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Tuesday, 22 August, 2000, 16:12 GMT 17:12 UK
BBC closes Pebble Mill studios
Pebble Mill studios
Pebble Mill studios: Closure will mean the loss of 90 jobs
The BBC has announced it is to close its two main studios at Pebble Mill which could mark the end of production at the famous Birmingham site.

BBC Resources chief executive Margaret Salmon said the closures, which will result in 90 job loses, were a result of overcapacity and changing production patterns in the broadcasting industry.

The studios staged several BBC shows, most famously the Pebble Mill at One lunchtime chat show, which ran from 1973 to 1986.

The closures are part of the corporation's review of its regional capacity introduced by director general Greg Dyke.

Closing studios does not mean cutting production

Greg Dyke
Some television and radio production will remain at the site for the time being, with a decision still to be made on whether to refurbish the studio complex or move out to a new city centre building.

Mrs Salmon said the closures would not affect local and regional programmes or news or radio production.

"While programme production from Pebble Mill is healthy, the majority of the output does not require expensive studio facilities," Mrs Salmon said.

She said as most of Pebble Mill's production was location based, the use of the studios had halved in three years to around one third of their capacity.

Greg Dyke
Greg Dyke: "Solid commitment" to Birmingham
"We very much regret having to make people redundant and will do all we can to explore resettlement and redeployment opportunities," Mrs Salmon said.

Director General Greg Dyke announced his intention in April to cut the amount of money spent on running the corporation from 24% to 15% of its total income.

Mr Dyke said the corporation still had an "absolutely solid commitment" to commissioning network television from Birmingham.

"Closing studios does not mean cutting production," he said.

"Since the BBC closed its studio in Bristol seven years ago, network production has nearly doubled as well as increasing production for our digital channels."

He said that any existing bookings for the studios would be honoured.

Kate Marsh, head of lifestyle and features at BBC Birmingham said production was booming.

Alan Titchmarsh
Alan Titchmarsh: Made his name at Pebble Mill
"We've launched just under 20 new television titles over the last 12 months and are forecasting an extra 75 hours by the end of the financial year bringing the total up to 450 hours," she said

Pebble Mill at One was hosted for a long time by Donny Macleod and Bob Langley.

It launched the television career of gardener Alan Titchmarsh.

The BBC's answer to This Morning with Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan, Good Morning with Anne and Nick, also came from the Birmingham studios.

Pebble Mill has also produced the popular TV dramas Dalziel and Pascoe and Dangerfield, as well as the long-running radio soap The Archers and the recent daytime soap opera Doctors starring Christopher Timothy.

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See also:

12 May 00 | Wales
Shake-up at BBC Wales
03 Apr 00 | UK
BBC jobs go in shake-up
27 Jan 99 | Entertainment
BBC axes 70 drama jobs
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