For the first in this series of posts on my years at Anglia Television look HERE
In the summer of 1967, Anglia took the OB Unit around East Anglia’s seaside towns and as the Anglia region was reaching well into Lincolnshire, we sometimes headed north, around The Wash up as far as the Humber. The sound crew usually travelled in the Sound Supervisor’s car, so on Friday August the 4th we were off in Sid Denneys Vauxhall Victor. He got the ‘travel expenses’ and we got an ‘out of pocket’ expense I believe. That was obviously an ACTT, the TV technician’s union, local agreement.
This set of photos comes from one of the series of 13 ‘Glamour ’67’ programmes done through the summer of that year and we’re in Cleethorpes, on the northern limit of Anglia’s coverage at that time. In fact all these images come from the Central Hall in Grimsby which was a few miles up from Cleethorpes, as I guess Cleethorpes didn’t have a hall Anglia thought was suitable.
Saturday August the 5th was the day this show was transmitted, but we would have arrived the day before to find a hall with ready installed camera platforms, already erected by a firm of local scaffolders. The Lighting Director and his chief electrician and crew would also have already been in put up the lights. Some of these would also have required scaffolding in a hall like this.
The sound crew started with rigging the band, plugging mics into the multicores layed in by the OB Riggers, although in fact I think we didn’t have sound multicores, just long ‘singles’ taped into a loom. Riggers drive the OB vehicles, then run in all the big cables required by Cameras and Sound….but the Lighting crew run their own cables and of course Sound connect up their mics, speakers and talkback cables as the Supervisor requires.
Since this is an ‘evening show’, the next day we start rehearsals by initially ‘blocking’ through the moves with the artists. That’s the main presenters, singers and the girls taking part in the ‘Miss Anglia’ part of the show.
Anglia’s OB Scanner, at this time was a three camera unit, all Pye Mk5’s like those in the studios back in Norwich. In the above photo two cameras are set up after the camera crew had completed the rig and are watching the proceedings before a proper camera rehearsal gets underway. I’m also able to take these photos before being involved in looking after presenters and band. Cameraman Steve up in the balcony has a Taylor-Hobson Varotal zoom lens that has been put on an OB ‘ped’ with wheels…but it’s certainly not going anywhere. That’s a shaft of bright sunlight coming through the windows on the right side but tonight it’ll be the ‘spot’ operators in the gallery behind the balcony who’ll be busy following the artists, as the Lighting Director dictates. The spot operators have ‘cans’ with a feed of Directors Talkback, to follow the action and even the Floor Managers still only have ‘cabled’ talkback. Plenty for Sound to rig then.
The lower camera in the picture above, operated by the Senior Cameraman…alas whose name I can’t recall, has his pan camera head mounted directly on a couple of scaffold bars. The bars extend all the way to the floor. Audience access to the seats beyond him therefore isn’t going to be that easy. He has a different Varotal zoom, that was normally only used on OB’s. Beside him is assistant cameraman Peter Hall…wearing a still camera around his neck. Peter joined Anglia on the same day I did in August 1966 and I was to follow him to London a couple of years after this. Both of us ending up at London Weekend TV as well.
As this is a pretty straight presentation of a ‘theatre show’, the Director Peter Joy has centrally positioned cameras, no fancy cameras on stage, or ‘hot head’ cranes in 1967!
With two cameras placed dead centre in the hall, one higher than the other, a third camera is set up to the left, also on a scaffold platform.
The band is installed in the ‘orchestra pit’ and Anglia’s Musical Director Peter Fenn is already rehearsing.
Apart from resident MD Peter Fenn, the players are all session musicians ‘up from London’. Not enough work locally for good players alas and as this was the first time that the musicians had seen these arrangements, they had to be ‘good readers’. The sound crew have rigged a pretty usual selection of mics for a small 12 piece band like this. At the far end, the bass will have an omni STC 4037 ‘stick mic’, wrapped in a biggish piece of sponge and stuffed in the bridge of his double-bass. That at least helps him stay on mic as he plays and as a double-bass isn’t that loud, it will reduce spill from the piano and drums nearby. The piano has a D-25 on a boom arm over ‘the treble end’. Next is the guitarist, miked with another dynamic, a D-25 or D-20 very close to his amps’ speaker. The drummer gets a D-25 ‘overhead’, plus a D-20 on his ‘kick-drum’. The three ‘woods’, a baritone sax, a tenor and an alto possibly doubling flute are on a pair of cardiod D-24’s and behind them the three trumpets have a pair of STC 4038 ribbon mics, with the trombone sat on his own on a 4038 as well. Finally MD Peter Fenn’s Hammond B3 organ has it’s Leslie speaker miked with another 4038 right at the end of the band.
Note the ‘Applause Meter’ on stage left. I can’t remember, but it might have been a clever bit of electronics fed from a sound feed….but then it might be a totally ‘bogus bit of kit’! There are also a couple of TV picture monitors set up on either side of the stage, for the audience….not that the audience would see much on fairly small screens like those.
This series was introduced by Bob Monkhouse with Pete Murray. Here Peter and the band start to run through the arrangement on a song with Bob.
And then singer Barbara Law tries out a song. Whilst the PA watches the stage where the Floor Manager is arranging the ‘Miss Anglia’ contestants.
Clutching his Camera Script, Director Peter Joy takes time out of the OB Scanner to watch the ‘Miss Anglia’ finalists being walked through the show during the rehearsals. Note the four desk mics on the judges desk, these are AKG C-61’s, a valve condenser mic.
With the TV lighting now coming on Peter Joy gets ready for a camera rehearsal.
I can’t remember just how many inputs the sound desk had, but Sound Supervisor Sid Denney would have filled up the channels on the modest desk with the presenter mics, vocal mics, band mics plus a couple for audience, so those 4 C-61 judges mics would most probably be ‘sub-mixed’ on one of the 4 channel Vortexion sub-mixers that usually languished in the Sound Store in Norwich. Great fun juggling with the Vortexion’s 4 large rotary faders though, nowhere near as convenient as having mics on the main desk faders. A Sound Supervisor couldn’t ‘get away’ with leaving any mics fully faded up if they weren’t required in the mix, as even a small amount of PA can destroy your sound balance if you aren’t careful. One of the PA speakers can be seen on the right of the stage in the photo below. If pressed for mic channels, a Sound Supervisor sometimes opted to ‘Y cord’ a pair of mics. So for instance the 2 trumpet STC 4038s might be reduced to one input. It didn’t work with all mics as the input impedance was changed but worked with the low impedance STC’s.
With the lights on, Barbara Law rehearses followed by Bob Monkhouse and Pete Murray, trying out their routine, with one of the Contestants.
Sound had no radio mics available in 1967, so this sort of ‘patter’ between the presenters would have to be performed into a stand mic, or one of them using a cabled stick mic. My job, as assistant was to trot on or off with whatever was to be used.
We are now into the camera rehearsal, or possibly even the Dress Rehearsal and I’ve set the D-24 stand mic, hopefully avoiding being caught in shot doing it and Barbara and the band go through her song the last time before the live transmission.
I obviously got time to photograph one of the other performers on the show, ‘The Singing Postman’ Allan Smethurst, singing on his own without the band his song “Hev Yew Gotta Loight, Boy?”, which was a surprise nationwide hit at this time. He sang in a very strong Norfolk, or was it a ‘Norwich’ accent. He had indeed been a postman in Grimsby.
Despite the inevitable local bias in a programme like this, the ‘production values’ were fairly similar to programmes made by the bigger ITV companies at this time and Anglia programmes, featuring for instance the ‘Miss Anglia’ segment to ‘Glamour ’67’ did appeal to the audience in East Anglia and drew good viewing figures.
On the evening of Saturday 5th August, this ‘Glamour ’67’ from Cleethorpes would have been transmitted live, with a nearby Post Office microwave link bouncing between’ line-of sight’ link points, sending the pictures and the sound and ‘comms’ would be going via Post Office equalised phone lines back to Anglia at Norwich and then on to the regions ITV transmitters. The OB Scanner would have an off-air monitor feed visible during the transmission, mainly in fact to judge the commercial breaks which were played out from Norwich during the show, plus talkback linked to the Anglia Presentation Suite.
By the way many apologies if I get people’s names wrong…many years have past. Do contact me and I’ll be happy to correct any inaccuracies