                                                                          Ken was born in Kingston upon Hull and        Bob Prabhu - Retired TV News Senior Cameraman
    Writers’ agents were disinclined to            After a brief spell in the RAF, Weeks became
                                                                                                       was educated at Hull Riley High School.
challenge the rates she offered, because they      a studio manager when Eamonn Andrews
knew that she could give chapter and verse         began his distinguished Sports Report
                                                                                                       He was evacuated on 1 September 1939 to
                                                                                                       Bridlington and then Doncaster.                  Great correspondent
to justify the offer. One agent said that he       programme in 1948. But television called                                                             Many friends and colleagues will learn with
                                                                                                          After leaving school in 1943, he gained
advised his staff they could assume what was       and he had to go to Manchester to find                                                               much sadness the loss of Sheila Cundy on
                                                                                                       a job at a BBC wartime transmitter. He was
offered was at a discount to the real rate, but    a niche.                                                                                             5 June. She had a long and successful career
                                                                                                       then posted to a regional transmitter and
that they should never make that assumption            Football – live football – was then a                                                            in Programme Correspondence, taking a
                                                                                                       after a few months was conscripted under
with Alannah.                                      rare event on television but in 1959 Weeks                                                           break to have her children. Sheila made
                                                                                                       the war regulations into the army where he
    She could be severe. Of one Head of            directed his first match, the second half of                                                         a welcome return as a senior member of
                                                                                                       spent the next two and a half years servicing
Drama who sought to re-negotiate a deal            a European cup-tie between Burnley and                                                               a busy letter-writing team, coping with
                                                                                                       tank radios with the Royal Signals.
she regarded as closed, she remarked to the        Hamburg. It was another five years before the                                                        an ever-increasing volume of mail from
                                                                                                          He was then drafted on demob to the
agent concerned that the man was a dimwit          stubborn resistance to television emanating                                                          listeners and viewers.
                                                                                                       Skelton transmitter and had postings to
(though in riper language) and stuck to her        from the Football League headquarters at                                                                 A dedicated and hugely loyal supporter
original offer. A longstanding friend was cast                                                         Daventry and Hull. He also took an overseas
                                                   St.Anne’s on Sea, began to ease. In 1964            posting to Antigua for two years opening a       of the BBC, Sheila handled difficult and
off when the colleague went to work for a                                                                                                               often controversial subjects with experience
                                                   came the first Match of the Day programme,          short wave transmitter, returning to Skelton
rights organisation and Alannah thought that                                                                                                            and professionalism. An immensely kind
                                                   in black and white, in London only on               until his retirement.
knowledge of the BBC’s negotiating ways                                                                                                                 and popular member of staff, she was
                                                   BBC2. Despite the opposition of football               His eldest son Andrew died of a brain
was being misused.                                                                                                                                      outstanding at training and encouraging
                                                   club directors, the programme prospered, so         tumour in 2003. Ken is survived by his wife
    She was much loved within the                                                                                                                       new young secretaries in her office. Sheila
                                                   much so that it was moved to BBC1 and has           Margaret, son Ian, who lives in Somerset,
Corporation and by the writers she                                                                                                                      could be guaranteed to coax the very best
                                                   remained there, with a few changes to the           and daughter Gillian.
commissioned. Her secretary, Waheeda Khan,                                                                                                              from them gently, using great patience and
said at her funeral ‘she was like a second         present day.                                        Gillian Roberts
                                                       Signing a contract with the football                                                             understanding. Maintaining the highest
mother to me.’                                                                                                                                          standards at all times, she produced excellent
    One of her extramural accomplishments          authorities was a plus for the management
                                                   but the game still had to be got onto TV
                                                                                                       Change maker                                     and sometimes surprising results! Several
was making jewellery; at the funeral almost                                                                                                             remained friends over the years, notably
                                                   screens. Weeks was instrumental in that. He                                     Roy Vitty started
every woman was wearing something made                                                                                                                  Jenny, who kept in touch and visited her
                                                   led his team, usually around 50 people, with                                    his career in
by Alannah.                                                                                                                                             with her own family.
                                                                                                                                   the BBC soon
Tom Rivers                                         flair, clear-headedness and discipline. In his
                                                                                                                                   after leaving the        In recent years Sheila suffered ill health
                                                   mobile contract room, he was in charge, so
                                                                                                                                   King Edward’s        and coped with all the difficulties she
Dedication to BBC                                  much so that when the Chairman of the BBC
                                                   Governors, George Howard visited during
                                                                                                                                   Grammar School       experienced with enormous courage. She

Italian Service                                    a match and started chatting, he was told:
                                                                                                                                   in Birmingham.
                                                                                                                                   While working at
                                                                                                                                                        had good reason to be very proud of her
                                                                                                                                                        two successful sons, Nicholas and Philip,
Luigia Vallentine died on 1 June 2011 aged         ‘keep the noise down, cocker, or you’ll be                                                           and always acknowledged their wonderful
                                                                                                                                   the BBC, he
88. Her surviving sister Sylva has asked           out in the car park.’                                                           enrolled at the      support – not only when their father died
her executor Leon Nahon to give Prospero               If it hadn’t been for Weeks’ alertness,                                     Hendon College       – but throughout her suffering. Sheila was
readers a few words about Luigia. He writes:       the 1966 World Cup Final would have cost            in North London and completed his three          also very quick to praise the exceptional
   Luigia Vallentine came to the UK in             the BBC an extra £100,000 – the sum                 year part time Higher National Diploma           care she received from her Nurse and friend,
1940 and after working for the ministry of         demanded by the Musicians Union for                 (HND) Course. He took up his first posting       Marilyn. She loved music and enjoyed the
agriculture (issuing ration cards for cows!)       the massed Band of the Brigade of Guards.           in Video Tape at TV Centre, moving on to         companionship of her two dogs. Special
joined the BBC whilst still a teenager, as a       He spotted a loophole in the contract; no           the BBC Outside Broadcast Unit at                thoughts and much sympathy go to her
monitor of Italian broadcasts during the           fees would be paid if the Band appeared             Acton, London.                                   family and to her close friend Phyllis. Sheila
Second World War.                                  by command of the Queen. Negotiating                   Roy left the BBC in 1981 and joined           will be greatly missed by all who were
   Having British nationality but being            deftly, Weeks persuaded the director of             Visnews for a couple of years before             fortunate to know her and now share a
completely fluent in Italian, she went on to       music of the Brigade to seek the Queen’s            rejoining the BBC to work on the Breakfast       deep sense of loss.
work at the BBC Italian service shortly after      approval. It came with a few hours to spare.        Time, the UK’s first National breakfast show,    Maureen A Stevens
the war ended. She originally started in quite         The 1966 Final was clearly the most             under the first Editor of the programme, Ron     Formerly Head of Programme Correspondence

                                                                                                                                                                         PROSPERO August 2011
  Man on the Spot by Bill Hamilton                                                                                                                         CLASSIfIEdS
  Published by Book guild Publishing £17.99, reviewed by Rodney greenberg                                                                                Seaview, isle of Wight. Wanting to get away
                                                                                                                                                         for a break? Pleasant EtB 4* studio annexe,
                                                    Scottish newspaper editor, offering to work as     course, remain the property of the BBC, and       sleeps two comfortably. Near beach and village.
                                                    a 17-year-old junior. This meant 120 letters,      should your employment change they must           For details email:;
                                                    garnering over 100 replies (an unlikely            be returned at once to our Wardrobe.’             tel: 01983 812180
                                                    response these days). But only four had               Bill became a familiar face on BBC TV
                                                    vacancies, and a trial day in the ‘organised       News and was in the thick of memorable            Lake district. Historic watermill, secluded in
                                                    chaos’ of one of their editorial departments       events. In 1978, a Great Northern Express         woods and fields, sleeps 6, beautiful all year for
                                                    convinced him to learn shorthand. Bill             train with 70 passengers vanished in a            walking, climbing and sailing.
                                                    buckled down to mastering his craft.               terrible blizzard in the Scottish Highlands.      tel: 020 7387 6654;
                                                       He progressed through Tyne Tees                 Bill got emergency BBC permission to hire a       Email:
                                                    Television, Border Television and various          helicopter and, with his cameraman, located
                                                    regional newspapers. He now observes that          the train and reported on a dangerous food-       Lagos, algarve. small townhouse,
                                                    ITV has replaced truly local news with ‘super      drop and rescue.                                  2 bedrooms, roof terrace, near beach, from
                                                    regions’, calling this ‘a serious erosion of          He was on the spot in the 1982 Lebanese        £150pw. Also large apartment.
                                                    their original public service commitment.’         war and when the IRA bombed the Grand             tel: 07956 181613;
                                                       He first joined the BBC as a Radio Sports       Hotel in Brighton. In Aberdeenshire he            Email:
                                                    News Assistant in London, selected by the          interviewed the mother of serial killer Dennis
                                                    legendary Angus Mackay to ‘join the big            Nilsen as she tearfully tried to come to terms    Paphos. A/C studio apartment, sleeps 2/3,
                                                    boys’ (though I doubt Mackay actually used         with her son’s crimes, and he filmed Martin       spectacular balcony view, from £95pw.
                                                    the modern expression ‘do you think you            Luther King’s assassin, James Earl Ray, on        Amenities adjacent. taxi/car hire arranged.
                                                    could cut it here?’) and rubbed shoulders          Death Row in Nashville.                           tel: 01455 635759;
                                                    with Eamonn Andrews, Desmond Lynam,                   His reports from Albania, filmed with the
                                                    Christopher Martin-Jenkins, John Motson            Duchess of York, triggered huge international     brittany, dinan. Delightful medieval riverside
  At a time when a few unscrupulous                 and Jack de Manio.                                 aid. He accompanied Albania’s hero Norman         town with many restaurants. Attractive
  phone-hackers have thrown the Murdoch                Prospero readers will chuckle at how,           Wisdom on a hilarious visit to the country,       apartment in old merchant’s house; quiet,
  newspaper empire into turmoil, Bill               when he joined BBC Scotland, he owned only         and Bill met Mother Teresa, who awarded           central. Beaches, walks close. Near st Malo
  Hamilton’s biography comes as a beacon            two suits – both blue – and a navy blazer.         him the Order of Mother Teresa.                   channel port and Dinard airport (Ryanair).
  of sanity and integrity. From ambitious cub       These would effectively vanish on television          Bill’s story shows a dedicated, versatile      sleeps 2, double or twin. From £190pw.
  reporter to BBC special correspondent, we         when backed by the blue cyclorama used for         reporter. And there’s room for his other          tel: 020 8995 8543;
  are in the company of a journalist from ‘the      colour-separation overlay. Told to buy two         career: an Association Football referee for 50    Email:
  old school’, respecting and often assisting       non-blue jackets for not more than £20, Bill       years. ‘Retirement? I don’t think so’, he says.
  the victims of misfortune he meets on             almost succeeded at C&A but was £3 over.           ‘I’m not growing OLD. I’m just growing UP.’       Niton, isle of Wight. Holiday chalet for 2 in
  his assignments.                                  Came a memo: the £3 would be deducted                 To purchase a copy of ‘Man on the Spot’,       peaceful and secluded landscaped gardens.
     In 1961, Dundee-born Bill wrote to every       from his wages and ‘the jackets will, of           please visit                 Ideal base for walkers.
                                                                                                                                                         tel: 01372 462732;

  Crumpet Goes
                                                                                                        RELCs - Calling                                  (Price cut) Provence. traditional 3-bedroom
                                                                                                        all workers
  to Lundy
                                                                                                                                                         villa (sleeps 6) with pool. Near enchanting
                                                                                                                                                         medieval village. From £500 per week.
                                                                                                        Paul gouldstone, Vice President, RELCs,          Email:
                                                                                                        takes the opportunity to tell Prospero           for brochure.
  Prospero readers will recall our book review                                                          readers about another RELC lunch,
  last issue of ‘Crumpet Goes to Lundy’ by                                                              scheduled for the Autumn.
                                                                                                                                                         dordogne. Farmhouse in peaceful hamlet with
  Maggie Partington-Smith. The review, by                                                                  the BBC RELCs are ‘calling all workers’
                                                                                                                                                         magnificent views from garden. Ideal walking,
  June Hudson, didn’t mention how to get                                                                whose BBC career has been in the
                                                                                                                                                         swimming nearby, all comforts. sleeps 4. Bargain.
  hold of copies of the book, so here Maggie                                                            broadcasting chain over the years, whether
                                                                                                                                                         tel: 07788 940660;
  explains how this can be done, and also adds                                                          in Radio, television, transmitters, Film,
  a little history of how the book came into                                                            Management/secretarial (or any section I
  the world.                                                                                            have missed out).
                                                                                                                                                         kalkan turkey two bed apartment with pool
      ‘Crumpet Goes to Lundy’ came about as                                                                Following our last very successful
                                                                                                                                                         on lovely turquoise coast, sW turkey. Owing
  a result of learning how to use the word-                                                             lunch in Bournemouth we have booked
                                                                                                                                                         to medical recommendation to reduce stress,
  processing programme on the computer.                                                                 the Miramar Hotel again for an early
                                                                                                                                                         I am proposing to sell off fortnights of the year
  Scorned by the few publishers I approached                                                            Autumn BBC RELC Lunch on tuesday
                                                                                                                                                         (like a time share) at £10,000 per fortnight (6).
  but encouraged by cast, crew and colleagues,      however I could try once again to get               6 september starting in the hotel bar from
                                                                                                                                                         Compared to a time share though, the property
  I paid for private printing of a limited run of   a Publisher to undertake the marketing              10.30am and with lunch at 13.00
                                                                                                                                                         would be wholly legally owned by all our families
  200 copies to take the project to fruition in     and distribution in shops or via Amazon.               Lunch will be prompted by that famous
                                                                                                                                                         for ever. Do give me your email / phone number
  time for Christmas presents. I now have only      They would of course work out cheaper if            Radio tune for Workers Playtime. You will
                                                                                                                                                         for further details, or contact me on:
  about 40 copies left.                             printed in larger quantities. All advice on this    probably remember that signature tune
                                                                                                                                                         tel: 01643 841602;
      I can post these remaining copies for         subject welcome.                                    from your earlier days in the BBC as you
  £8.50 + £1.50 pp (on receipt of postal            Maggie Partington Smith                             meet up with friends for lunch.
  address and a cheque for £10 made out to          For any further enquiries about Crumpet, please        Contact our lunch organiser Russell
                                                                                                                                                         be sure to get your copy of ‘Zoom in when
  M Partington-Smith) but once they are gone,       contact Maggie on the following email address:      Horne to book a seat in the restaurant.
                                                                                                                                                         you see the tears’. 30 adventurous years at
  they are gone. If there is sufficient interest                        Russell can be contacted on 01590
                                                                                                                                                         the BBC, by Film Cameraman, Fred Hamilton.
                                                                                                        624389 or

   Much merriment and countless stories                                                                 Annual reunion for                               menorca. Detached holiday villa with private
                                                                                                                                                         pool. sleeps 2-7. Near Es Castell, amenities
   Nearly 100 communications and ex-communications staff came together for a reunion at the
   george and Dragon pub in Acton on saturday 21 May.
                                                                                                        Design & Scenic                                  and beaches. For brochure:
                                                                                                                                                         tel: 01621 741810;
       this was the first ever comms reunion and was attended by people of all ages, some of
   whom (according to one stalwart) had not seen each other for more than 40 years. It was

                                                                                                        the 31st Annual Reunion Lunch for ex-            Prospero Classifieds, bbC Pension and
   a splendid do with much merriment and countless stories swapped. People came from
                                                                                                        members of BBC television Design &               benefits Centre, broadcasting house,
   all over the British Isles, as well as from Madrid, France and even one brave soul from the
                                                                                                        scenic services group, spouses, partners         Cardiff Cf5 2YQ
   Falkland Islands.
                                                                                                        and friends will take place at noon on Friday    Please enclose a cheque made payable to:
       Another reunion is intended for a few years time, hopefully with even more people. If
                                                                                                        14 October at Ealing golf Club, greenford,       bbC Central directorate.
   you’ve even worked in, or been attached to, Radio Links or Communications please contact
                                                                                                        Middlesex. For further information, please       Rate: £5 for 20 words. In a covering letter
   Dennis Butcher on 07860 662733 or email to find out more.
                                                                                                        contact Hilary Worrall (tel: 0208 677 3067).     please include your pension number.
                                                                                                                                                         designed and produced by Wordshop
  PROSPERO August 2011

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