Nick Whines

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Nick Whines

I was born in 1947. I began working at the BBC in 1972, my final year at the BBC was 1997.


Bishop Wordsworth School, Salisbury. University of Cambridge (Social Anthropolgy). University of London (Postgraduate Certificate of Education). University of Middlesex (MA Digital Arts). University of Winchester (Postgraduate Certificate Writing for Children).

Previous Jobs

Teacher in a Middle School 1970-72

How I joined the BBC

I saw the job advertised in the TES: a producer was wanted to make history programmes for primary school aged children. I had been brought up on Children's Hour and loved radio drama. This was almost my perfect job.

My first impressions of the BBC

I was convinced I needed to acquire a blue suit. After a couple of days I realised that was just for management. I had an office in 1PP and was quite lonely to begin with. I hadn't a clue what I was supposed to be doing. I had a part share in a very tall and impressive secretary who I was told had a black belt in some form of martial arts. I was therefore very respectful when I asked her to do any typing for me.

Broad BBC career

My first task was to devise a two year cycle of history programmes for 9-12 year olds, over fifty 20 minute dramas. Year one was devoted to a chronological account of the 20th century. Year two dipped into the history of earlier periods of English history. I was expected to commission the scripts, edit them and the direct them in the studio. I also had to produce notes for teachers to help them make best use of the programmes and a pamphlet for pupils so they had something to look at while listening to the broadcast.

My training at the BBC

Radio Production. Film Direction. Senior Management.

Periods at the BBC

1972 until 1980

I was a Producer. We were based at 1PP., at that time run by Dr Charles Armour.

My main mentors for the period were

Joe Reid

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

History:Not so long ago/Long ago

From 1973 I worked as a Series Producer on History:Not so long ago/Long ago.

1980 until 1980

1980 until 1985

We were based at I PP., at that time run by Clare Chovil.

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

In the News

From 1982 I worked as an Editor on In the News.

Awards: Sony Best Children's Programme 1984?

1985 until 1988

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



1988 until 1990

1991 until 1997

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

Look and Read: Spywatch

From 1995 until 1996 I worked as a Producer/Director on Look and Read: Spywatch.

Notable people from this programme: pywatch From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Jump to: navigation, search Spywatch Genre Education Written by Derek Farmer Directed by Nicholas Whines Starring Raymond Pickard, Russell Tovey, Josie McCabe, Sophie Ward, Rosemary Leach, Lesley Joseph, Guy Henry, Norman Bird, (deceased) Joseph Allesi, Abigail Thaw, Keith Barron, Josephine D'Arby Composer(s) Peter Howell Country of origin United Kingdom Original language(s) English No. of seasons 1 No. of episodes 10 Production Executive producer(s) Frank Flynn Producer(s) Nicholas Whines Location(s) United Kingdom Running time 20 minutes Broadcast Original channel BBC Original airing 15 January 1996 Chronology Preceded by LRTV Followed by Captain Crimson

Spywatch is a story produced by the BBC as part of the Look and Read series. It originally aired from January to March 1996. Its main educational focus was World War II. Contents

   1 Story
   2 Episodes
   3 Characters
   4 References


In the modern day, adult Norman Starkey goes to the village where he was evacuated during the second world war. With the help of the local librarian, he writes the story of his adventure. The modern day parts include the educational aspects, which form the middle of each episode. The main adventure is set in 1942, in the middle of World War II. Three children, young Norman, Dennis and Mary are evacuated to Westbourne in the country, away from the bombs. The boys stay at a farm, owned by Amy Hobbs (Aunty Amy) and her granddaughter Polly, and Mary stays at Westbourne Hall with Miss Millington and Mr Grainger. The children come across what they think is a trail of spies, but the number of suspects is very high and the children have to solve the mystery. Episodes

Episode 1 (Sent Away)

Middle-aged Norman Starkey, a former wartime evacuee, finds his old scrapbook, and decides to write a book about his experience, so he heads back to Westbourne. He recounts being sent off to Westbourne where he meets Cyrill Jenkins and another evacuee, Mary Parker. Cyrill drives them to Westbourne Hall, home to Phillip Grainger, and his housekeeper, Miss Millington. They refuse to take Norman, but take Mary instead. Norman is driven to nearby Wells Farm where he is taken in by kindly Amy Hobbs, who has recently taken in another evacuee named Dennis Sealey.

Episode 2 (Grainger Danger)

Norman and Dennis, both strangers to country life, are put to work on Amy's farm by Amy's granddaughter, Polly, and are both terrified when they find themselves surrounded by cows. Meanwhile, Mary is being forced to do the housework by Grainger and Millington. Grainger also pays Wells Farm a visit and tries to get Amy to sell it, but she refuses.

Episode 3 (Spies All Around)

Amy's cows have escaped and it looks as if the fence has been cut. Norman, Dennis, and Polly suspect Grainger is to blame. Later, the whole village attends a lecture where Cyrill Jenkins shows them a series of posters of people who may be spies in disguise, but one poster in particular startles Norman, Dennis and Polly; an image of a woman in half a Nazi uniform and half normal clothing stays in their minds. Meanwhile, in the present, Norman decides to track down Polly.

Episode Four (Trouble For Mary)

Luigi Balzoni, an Italian P.O.W, arrives to help on the farm. Amy initially doesn't trust Luigi, but he soon wins her trust. Also, Miss Millington steals Mary's money and accuses Mary of stealing from her. Later, Mary writes a letter to her parents and gives it to Millington to post. However, Millington reads the letter in which Mary describes to her parents how horrible Grainger and Miss Millington are, how badly they're treating her, and begs them to come and get her. Millington throws the letter in the fire.

Episode Five (The Poster Comes To Life)

Norman becomes homesick after receiving a letter from his mother. He goes for a walk by the river and meets Mike Johnson, a lieutenant from the nearby U.S Army base who shows him how to fish. Meanwhile, Mary agrees to help Polly and Dennis find out if Grainger is a spy. On the way back to the Farm, Polly and Dennis encounter a strange woman who bears a striking resemblance to the woman in the poster Cyrill Jenkins showed them. When the woman asks for directions to the village, Polly, convinced she's an enemy spy, intentionally sends her the wrong way and thinks they've seen the last of her - until she turns up at the front door!

Episode Six (Bombs In The Country)

The mystery woman introduces herself as Vivienne Belling, and she claims to be a government photographer. However, the kids are suspicious of her. Meanwhile, Mary overhears an interesting conversation between Grainger and Miss Millington. Mike gives the children chocolate which is rationed. Also, Polly and Dennis spot a German plane.

Episode Seven (Surprise)

Polly and Dennis narrowly avoid being killed by the German planes bombs. Norman later spies Grainger giving a package to Vivienne Belling. Mary tries to uncover evidence to prove Grainger's a spy. Also, Norman's mother comes to visit him on his birthday. The next day, however, an even bigger surprise awaits the kids in their secret meeting place (the greenhouse at Westbourne Hall).

Episode Eight (The Pilot)

The kids find an injured German pilot in the greenhouse. The pilot is later arrested, and the kids suspicions of Vivienne Belling deepen when they hear her speaking German to the pilot. Also, in another attempt to get Amy to sell the farm, Grainger pulls some strings to have Luigi moved to Westbourne Hall. That night, Mary follows Grainger and Millington to try and find out what they're up to.

Episode Nine (The Secret Quarry)

The kids find a tunnel leading from an abandoned quarry to Westbourne Hall. Norman and Dennis are caught by Grainger, but are saved by Luigi, who is arrested shortly afterwards for stealing.

Episode Ten (Captured)

The children learn that Grainger and Miss Millington are blackmarketeers. Norman and Mary try to call the police from Westbourne Hall, but are caught by Grainger and Millington and locked in a shed. Seeing them captured, Polly goes off to find a phone, only to bump into Vivienne Belling. Polly attacks her, but is stopped by Mike. Polly leads them to the quarry where Dennis has managed to free Norman and Mary, who trap Grainger and Millington in the shed. The blackmarketeers are arrested, and Vivienne Belling reveals she was trying to capture Grainger the whole time. Mary is moved to Wells Farm, and the charges against Luigi are dropped and he returns to work on the Farm. Norman's mother arrives at the Farm to take Norman home. In the present, Norman is finally reunited with Polly. Characters

   Norman Starkey played by Raymond Pickard
   Dennis Sealey played by Russell Tovey
   Mary Parker played by Josie McCabe
   Polly Hobbs played by Sophie Ward
   Amy Hobbs played by Rosemary Leach
   Miss Millington played by Lesley Joseph
   Philip Grainger played by Guy Henry
   Cyril Jenkins played by Norman Bird
   Luigi Balzoni played by Joseph Alessi
   Vivienne Belling played by Abigail Thaw
   Norman Starkey (adult) played by Keith Barron
   Miss Lee played by Josephine D'Arby
   Cedric David Rom (CD-ROM) played by Roger Kitter
   Mike Johnson played by Terence Maynard
   German pilot played by Reinhard Michaels
   Polly Peters (Hobbs) played by Jeannie Crowther


   "BFI - Film & TV Database - SPYWATCH (1995)". Retrieved 12 February 2008.