|The BBC Birmingham network production centre Pebble Mill for both radio and television programming was located in Edgbaston, a suburb of Birmingham, England.|
Opened by Princess Anne on the 10 November 1971, it was a prominent landmark in the Edgbaston area. The lease for the site was acquired by BBC Birmingham in the 1950s but the plans for the site were not approved until 1967, the same year that construction of the studios began.
The centre opened with one main television drama studio (Studio A) and a regional news studio (Studio B). The planned second drama studio (Studio C) was never built. For many years references to this ghost studio could be found in the building wiring systems, and in the video and audio switching matrices. There was, however, a Gallery C, which wasn't associated with a studio but could control cameras and other facilities connected to wall boxes around the complex, such as the foyer and conservatory used for Pebble Mill at One.
The seven storey site contained several offices, television studios, radio studios, two canteens, a post office and a garden. The views from the roof overlooked Cannon Hill Park, a nature centre, as well as Birmingham's city centre.
The facilities were second only to Television Centre within the BBC. The world's longest running radio soap, The Archers was produced at Pebble Mill, as were talk shows Pebble Mill at One and Good Morning with Anne and Nick, Midlands Today and television dramas All Creatures Great and Small, Howard's Way, Juliet Bravo, This Life and Doctors. The 1977 Doctor Who serial Horror of Fang Rock had its interior scenes shot at Pebble Mill due to studio space being unavailable at the usual Television Centre studios in London.
The centre was also home to the largest and most advanced post-production departments outside London, including six VT edit suites, two dubbing suites and a multitude of Avid non-linear suites. The centre was responsible for a thriving level of output into the mainstream of network radio. Senior Talks Producer David Shute recalls working with stars like David Suchet, Ian Richardson, Richard Todd, Moira Lister, Frank Windsor and many others in the Premier Division of acting.