Tuesday 24th February – 7th meeting of 2015
Today was a long awaited Tour of BBC Broadcasting House. We met a little later today as our tour was booked for 1.15 pm. The cost £11.50p for seniors and all booking done on-line. From Charing Cross we got Underground to Oxford Circus and walked along Oxford Street to Marks and Spencer and had a drink and something to eat.
We got to Broadcasting House half an hour before tour as it was requested you arrive 20 minutes early. We were directed to the side entrance of the building and here we went through vigilant security messages, x-ray for bags and the wand over our bodies. It was very busy here with lots of people entering. We then went into the Media Cafe area were we were checked in, given id lanyard and sighed in. Our guide told us to look around before the tour started. Here we had a great view of the news rooms and watched the comings and goings of the journalists and quick look around the shop then it was time to start.
Our two guides Mike and Debbie introduced themselves to the group 25 in all. Mike explained what was involved in the tour and also with the help of a large tv scene gave us a short history of the BBC. After this we went back to the gallery and viewing area looking over the news area. Here Debbie explained to us all the different areas, the news desk the media hub, the red carpet the main area of the news room where all the breaking news is transmitted from. This is a large open plan area which has small hub meeting rooms that have transmitting facilities that enables them to be used for broadcasting. Here also is the World News area. This news room is the largest in Europe! It was very busy with many people backwards and forwards around the room!
The next stop was The One Show Studio which is in New Broadcasting House. As we crossed the courtyard we saw a large crowd of people standing waiting and then a car pulled up and Ed Sherrin got out, then a taxi arrived and Taylor Swift appeared, very exciting that’s another two celebs for our list! Once inside the studio Debbie noticed we were missing our two American girls so she quickly went back and got them. They had stayed to see if any more stars were arriving. It was very exciting to be in the actually One Show Studio where the show is transmitted every evening at 7 o’clock. It looked much smaller than I had imaged and also not as glamorous as on tv. Mike explained that it is all the trickery of the cameras, angles, lighting, positioning etc. Each group had a photo taken sitting on the green sofas! Great fun!
Back across the courtyard into Old Broadcasting House where we spotted Alex Jones presenter of The One Show walking into the studio with a cup of coffee in hand! Another celeb spot! We went into a studio for a recording session of The Afternoon Play. This was brilliant. Mike asked for volunteers to take part in ‘Guess Whose Coming to Dinner?’. Five people took the speaking parts and one man helped Debbie with the sound effects. It was very good and entertaining. Part of it was recorded and played back to us at the end and it sounded very good. Well done to the actors!
After this we went into another part of the old building to a studio that has been renovated. The original building was built in 20’s in pure Art Deco and lots of the features have stylish been kept or adjusted to meet with modern recording equipment. This studio is mainly used for radio shows but can be used for television.
We were then taken back to the Media Cafe where we were shown how the News is transmitted. Again two of the group volunteered to be news readers and one lady became the weather girl! This was great fun with Hugh Edwards on screen introducing our news readers and they were expertly reading from Autocues with news clips showing. Then a very nice weather forecast followed! It looked very professional!
This completed the tour which was absolutely brilliant. In my opinion well worth a visit as I really enjoy seeing places and learning about things which we look at everyday and take for granted. Our guides were very enthusiastic and knowledgeable and really made the whole experience very enjoyable.
From here we made our ways home and I for one had had a great time!