Beryl Brennan

From BBC PA Memories
Jump to: navigation, search

Mrs Beryl Brennan

I was born in 1946. I began working at the BBC in 1967, my final year at the BBC was 1995. Whilst at the BBC I was known as Beryl Snape and Beryl Brennan.


Cheadle County Grammar School for Girls Stockport College for Further Education

Previous Jobs

Various secretarial

How I joined the BBC

A job for Secretary in External Services Manchester was advertised in the Manchester Evening News.

Many years later after raising a family and living in Suffolk, I ran the West Suffolk studio for Radio Suffolk.

My first impressions of the BBC

A really friendly and exciting place to work

Broad BBC career

In External Services I along with my Producer Randal Herley were responsible for covering the whole of the north of England researching and covering news items and more for input to the 40 language sections at Bush House plus 4 English language sections. We also worked with Frank Mellor to produce and record features for the Talkabout Sunday morning magazine programme. Also recording for BFBS mainly with Dave Le Travis and Alan Dixon.

After the 3 regional External Services offices were closed to 'raise funds' for the introduction of local radio, I worked with Michael Green on documentary programmes for radio and the weekly programme A Word In Edgeways with Brian Redhead (whilst he was still editor of the Manchester Evening News) and 3 invited guests.

Feelings about the BBC whilst I worked there

The BBC at that time was a great place, creative people, fulfilling work, very varied, very inspirational. I was very sad to leave. My first job with External Services ended when the office was closed to raise funding for local radio. My next best job at Radio Suffolk West Suffolk studio ended when the studio was closed down to make way for digital radio!

Non autobiographical notes and facts BBC about the BBC

The studios at that time were the disused church at Dickinson Road where music shows were recorded. Gay Byrne was a linkman on one of the shows, I remember seeing Shane Fenton and the Fentones - he later became Alvin Stardust. The radio studios were in Piccadilly above Nat West Bank. A downside was that Stuart Hall worked in the newsroom and even in those days he was too free with his hands with the female staff. The only one safe was Sandra Chalmers, Head of Presentation.

Feelings about the BBC today

Too many presenters don't know how to speak to an audience! They drop words at the end of a sentence, they mumble, they speak too quickly. Far too much unnecessary music especially on documentary programmes, sometimes drowns out the narrative of the presenter. The BBC is a great institution but standards in presentation have dropped.

Periods at the BBC

1967 until 1971

I was a Secretary to Organiser on a Staff contract earning 600.0.

We were based at Peter House, Oxford Road, Manchester in the External Services North Region department., at that time run by Randal Herley.

BBC North Region External Services followed by radio documentaries with Michael Green..

Main memories of the period

External Services was the best job ever...reading all the regional newspapers searching for stories which could be of interest to the different language sections in Bush House; selling the story to them and then finding a reporter to cover them. Randal Herley was the producer, and if he was already out, then John Humphreys (in those days a reporter based in Liverpool) would often cover them, or Roy Cross, a Studio Manager in Manchester hoping to break into reporting. Manchester United was popular with the Russian Service and Randal often met George Best in his local pub to do an interview! We also had the colourful character Clairmont Depeiza doing a weekly report for the Caribbean Service on their nationals playing in the professional cricket league in the North. We also worked with Frank Mellor on 20 minute feature programmes for input into the weekly Sunday morning programme Talkabout presented by Brian Truman. Every day was different and it was a very exciting office in which to work. I was greatly saddened when it was closed to make way for local radio.

I then moved to work with Michael Green on radio documentaries and the weekly programme A Word In Edgeways. The programme was recorded on a Friday afternoon. Brian Redhead was the anchor man with 3 invited guests; they had lunch in the BBC club before moving on to the studios in Piccadilly above the Nat West Bank to record the 45 minute programme. Brian was superb, he knew a little about absolutely everything and was able to keep the conversation/discussion flowing with very little editing needed afterwards. Apart from that programme, the office was very quiet after the lively External Services and boredom set in, so I sadly left the BBC and not long afterwards started a family.

My main mentors for the period were

Randal - he was an amazing character.

I worked on the following programmes during this time at the BBC:

A Word In Edgeways

From 1970 until 1971 I worked as a Secretary admin on A Word In Edgeways. Brian Redhead was at this time editor of the Manchester Evening News and trying to break into radio. The programme was recorded on a Friday and broadcast on Saturday evening. Three invited guests would have lunch with Brian and Michael in the BBC Club followed by an hour in the recording studio at Piccadilly, above the National Westminster Bank. The guests were from all walks of life and Brian was an amazing anchor, he seemed to know a little about absolutely any subject and because the conversation and discussion flowed so well, there was very little editing needed.

After the daily activity and pressure of External Services, this office was very quiet and I was bored. As there wasn't another job going at the time, I left and shortly after started my family.

Notable people from this programme: Notable guests: Rt Hon William Whitelaw MP when Home Secretary; Angus Maude, Gillian Reynolds, Rosemary Ann Sissons, Professor Graeme Moodie, Michael Winstanley MP,

West Suffolk Studio, Radio Suffolk

From 1991 until 1995 I worked as a Secretary admin on West Suffolk Studio, Radio Suffolk. Steve Martin was the producer and between the 2 of us we sourced stories in the West of the county. Steve also recorded the weekly Farming Programme. I had a 5-minuted dailyWhat’s On slot into the John Eley programme broadcast 12-200 each weekday. One Christmas Day I was involved in serving Christmas lunches to men from the local homeless shelter and also elderly people living on their own, at the Roman Catholic Upper School in Bury St Edmunds. I| did a live slot into John’s programme plus an interview with Father Joseph in charge of organizing the lunch. One year we also took a room at the Angel Hotel in Bury St Edmunds and did live slots into the Radio Suffolk Children In Need programme, acting as a local base for fundraisers to bring their donations. Sadly the studio was close down when money was needed by the BBC for digital and all further input from the West of the county was by radio car out of Ipswich.

Notable people from this programme: John Eley, Joy Larcombe, Suzy Fowler-Watt, Craig Doyle. Sir Eldon Griffiths the local MP

1991 until 1995

I was on a Staff contract.

We were based at Abbey House, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk in the West Suffolk studio, Radio Suffolk department.

As Radio Suffolk is based in Ipswich it was decided to open a West Suffolk Studio to cover that part of the county, in Abbey House, which had in previous times been the town house for the Harvey family of Ickworth House. The recording studio itself was like a tardis, free-standing so as not to interfere with the architecture of the historic house..

Main memories of the period

When I joined Radio Suffolk, the original studio was located on the top floor of a serviced office block! The furniture was covered with thick blankets underneath the microphones and deck and when recording or 'live input' the telephones were taken off the hook and silence reigned!! This was especially fun when John Eley, the Cooking Canon, was on air every weekday from 12 - 2pm.

After moving to Abbey House, John presented his programme from Ipswich and I presented a daily 'What's On in West Suffolk'. Steve Martin then joined Radio Suffolk as the Farming reporter and was based at Abbey House. Amongst the trainees in West Suffolk studio was Suzy Fowler-Watt and Craig Doyle who have both become well known presenters on national television.