March 22nd 2008

I mentioned documents of interest a few days ago on this page and, today, I have added what is probably the definitive document on the art of videotape editing. It was written in May 1966 by Alan Watkins and marked the beginning of the departments editing service and the appointment of Engineers (Editing). It’s in Downloads and is entitled Principles & Practice of Video Tape Editing.



March 21st

The Martin family(!), who organise the annual Christmas Lunch at Surbiton and other events for Radio, now have a dedicated website at which has contact details and information on forthcoming events. Do pop over and have a look as their contribution to the continuing contact between ‘us oldies’ (and the newer retirees) is enormous. Do come to an event – you never know who you might meet!


March 18th 2008

We seem to be getting quite a few documents of interest. I have just added a pdf of a handout by Jeremy Brown on the AVR2 Time Base Corrector which is in the Downloads section. Also I have added a link (in Links) to a website that features vintage tape recorders including our much loved TR90. More documentation to follow in the next few days.

February 5th 2008

From Cliff White via John Vigar comes this picture of PTA1 – it’s their 50th Anniversary this year.


Back Row, Left to Right

Osborne J.F.V.P., James F.A.F., Lock R.C., Pulford R.C., Howse D.J., Cranefield D.H., Williams M.B., Brindley A.J., Bird P.

Middle Row, Left to Right

Dunmall D.R., Mount D.J., Hiscox R.E., Lewis R., Lawson J.L., Bartlett M.J., Wynne J.W., Vigar A.J. Palmer J.A

Front Row, Left to Right

Thomas D.P., Tristem D.J., Gittins R.W., Hussey A.G., White C.J., Mead P.E.J.

I am attaching a photograph of a group of young men who joined the BBC back in 1958. We were among the first ever school-leavers in this country who did not have to do National Service.
Until then, the BBC always took on engineering staff who had a Services or University background, so we were the very first eighteen-year-olds to be employed by BBC Television.

This happened on Monday 13th October 1958, when what became known as “Junior PTA Course Number One” were given a weeks introductory tour of all the engineering departments in London, then dispersed to London and the Regions to become pioneers (and guinea-pigs!) in the task of educating youngsters to the highest levels of BBC Engineering standards.

Half a century later, of course, a very special anniversary is looming, and some of us were wondering if the BBC itself would be interested in helping us to celebrate this momentous occasion by organising a grand reunion. We would obviously need a lot of assistance from the BBC and the BBC Pensioners Association to track down the whereabouts of all the (surviving) members of
this very first intake, and perhaps a little bit of sponsorship in arranging a date and a venue would be nice, too!

In the first instance I would be grateful if you could publish this letter and photo in Ariel, Prospero, and on the Heritage website and then, depending on the response we get, we will take the project up to the next level.

January 14th 2008

Keith Graham (see entry for December 16th) has sent me a couple of pictures of the Ampex sign from ground level. You can find a link to them from Beginnings, Ampex, and click on AMPEX sign at the bottom of the page, or go direct from here!

December 20th 2007

May I wish all Oldboys and visitors a very “Merry Christmas, VT!”, and put on record my thanks to Howard Dell & Geoff Higgs for their stirling work in checking (and finding) errors and typos on the website. Also, a big thanks to all of you, worldwide, who have sent me stories, pictures, clips and reminiscences – without you there would be no oldboys website.

Those of you who are already members of the BBC Pensioners Association may have seen the reference to this website in the latest Newsletter. Nick Whines, who is the Association’s Secretary, has asked if I can point out the advantages of being a member, and to this end I have added a link to their website on the Links page.