Sunday, August 21, 2011

But I Couldn't Find The Broom Cupboard


This weekend I went to visit the famous doughnut-shaped BBC Television Centre, which has played home to nearly all of your favourite British shows of TV history past, and also still some of your current faves. Strictly Come Dancing (which comes live from Studio 1, the back wall of which is in the above photo with 'Television Centre' on), Blue Peter, BBC News, Live & Kicking (and Going Live!), and the Broom Cupboard (anyone remember that!?!) and countless sit-coms and chat shows were all filmed here, the list goes on and on and on.

The site is currently up for sale, as part of measures to address a lack of spending cash-dollar in the BBC, which I think is a real shame given its rich history - but as its days are numbered, what better time to partake in a tour of the building?

 Bring Me Sunshine

The tour is really interesting, you get to see inside the news centre, inside Studio 1 and explained all the ridiculous intricacies of how to set up the custom built studios for a live set. They also give you the chance to see some of their star dressing rooms as well, and hear some of the stories of the countless stars the centre has played host to since the 60s.

Sadly, however, you don't get to see the Broom Cupboard. Or Edd the Duck. I know I know, but don't let that put you off!

 The Helios statue in the center of the doughnut

I mean, more than anything it was such a thrill to stand in the same concrete halls that some of the world's most famous people have been to. The tour guides had loads of stories of some of the craaazy things those celebs get up to. Mariah Carey apparently requested a box of puppies as part of her rider once, so she could stroke them to "relax" before her appearance - AMAZING. Totes on the same page with that idea. However, the good old BBC politely declined to provide. Wish I could have seen that conversation.

Studio 1 - The same studio doors the lovely couples of Strictly burst through straight after performing their dances! 

The building is very much of its time - it reminded me in many ways of my old school building, with classic 60s fixtures and fittings. In fact I'm pretty sure they could have got away with filming Grange Hill in the TV Centre corridors, it's definitely got that vibe. But the datedness of the building just serves to remind you of just HOW MUCH history is sitting within those walls. It's fascinating.

 Blue Peter, the world's longest running children's show - the studio board from the last time it was filmed at TVC this summer. It's now moved to the BBC studios in Manchester

The tour also gives you the chance to flex your presenting muscles and test your TV charm. You get to have a go at using the technology that is used to present the weather (so confusing!), and also get the chance to volunteer at using a dummy studio to present the news! My trusty housemate KINDLY volunteered me, and then videoed it, but there's is no way on God's green earth that anyone else is ever seeing that. Let's just say, I ain't no Moira Stuart.

Back of Studio 1

I kept my eye out for any famous faces that might have been working there that day, but as it was a weekend it was quieter than normal and I was out of luck. In hindsight I really should have booked for a Saturday once Strictly is back up and running again, as all the cast would then be in the building rehearsing for that evening's show - GODDAMMIT! Maybe I'll go again - the tours are only a tenner, so really cheap fun thing to do, so I highly recommend going before it is sold and it's too late!


Vale ♥ said...

I have been reading all your posts about New York. I went there for the first time this summer and got obsessed with it ! I love the way you write :). I wanted to follow you but you don't seem to have a button for it, so I am gonna bookmark your website to get back ! Kisses

Fashion and Cookies

amy said...

It's sad when something so beautiful fades away. You are so lucky to have grasped it's wonder before it's sold.

Love the photographs xx

sweetness xx
hope to hear from you*!

everyonescelebrity said...

SO retro and SO 70's! Love it!

ps. thanks for visiting my blog and commenting! I'm returning the favour :)


lizchewy said...

The tour of the studio looks so interesting!! I have always been very interested in visiting a TV centre and see how things work behind the scenes!!!


devorelebeaumonstre. said...

nice! xo

Harriet said...

What an awesome building. It's so sad that the BBC have to leave - it's such an iconic place.

rebecca said...

i can't believe this place is up for sale! i've only ever been once, and it was so, so fun. i might have to go back and go on a tour while i can!

Emma said...

Oh man, what a brilliant place, absolutely covered in history... absolutely gutted it's up for sale. x

danniekate said...

i think it's so sad it's being sold. i'll miss seeing it on the news! xx

littledollface said...

Great ideas, I had no ideas they offer tours. I deffo want to burst through the Strictly Come Dancing doors at some point in my life. x

Jazzy E (hivenn) said...

I wonder who would buy this kind of place and what they'd use it for. Hopefully something interesting. x hivenn


Love it!!
pass to my blog and follow :D

Sam said...

That looks so interesting! I really like it

Little Lj said...

Vale: Aw so sweet. Because of you I've added RSS feed buttons to my sidebar - good spot. Hope you've found a way to keep in touch! Will check out your blog too :o)

Harriet: I know right, quite depressing, so much history there!

Helen: Do it do it! Book a tour soon, and if it's on a weekend, you'll prob see the set all set up and bump into Brucey!! Mazin.