A gloomy January day was no obstacle for Media Society as members and non-members enjoyed their first event of 2016: a trip to BBC Broadcasting House. Our group was eclectic, with students studying a wide range of subjects from all across Europe, and included people who hoped to work in the broadcasting industry and those who simply wanted to gain an inside look at a British institution.
The intimate tour provided both of these things and more, looking at news, radio and television across the BBC network. We started with a peek at the behind the scenes cameras for the news studios and radio areas which we couldn’t visit in person, with our knowledgeable tour guides providing a commentary on what is happening outside of the studio areas we see on TV.
One set we did get the opportunity to set foot in was the studio for The One Show, surprisingly smaller in reality. Actually built to house the BBC Shop, the studio was rehoused after the original building they broadcasted from was closed; the new home for the One Show became a little set looking out onto both the BBC Plaza and a branch of Cafe Nero! All of the cameras were labelled with names, which is to make it easier to direct the camera operators but also quite fun.
After picking up a selection of DJ cards (the One Show entrance is also the entrance to BBC Radio 1), we headed over to Old Broadcasting House, the original home of the radio staple. The building is full of the BBC’s rich history, with old logos on the floor and what was once one of the world’s fastest lifts, now regrettably out of order. The Radio Theatre is another part of the BBC’s heritage, the site of radio plays BBC concerts still to this day, but almost unrecognisable from its original state – the floor has been raised almost 6 feet and many of the art deco features which were originally above the doorway are now at floor level.
Before we left there was an opportunity to have a go at news reading, weather presenting and creating a radio play. All of these were harder than they looked but great fun: having the chance to create a mock news report, trying to read an autocue and then keeping a straight face as the weather presenter struggled with the green screen was a highlight for me. The wide array of audio props for radio plays were fascinating, even if we did manage to temporarily break the champagne cork!
We gained a unique insight into life at one of the most prominent broadcasters of today and the day was not complete without selfies with the TARDIS and a trip to the gift shop. It was a wonderfully tailored event and those who want to take steps into the media industry should not miss their next workshop on filmmaking on Wednesday 24th February, which is just £2 or free if you buy membership. Keep an eye on their Facebook page for further details and buy your tickets from the SU website.
Image provided by RHUL Media Society (via Facebook), used with permission.