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!