Outing to BBC Broadcasting House

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to sit on that lime green
sofa on the BBC’s ‘The One Show’, alongside presenters Matt
Baker and Alex Jones, just ask a member of the MNTA.  Where
celebrity guests like the comedian Rob Brydon and ‘Strictly’
contestant and TV journalist, Jeremy Vine, had perched their
posteriors the evening before, some 45 of us (in two sittings, so to
speak), were getting comfy, on the November outing to Broadcasting
House!

After a punctual departure and a smooth ride to London, we arrived at the
visitors’ entrance to the BBC in Portland Place and stepped into
the world of broadcasting.  Lined up for security clearance
beside a life-size Dalek (don’t touch me or you will be
exterminated!) we watched the rolling newsreels broadcasting to the
world from the BBC’s state-of-the-art newsroom, which opened in
2012.

Our expert and entertaining guides, Keith & Kevin, explained how the
BBC had burrowed deep underground to use the space beside the original
building to create a multimedia broadcast centre with the largest
live news room in Europe.  Close-circuit TV gave us a view of
the subterranean studios.  We could also see the newsroom at
work from the glass-fronted viewing gallery, where we spied BBC
health editor, Hugh Pym and his colleagues at an editorial meeting.

We crossed the New World piazza to ‘The One Show’ studio where a
short VT, introduced by Matt Baker, welcomed us to the studio and
replayed highlights from the show.  From the 2 Ks we learned
about the craft of the cameraman and technicians, from the Jimmy Jib
operator to the Roving Mike.

Back in the piazza with its installation of pavement art by Mark Pimlott,
featuring the names of the shipping forecast areas etched into the
flagstones, we admired the crystal glass memorial sculpture on top of
the new wing, which, at 10 o’clock each evening, transmits a beam
of light into the night.

In Portland Place, we entered the original Art Deco building, dating
from 1931, with its Eric Gill statues of Ariel and Prospero,
representing the principles of freedom, without censorship.  In
the foyer, we passed the statue of the Sower ‘broadcasting’ his
seed and, in the lobby, the tapestry presented to the BBC by the
‘Free French’ in gratitude for its assistance during world war
two.

Then came the highlight of our tour and, for some of us, the chance to try
our skill at news reading, weather presenting and radio drama, on the
inter-active set, under the tutelage of our expert guides.

A timely departure at 3.15 pm got us away from London before the rush
hour and safely back to Marlow.  Thank you to Sue Glyn-Woods for
organising such an informative and enjoyable day.  


Kristian Perry