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  MCR21 PROGRESS

PLUS MORE

MAY 2019   
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The Broadcast Television Technology Trust has some very good news. The National Lottery Heritage Fund has given the Trust a grant of £99,000 towards the MCR21 Project. Thank you very much to the Heritage Fund and all the National Lottery players.

 

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WHAT NEXT

We can now get going on the Project to restore MCR21 and the activities which will tell the story of this 1960s television outside broadcast unit. We are having a Project launch at Amberley Museum on the 16th,17th and 18th August, then MCR21 will travel on to Ward Jones Commercials in High Wycombe for the vehicle restoration (possible six months) then to Ely where Megahertz have agreed to do the re- equipping/wiring for a fixed amount,provided they can have MCR21 for up to year and work on it during their downtime.

So by spring 2021 we should be able to launch MCR21 in London - possibly outside BBC Broadcasting House or the Science Museum - both organisations have been backing the Project. From there, the unit will go to Amberley Museum in Sussex for a season then to the British Motor Museum in Gaydon, Warwickshire.  Students from Royal Holloway London University will be filming the progress of the restoration and interviewing the BBC staff who worked on the unit to bring live pictures from some memorable events

WHAT DID MCR21 DO IN 1964
 
Fortunately for us, Peter Cook, who joined the crew of MCR21 in 1964 as a trainee camera operator, kept a diary
 
'I joined LO1 on MCR21. The first task I had with the scanner was 3 or 4 ‘rig’ days at LTA Wimbledon tennis where the truck was derigged into a wooden hut for the duration of the Championship. July saw us at Brands Hatch for motor racing, Bristol for Davis Cup tennis and Hove for Cricket. August included Proms at Albert Hall , racing at Newbury, Ipswich and athletics from the Whit city stadium. September took us to Butlin’s at Clacton for Songs of Praise then Farnborough Airshow, before returning to Kensington for the last night of the Proms. Then the Royal College of Surgeons and Leatherhead. In October we travelled north to Wetherby races then Ascot races. For the General Election we were in Bush House, (one of the guests was David Frost) at the time when Harold Wilson was elected PM. Then we did a Brian Rix Farce at the Whitehall Theatre then Dance Championships at the Lyceum ballroom. November started with the State Opening of Parliament (Wilson’s overture) followed by the Festival of Remembrance (RAH), continued with Cheltenham Gold Cup, Top of the Form, a concert and then Boxing at the Albert Hall then in December another concert at the Fairfield Hall in Croydon. Diary notes says Whitehall, probably another Rix Farce, Hampstead, Bernado’s, Marquee club (Jazz 625) and Richmond ice skating.'
 
The first year for MCR21 was certainly a busy one. The start of BBC2 had meant considerable more outside broadcasts which meant that the London fleet would soon have a new home at Kendal Avenue.
 
 
The Crew of MCR21 LO1
 
LO1 (London1) was the operating name for the Unit which was allocated MCR21
I attach a photo of the crew alongside one of the Pye Mk 6 IO cameras. L to R, Harry Coventry (snr. No1 cameraman) Mike ?? (SA1) Selwyn Cox (no2) Adrian Hudson (racks) Peter Cook (to trainee) Andy Tallack (no3) Mike Swain (standing, racks) Derek Thomas (racks) Bob Buttimere (no4) Howard Arnell (racks) Roger Pearce (vision supervisor).

The first photo was taken at an OB coming from Hendon swimming bat
hs. The second was taken at the Marquee Club during rehearsals for a BBC 2 programme in December 1964,
' Jazz 625'

Peter Cook

 
Harry Coventry remembers.

' I  was 9 months in the role as senior cameraman and I believe that is me on the camera shown. Selwyn Cox , Andy Tallack and Bob Buttermere were the other cameramen, with new arrival Peter Cook as trainee. The producer was Terry Hennerbury, a Light  Entertainment senior producer, who seemed slightly amused to be using an OB crew for the first time. The Unit parked in the street outside, with cables flown over the pavement and into the tiny Marquee club, which was tight in the extreme, once the audience were in. I think we only used three cameras, one on a small dolly (shown) and two in fixed positions. After the show Terry H. departed, pleased at the result, but bemoaning the cost of a new gearbox for his Mercedes! '

You can see a recent interview with Terry Hennerbury on a recreation of 'Jazz 625' transmitted on BBC4. -' Jazz 625 Live: For One Night Only' on Friday 3rd March.  It is still available on iplayer. You can see an except from the Marquee about 55 minutes into the programme. Terry Hennerbury talks about the use of close -ups and you can see this in the excepts. From the photo above, it looks like camera one, Harry Coventry was taking this shot.
 
Our Grant and Volunteering
The grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund covers 80% of the budget for the MCR21 Project costs of which we have received the first installment. We do have to find another £24,000. We have applications in to other funding organisations and we will be starting a fundraising campaign very shortly.

We are registering the BTTT charity with the HMRC so that we can claim  back the  tax from donors. You can donate money by clicking on the donate button on the BTTT website or set up a standing order payable to our account.
Broadcast TV Tech Trust
Sort code 40-47-08,
Account no. 22502453


Broadcast Equipment
  If you have some equipment you would like to donate to the Trust. We will find a new home for it and, in doing so, raise money for the MCR21 Project.
 
Volunteers Needed
There are many tasks that can be done from home
 
We need help publicising the Project
We need help organising a fundraising campaign
We need help creating displays which will tell the story of MCR21
We need someone to carry on the work researching the history of MCR21 involving visiting the BBC Written Archive
 
We need help from people, who live not too far from Camberley, to remove the equipment inside MCR21 before it goes to the vehicle restorers at High Wycombe.

Our Project Launch is going to be at Amberley Museum in Sussex. one weekend in the summer - date soon to be decided - again we will need help during that weekend

We would like to recruit another Trustee to help with the administration
(Honorary  Post)
 
Please get in touch if you would like more information about any of the roles please contact  Brian Summers or Nick Gilbey
Brian -   brian@bttt.org.uk
Nick -    nick@mcr21.org.uk or Tel 07831 219957

 
 
Sir Winston Churchill's Funeral
 
This eight hour long broadcast was the largest outside broadcast that MCR21 took part in. MCR21(London Unit 1) was outside St Paul's Cathedral along with two other London Pye TVT units, providing 10 cameras to cover the ceremony inside as  well  outside, as the procession arrived and departed. It was a very complex outside broadcast with the BBC and ITV  jockeying for the best camera positions.

This state occasion brought together nearly all of BBC TV's outside broadcast fleet for the day's transmission. Fortunately by 1965, BBC Television had considerable resources. The ten new Pye TVT units had been delivered and there were still some older units operating.
 
This was not the case in 1953 when the BBC embarked televising another great state occasion
The Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II
This event is generally accepted as a turning point in the fortunes of television. Up to this point, BBC radio was considered the main role of the BBC and consequently received the greatest share of the BBC's income. Now everybody wanted to see this great event and the BBC obliged by putting up temporary transmitters all over the UK.
 
The Vision Circuits for The 1953 Coronation
and the programme for transmitter installations

an excerpt from a publication of the
Institute of Electrical Engineers
by
W S Procter, J L Pulling MA and F Williams BSc

 
Notes from Brian Summers

Outline of work to be done
 
There is a great deal of work to be done before MCR21 can go to the vehicle refurbishment garage. All the interior equipment, both original and later will have to be removed along with as much as the cabling as possible.
 
I have made a start removing equipment, two photos are attached showing a few gaps, but the job has hardly started. All the monitor stack framework is to be removed and the 19” bays at the front too, none of this is original. When the contents have gone careful measurements can be taken for the interior reconstruction drawings.
 
The original equipment and some of the original cabling will have to come out and be carefully stored away ready for re-installation.  Measurements of the cable lengths will be needed to give an idea of the amount of replacement cable needed.

Photos
Interior of MCR21 showing some of the equipment which has to be removed
 
We have been giving some thought as how best to deal with the teak roof decking? Considering their age they are not too bad a condition, but the steel screws that attach them are badly corroded. It is hoped that we can remove all the wood decking clean and protect it with linseed oil?? the decking can then be stored for replacement after the painting is done.  Removing the decking leaves the steel support cross members accessible for attention by the re-furbishers.  It is hoped that volunteer workers would be able to do this as it would save quite a bit of our funds.
 
Some of the original metal fittings will need the be recreated in the original style, fortunately I have a few of the old parts as patterns to be copied, but the work is outside my area of skill and a skilled metal worker is needed.
 
We don't yet have a timetable for completing this preparation work, but it needs doing soon and to this effect we plan to have “work days” were several people can help. I think midweek days have promise, Wednesday or Thursday.
 
Another problem is where to store the removed equipment. 
The equipment falls into 3 catorgoies:
Original equipment to be re-installed
Items to join the TVcameramuseum collection 
Unwanted items to be swapped or sold.  
Local good storage is sought.  
 
Brian Summers 18 May 2019
 
nick@mcr21.org.uk or brian@mcr21.org.uk
I would very much like to hear from you for any information about MCR21 or the other 1960s BBC units, so please do give me a call.  
Nick Gilbey
Tel 07831 219957

our website  is www.bttt.org.uk - slowly developing
Copyright © February 2019  Broadcast Television Technology Trust, All rights reserved.


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MCR21 · The Abbots House · The Street · Charmouth, Dorset DT6 6QF · United Kingdom

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