MAY 2020


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Working on the the vehicle restoration is gathering speed at
Ward Jones Commercials.
Some activities on the MCR21 Project have been put on hold due to Coronavirus. However Ward Jones Commercials, the vehicle restorers, remain open and they have found that they have more time to devote to restoring MCR21. Plans are in place to turn the dirty blue paintwork into the original gleaming dark green BBC livery. There is still a bit more bodywork to do, but many of the damaged and corroded parts have been replaced.
MCR21 was one of ten units built by Pye TVT and delivered to the BBC - starting in July 1963 and finishing in mid 1964. They looked identical apart from MCR27 and 28, which had alterations to the bodywork at the rear and internal accoustic treatment. These mobile control rooms were the last B&W units to be bought by the BBC. In 1967, with CMCR1 arriving ( the first of many colour units), the B&W units were either converted to 2-camera colour units or made redundant. I believe that MCR21 was the first of these ten units to be taken out of service as a B&W unit, sometime in 1968 with the Pye Mk VI cameras being transferred to the Hippodrome Theatre, Golders Green. In the first half of 1969 MCR21was converted to colour, equipped with 2 Philips PC 60 colour cameras. Below is the story of the ten Pye MCRs. Lots of photos but basically all the units look very similar.
MCR19 arrived at the BBC on 22nd July 1963.
Here it is at BBC Television Centre.
Jerry Clegg remembers. 'MCR19 arrived in Manchester on 22/11/1967 and  became the first North 1. It was withdrawn from service in Autumn 1969, when replaced by a colour unit.  MCR19 went to Edinburgh  and was fitted out with two Phillips PC60 colour cameras. MCR19 was only in service in Manchester for less than two years.'
MCR20  was delivered on 27th September 1963.
I don't have a picture of the unit but I know it went straight to Wales and spent its whole life there, until it was sold to the Bulgarian TV service in August 1972

MCR21  was delivered on 12th November 1963
It remained in London throughout its service with the BBC
                          Top - Covering Golf with Support Vehicles in 1967
        Below- 1   Cherbourg in the 1970s as a colour unit covering
                   a 'Seaside Special'
           2  In 1979 Brian Summers bought the unit shortly after it left the BBC and retained it as a colour unit in its new blue livery
MCR22  was delivered in February 1964
Although MCR22 initially had been going to the West Region in Bristol. However this unit was kept in London until it moved to Manchester. Jerry Clegg remembers 'MCR22  arrived in November 1967 becoming the first ‘North2’ and was also withdrawn in Autumn 1969. It was sold to Jordan. I remember it being prepared and checked out in base.’
MCR23   was delivered in December 1963
Like MCR21, this unit stayed in London throughout its service at the BBC. In the photo above, MCR21 and MCR23 are shown, along with the support vehicles and crews, at the London OB base at Kendal Avenue, before heading to Wembley to televise the 1966 World Cup. MCR23 was 'mothballed' in 1969. In 1975 it was brought back into service with two Fernesh colour cameras to replace the London Production Unit, which was involved in a traffic accident.
Shortly after Brian Summers had bought MCR21, He decided to buy MCR23. For sometime  it was stored in a car park at Pinewood Studios and then used as a music room at  a school. Subsequently the school sold the vehicle to Brian's friend, Paul Marshall.
The top photo shows MCR23 featuring in an episode of Dr Who. Probably when it was redundant in the early 1970s. The second when it was used as a music room. Paul Marshall decided to equip the vehicle with Marconi cameras dating from the 1950s.  It has been earning its keep being hired out  as a prop to film and TV companies making dramas set in the 1950s. The third picture shows the unit being used in the Netflix production, the Crown which recreated the 1953 Coronation. ( photo Golden Age TV Recreations.) MCR23 is now part of the BECG collection
MCR24 arrived at the BBC in April 1964

MCR24 became Unit 8 in London.  In 1968 it was transferred to Northern Ireland. It served there for several years into the early 1970s. Photo courtesy of Alan Hyndman.
MCRs 25 and 26 must have arrived in late 1964
In time to be used in the massive television coverage of Sir Winston Churchill's Funeral
The photo above shows both units at Wimbledon in1965

MCR25 was London based throughout its service. According to Robin Sutherland, who provided me with many of the crew/unit lists, MCR25 was the last B&W unit to be in service at Kendal Avenue.

MCR26 was also in service at Kendal avenue at the start on 1970 before going to Wood Norton, the BBC's training centre,
MCR27 was delivered to BBC Scotland in 1964

It did travel to London in January 1965 to help with the coverage of Sir Winston Churchill's Funeral. It was converted to a 2-camera colour unit in the early 1970s until it was replaced by a Link unit ( Scot 2), equipped with Link 110 and LDK cameras.
MCR27 photos  - William Brown
MCR28 was delivered to Bristol in late 1964 to serve the BBC West Region
The unit remained in the West until its last broadcast. According to Elizabeth Stanbury a P.A. at the time that was in April 1970, a football match at Plymouth. It was used again to cover the the General Election in June that year. MCR28 spent the rest of its days being used by the Open University. But perhaps the most prestigious event, covered by the unit, was the Beatles contribution to the 'Our World' transmitted from the Abbey Road studios in June 1967.
Photos of the Beatles outside Abbey Road studios in front of MCR28
Below are the names of the people who crewed the London based MCR Units in 1966 and 1970.
Courtesy of Bernie Davis and Robin Sutherland
It is more than likely that all the Pye MCRs went to the scrapyard, apart from MCRs 21 and 23. Thankfully they were saved from that fate by Brian Summers. Of course, if you know  that any of the other units survived, please do get in touch.    Nick Gilbey
All the trustees of the Broadcast Television Technology Trust are volunteers and have been contributing to the MCR21 Project. The latest volunteer to become a trustee is Jeremy Owen. His financial and business expertise is most useful for the Trust. Jeremy is now our treasurer.
Volunteer, Rob Burn (pictured), has set up a youtube channel for us. Rob is also collecting all the information about the MCR21 Project which is needed for the evaluation document. This information will be used by our professional evaluator, Natalie Chambers, who will create the document and submit it to the Heritage Fund. It is an essential part of the funding process set out by the Heritage Fund.
Trustee, Brian Summers, seen here designing the metalwork to support the engineers desk in MCR21. Brian is coordinating all the work that needs doing to restore the equipment inside the unit.
Brian is being supported by a small group of volunteers who are working to restore/test equipment. Current work varies from repairing and testing the monitors to making some of the missing knobs for the equipment using a 3D printer.
More Volunteers would be most Welcome

There are many jobs to do - perhaps cleaning up connectors, helping create a crowdfunding campaign, working on upholstering the seats or organising our successful ebay sales of redundant equipment. We also need the the help of those with carpentry or metalwork skills.
Above are two photos of the engineers talkback unit - The first taken in 1964 - The second taken recently and needing a little TLC
There are lots of ways you can help.
Please do get in touch with Brian Summers or Nick Gilbey  -
or telephone Nick 07831 219957
1964 & 2019 Split Screen View at Goodwood -Press to view video
Trustee, Nick Gilbey, has been working on the displays which will feature both inside and outside MCR21. Above the photo of Nick, is the link to see how a race at the Goodwood Revival could have been covered by the 4-camera MCR21 OB against the 12-camera Cloudbass OB, which televised the race last year. The outputs from 4-cameras, at last year's race, were recorded and will be played out on the monitors in MCR21 along with the audio of the directors instructions to the camera operators and the commentary. To achieve this, Nick would appreciate any help and advice that someone could offer.
Inside Cloudbass 1 showing the many feeds from the cameras around the track, which director, Westbury Gillett, can cut to.
The 12 camera positions around the track shown on the monitors in Cloudbass OB7
Inside MCR21 - The recordings, from four of the Cloudbass cameras around the racetrack, will be be replayed in sync on the 4:3 monochrome monitors in MCR21
These are the 4 camera positions which we have recorded and which will be replayed in MCR21
We have been successful in raising over £5,000 towards the cost of the MCR21 Project. So thank you to the donations from our supporters who have given us money but also equipment which we have sold at radio fairs and ebay. The budget for the Project is £110,000. Thank you again to the National Lottery players who are donating £99,000  towards the Project, but we still have to raise the balance. Just as important is to have money to sustain the Project after MCR21 is restored. Much of the time MCR21 will be exhibited at museums throughout England but there will be some overheads that will need to be paid.  That is why we are starting - Friends of MCR21 . We would very much welcome a monthly payment by standing order, of whatever amount, from our friends. As well as receiving our newsletters, they will receive invitations to MCR21 events and other benefits. If you are willing to become a Friend, please email either Brian Summers or Nick Gilbey for details. If you feel that you can make a  one off donation in these troubled times, please use the donate button below.
Brian.  email:  or Nick
or call Nick 07831 219957
2019 Video Review

2019 Review
Newsletter March 2020
Newsletter Feb 2019
Newsletter May 2019
NewsletterJuly 2019
Newsletter Sept 2019
Newsletter Nov 2019
Copyright © May 2020 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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