This is a brief potted history of my background and experience in sound, to keep up with the latest dubbing news take a look at my Blog section.
My interest in sound really took hold at the Welsh College of Music and Drama 1978-81 (although there are a few previous experiments with a Dansette cassette recorder – playing trumpet duets with myself by judicious application of sticky tape over the erase head … a crude over-dub technique!). Here I had my sound appetite whetted by Geoff Atkins, then a Senior Sound Supervisor in BBC Cardiff who had the job of balancing the BBC Welsh Symphony Orchestra. eventually i persuaded the Beeb to let me in through those hallowed portals starting my career as a Trainee Audio Assistant in Bristol (December 1983). For three months prior to this I attended my “A course training at Woodnorton Hall, the BBC Engineering Training centre.
I arrived at BBC Bristol just in time for all the many Christmas parties (Dec ’83) – a good introduction! My first job was trailing Hugh Pearson on a Nagra recording of the Wassailing ceremony at a Somerset cider press yet another good introduction – this time to mulled cider! Three months later it was back to the training based in London for one month Radio training at the Langham (then the base for studio Manager Radio Training – now a very posh hotel opposite broadcasting House).
I worked across the various fields of sound – (some of them muddy! .. there exists a recording of me getting stuck in mud whilst recording footsteps for the Radio Drama God’s Revolution-1988) – Radio Outside Broadcasts/studios, TV drama, studios and OBs and gained a solid, broad base of practical knowledge from some very talented and experienced practitioners. I eventually specialised in Radio Drama and Film Dubbing.
In 1989 I took the opportunity of joining Childrens Television as an Assistant Producer on a 6 month attachment. I worked in the iconic TV centre (East Tower .. next door to the Blue Peter production offices!). The programme I worked on was ‘What’s That Noise” presented by Craig Charles and produced by Pippa Dyson – it brought together all genres of music to encourage youngsters to listen to different types of music before deciding what to dismiss – I put Napalm Death, Courtney Pine and the Chethams School Orchestra on the same programme!
This attachent proved to me I preferred the creative craft side of the industry to production, and despite being offered a researchers job on Blue Peter I came back to Bristol and became a Dubbing Mixer.
BBC Bristol’s output all through the 90s was massively varied and substantial – Fly on the wall docs such as Driving School & Vets in Practice, Dramas – The Ghost Hunter, Casualty, Maid Marion, countless one off documentaries and all of the Natural History unit output, Wildlife Specials, The Natural World, Wildlife on One as well as David Attenborough’s major series. We were busy! – 3 mixers working flat out! at that point we recruited a fourth mixer.
Through the noughties we continued to produce a vast number of programmes out of the three dubbing theatres. Through this era I was also involved with BBC Press and Publicity putting on sound fx demonstrations at the county shows, as far afield as Cronwall and Scotland.