Broadcasting House

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"New Broadcasting House" redirects here. For the BBC's former north-west of England headquarters, see New Broadcasting House (Manchester).
BBC Broadcasting House
New Broadcasting House
Broadcasting House by Stephen Craven.jpg
Broadcasting House and the new eastern extension
Broadcasting House is located in Greater London
Broadcasting House
Location within Greater London
Alternative names BH, BBC Broadcasting House
General information
Architectural style Art Deco
Location London
Address BBC Broadcasting House, Portland Place, LONDON, W1A 1AA
Country United Kingdom
Coordinates 51°31′06″N 0°08′37″W / 51.518409°N 0.143691°W / 51.518409; -0.143691Coordinates: 51°31′06″N 0°08′37″W / 51.518409°N 0.143691°W / 51.518409; -0.143691
Current tenants BBC News
BBC Radio 1
BBC Radio 1Xtra
BBC Radio 3
BBC Radio 4
BBC Radio 4 Extra
BBC World Service
BBC World News
BBC Vision
Construction started 21 November 1928
Inaugurated 15 March 1932
Owner BBC
Height 34 m (112 ft)
Technical details
Floor count 9 above ground, 3 below ground
Design and construction
Architect George Val Myer, Raymond McGrath
Civil engineer Marmaduke T Tudsbery
Website
bbc.co.uk/broadcastinghouse

Broadcasting House is the headquarters of the BBC, in Portland Place and Langham Place, London. The first radio broadcast was made on 15 March 1932, and the building was officially opened two months later, on 15 May. The main building is in Art Deco style, with a facing of Portland stone over a steel frame. It is a Grade II* listed building and includes the BBC Radio Theatre, where music and speech programmes are recorded in front of a studio audience, and lobby that was used as a location for filming the 1998 BBC television series In the Red.[1]

As part of a major consolidation of the BBC's property portfolio in London, Broadcasting House has been extensively renovated and extended. This involved the demolition of post-war extensions on the eastern side of the building, replaced by a new wing completed in 2005. The wing was named the "John Peel Wing" in 2012, after the disc jockey. BBC London, BBC Arabic Television and BBC Persian Television are housed in the new wing, which also contains the reception area for BBC Radio 1 and BBC Radio 1Xtra (the studios themselves are in the new extension to the main building).

The main building was refurbished, and an extension built to the rear. The radio stations BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio 4 Extra and the BBC World Service transferred to refurbished studios within the building. The extension links the old building with the John Peel Wing, and includes a new combined newsroom for BBC News, with studios for the BBC News channel, BBC World News and other news programming. The move of news operations from BBC Television Centre completed in March 2013.[2]

The official name of the building is Broadcasting House but the BBC now also uses the term new Broadcasting House (with a small 'n') in its publicity referring to the new extension rather than the whole building, with the original building known as old Broadcasting House.[3]

Construction[edit]

Ariel between Wisdom and Gaiety by Eric Gill

Construction of Broadcasting House began in 1928. Programmes transferred gradually to the building. On 15 March 1932 the first musical programme was given by the bandleader Henry Hall and the BBC Dance Orchestra. Hall also wrote and performed, with his Dance Band, Radio Times, the name of the BBC's schedule publication.[4]

The first news bulletin was read by Stuart Hibberd on 18 March. The last transmission from Savoy Hill was on 14 May, and Broadcasting House officially opened on 15 May 1932. George Val Myer designed the building in collaboration with the BBC's civil engineer, M. T. Tudsbery. The interiors were the work of Raymond McGrath, an Australian-Irish architect. He directed a team that included Serge Chermayeff and Wells Coates and designed the vaudeville studio, the associated green and dressing rooms, and the dance and chamber music studios in a flowing Art Deco style.

The building is steel framed and faced using Portland stone. The radio studios were in the central core, with the offices encasing them on the outside, so that they could be away from the noise of the radio operations and have access to daylight.[5] Objections by local residents caused the structure to be changed. The east side of the building blocked out the light, and after complaints and seeking the right of ancient lights, the building was altered so that the east side had a sloped roof. Underground structures, including hundred-year-old sewers, presented problems during construction. The building is above the Bakerloo line of the London Underground: the Victoria line was tunnelled beneath in the 1960s, and presented problems for construction of the Egton Wing (see below).[6] Noise from passing trains is audible within the radio theatre, but generally imperceptible in recordings.

Prospero and Ariel by Eric Gill

The ground floor was fitted with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the street, as it was believed that to finance such a project (costing £25,000,000 in today's money) they would need to let the ground floor as a retail unit. The rapid expansion of the BBC meant this never occurred.

The building showcases works of art, most prominently the statues of Prospero and Ariel (from Shakespeare's The Tempest) by Eric Gill. Their choice was fitting since Prospero was a magician and scholar, and Ariel a spirit of the air, in which radio waves travel. There was, reportedly, controversy over some features of the statues when built and they were said to have been modified. They were reported to have been sculpted by Gill as God and Man, rather than Prospero and Ariel, and that there is a small carved picture of a beautiful girl on the back of Prospero. Additional carvings of Ariel are on the exterior in many bas-reliefs, some by Gill, others by Gilbert Bayes.[7][8][9] The reception area contains a statue of 'The sower' by Gill.

The original building is a Grade II* listed building, and the BBC works with English Heritage on its maintenance.

Renovation[edit]

Broadcasting House, beginning in 2003, underwent major renovation during the BBC's W1 Programme,[10] with the aim of refurbishing the building and combining a number of the BBC's operations in a new extension. This houses the television and radio operations of BBC News, relocated from Television Centre; the BBC World Service relocated from Bush House on 12 July 2012,[11] and BBC Radio, with the exception of BBC Radio 5 Live and 5 Live Sports Extra, which have moved to Salford Quays.

To make way for the renovation, BBC Radio 2 and BBC 6 Music moved from Broadcasting House to new studios in nearby Western House,[12] where they will remain.[13]

The building work was completed in two phases. It began with the demolition of two post-war extensions to the original building.

"The redevelopment was part of a wider cost-saving strategy to consolidate the BBC’s property portfolio and centralise its London operation. This will ultimately produce savings of more than £700m over the remaining 21-year life of the BBC lease on Broadcasting House."[14][15]

First phase[edit]

Refurbished reception in Broadcasting House

The first phase consisted of the renovation of the original building, which was starting to show its age and needed structural repair, and a new wing to the east.[16]

In the old building the sloped east roof was taken off and many of the rooms stripped back to their walls, although much of the Art Deco architecture was retained and preserved. Much of the work focused on the lower walls and ceilings, which did not include Art Deco features. The reception area was renovated to include a new desk, while retaining the message and statue as the attention piece. Many rooms had ceilings removed, such as the south tower, and new reinforcement joists were added.

The new east wing, named after John Peel

The new Egton wing is roughly the same shape as the main building, with a modern design and window arrangement but retaining features such as Portland stone. Towards the rear a large block was created in the side, mirroring that created in the main building when the sloping roof was removed.

The design of the extension, intended to equal the original in "architectural creativity", was carried out by MacCormac Jamieson Prichard. Construction was completed in 2005 and the refurbished Broadcasting House and the new Egton wing were opened by Queen Elizabeth II on 20 April 2006 as part of her 80th birthday celebrations.[17] All areas of the Egton Wing were fully fitted out and completed by 2007.

In 2012, it was announced by the then Director-General Mark Thompson that the Egton Wing would be renamed the 'John Peel Wing' to commemorate the late Radio 1 Disc jockey, whom he described as a "great radio talent".[18] Thompson described the wing as a "fitting tribute to a man who personified so much of what the BBC stands for". Later that year, the naming was placed in doubt when Peel was reported to have had a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old girl in the 1960s,[19] allegations which followed the Jimmy Savile sexual abuse scandal.

It houses BBC London, BBC Arabic Television and BBC Persian Television, together with the reception area for BBC Radio 1 and BBC Radio 1Xtra.

Second phase[edit]

The connecting wing between old and new buildings

The second phase was the creation of the large wing to the rear of the building, joining the two buildings, and creating a plaza between them. The original architects were replaced for not agreeing to cost-related revisions, as Sir Richard MacCormac was unwilling to sacrifice the quality of his design.[20] Construction was completed by Bovis Lend Lease[21] in 2010, and control handed over to the BBC in 2011. While the rebuilding process was under way, many BBC radio stations moved to other buildings near Portland Place.

The extension contains the BBC News and Journalism departments, and state-of-the-art technical equipment and new studios to house the BBC News bulletins on television, the BBC News Channel and BBC World News, the BBC Arabic Television service and the BBC Persian Television service. At the heart of this is a new newsroom, the largest live newsroom in the world.[17]

A walkway above the newsroom allows the public to view the work of journalists, connecting the foyer to the Radio Theatre and a new café for staff and the public. Complemented by the outdoor plaza, which could act as an outdoor arena and theatre, this is designed to engage the public with the television and radio making process.[17] The extension is glass-covered in the plaza area and curved to contrast both wings either side and to continue the glass on both sides high up the building. On the Portland Place side, it continues the same use of Portland stone and glass as in Egton wing.

On Monday 18 March 2013 at 1pm, following the BBC News Channel's final broadcast from Television Centre, the first news programme from Broadcasting House was aired: the BBC News at One, on BBC One and the BBC News Channel. BBC World News was the first of BBC's news services to move into the new building on Monday 14 January 2013, beginning with "GMT" at 12 noon.

Queen Elizabeth II officially opened the extension on 7 June 2013.[22] The second phase development won the ' Programme of the Year' award at the 2013 annual awards of the Association for Project Management.[23]

Studios[edit]

Original[edit]

When built, Broadcasting House contained 22 radio studios[24][25] for all programme genres, in the art-deco style with an emphasis on both looks and practicality. The overall practicality of the studios changed rapidly as a result of the limitations of the time and the changing nature of broadcasting and the uses of the studios. These studios were:

Number Name Designer Designed use
8A Military Band studio Serge Chermayeff Designed for large band and vaudeville performances.[26]
8B Small Debates studio Serge Chermayeff A small informally designed studio to encourage lively and confident debate.[27]
7A Production studio Wells Coates Acoustically dead studio, used for one section of a drama.[28]
7B Production studio Wells Coates Used for speech in a play, drama, and piano performances.[28]
7C Production studio Wells Coates Acoustically dead small drama studio.[28]
7D Effects studio Wells Coates Small effects studio for producing foley.[28]
7E Gramophone Effects studio Wells Coates Small studio for producing effects from or involving gramophones.[28]
6A Production studio Wells Coates Double height, large production studio for drama productions.[29]
6B Production studio Wells Coates Small drama studio.[29]
6C Production studio Wells Coates Acoustically dead small drama studio.[29]
6D Effects studio Wells Coates Main effects studio for the production of foley, with different floor coverings and coverings on the main table to achieve different effects, containing items including a wind machine and a water tank.[30]
6E Gramophone Effects studio Wells Coates Small studio for producing effects from or involving gramophones.[31]
4A News studio Wells Coates Acoustically dead small studio for reading news bulletins. Contained gramophone records to be played in the event of an interruption.[32]
4B News studio Wells Coates Acoustically dead small news studio with record players.[32]
3A Production studio Serge Chermayeff A double-height large studio used for Children's Hour, chamber music recitals and the BBC Dance Orchestra.[33]
3B Talks studio Serge Chermayeff A small talks studio for unrehearsed debates.[33]
3C Talks studio Serge Chermayeff An acoustically dead small talks studio for unrehearsed debates.[33]
3D Library Talks studio Dorothy Warren Trotter A small talks studio for speeches and debates. It was decorated in the style of a personal library or study for the benefit of elderly or lordly speakers.[34]
3E Religious studio Edward Maufe A double-height large studio with a balcony, designed for religious broadcasts with a focus on all religions so that any religious member would feel comfortable. It was soon disused as listeners preferred the sound of a real church and congregation.[35]
The concert hall Val Myer A very large double-height concert hall for orchestras playing classical music.[36] It contains a large space for the orchestra, a large section and a balcony for seating, and the first organ suitable for broadcasting. It was renamed the Radio Theatre in 1994.[37]
BA Vaudeville studio Raymond McGrath A double-height studio with balcony for theatre and variety performances, with an audience of 60.[38]
BB Dance band studio Raymond McGrath A double-height studio with a small balcony for an audience for the BBC Dance Orchestra. It was taken over for experimental television broadcasts on 22 August 1932.[39]

Current[edit]

Following the rebuild and refurbishment, several studios have been added and the studio structure changed dramatically. The current studios are:

Studio Medium User(s) Programme(s)
30A Radio BBC Radio 3
30B Radio BBC Radio 3
30C Radio BBC Radio 3
30D Radio BBC Radio 3
40A Radio BBC Radio 4 Long Wave continuity studio, Yesterday in Parliament, the Daily Service, Test Match Special and the Shipping Forecast.[40]
40B Radio BBC Radio 4 Continuity studio for BBC Radio 4
51A Radio BBC Radio 5 Live Used for Radio 5 shows relay to Manchester
52A Radio BBC World Service Program productions for BBC languages program
52B Radio BBC World Service Program productions for BBC languages program
52C Radio BBC World Service Program productions for BBC languages program
60A Radio BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio 4 Extra, BBC World Service Radio Drama
62A Radio BBC World Service Focus on Africa
82A Radio BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 1Xtra & BBC Asian Network The Radio 1 Breakfast Show
Dan and Phil
also used for mixing live performances – adjacent to the Live Lounge
82B Radio BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 1Xtra & BBC Asian Network
82C Radio BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 1Xtra & BBC Asian Network
82D Radio BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 1Xtra & BBC Asian Network adjacent to the Live Lounge
82E Radio BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 1Xtra & BBC Asian Network
82F Radio BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 1Xtra & BBC Asian Network
82G Radio BBC Radio 1 & BBC Radio 1Xtra Newsbeat (15-minute bulletins)
82H Radio BBC Radio 1 & BBC Radio 1Xtra Newsbeat (hourly bulletins)
83A Radio BBC Asian Network News studio
S31 Radio BBC World Service & BBC Radio 4
S32 Radio BBC World Service & BBC Radio 4 Newsday
World Update
The World at One
PM
S33 Radio BBC Radio 4 Today
The World Tonight
S34 Radio BBC World Service World Briefing
S42 Radio BBC World Service & BBC Radio 4
S46 Radio BBC World Service & BBC Radio 4
SL1 Radio BBC World Service & BBC Radio 4 World Briefing
Six O'Clock News
Midnight News
The Newsroom
34D Television BBC World Service BBC Arabic Television, some BBC Persian TV recordings, and BBC Hindi
44D Television BBC World Service
(Green Screen Virtual Studio)
BBC Arabic Television and BBC Urdu
54D Television BBC World Service BBC Persian Television
A Television Multipurpose
(Green Screen Virtual Studio)
Newswatch
BBC News at Nine (weekdays)
BBC News Summary
Daily Politics (temporary studio)
B Television Multipurpose The Andrew Marr Show
Sunday Politics
Newsnight
BBC World News (12:00–18:30, weekdays), including GMT, Impact, Global, World Have Your Say, Focus on Africa, World Business Report
C Television BBC World News
BBC News
BBC World News
World Business Report
BBC News at Five
The Film Review
Newsday
World News Today
Business Edition
BBC News Specials HARDtalk
D Television BBC London BBC London News (From Monday 2nd June)
E Television BBC News BBC News at One
BBC News at Six
BBC News at Nine (weekends)
BBC News at Ten
BBC Weekend News
BBC News channel
Dateline London
F Television BBC News 60 Seconds
G Television BBC Weather CSO (Green/Blue) Studio
H Television BBC Weather CSO (Green/Blue) Studio
J Television BBC Weather
BBC World News
Plasma touch-screen newsroom mezzanine position
Outside Source
K Television Multipurpose Meet the Author
BBC Parliament overnight
L Television BBC World Service TV BBC Swahili Dira Ya Dunia (18:00 GMT weekdays)
BBC Russian bulletins (12:00, 15:45 and 17:00 weekdays)
BBC Pashto bulletins (12:30 GMT weekdays), business show and news review (recorded Fridays) and Youth Debate (ad-hoc)
BBC Burmese bulletins (13:20 GMT weekdays)
BBC Kyrgyz bulletins (16:00 GMT weekdays)
BBC Afrique (French for Africa) bulletins (16:30 GMT weekdays), business show (recorded Fridays) and news review (recorded Fridays)
BBC World Service specials (i.e. BBC Persian election results programme 2013)
V Television BBC One The One Show
Sunday Morning Live
Rip Off Britain
Sounds of the 80s (BBC Radio 2 & BBC Red Button)
Newsroom Television Multipurpose (not a studio but is the newsroom which different areas used) Reporters
Click
BBC News
BBC World News
Weekend World
Points of View
Outside Source (Radio)

Until programmes air information is subject to change. All times listed are either Greenwich Mean Time or British Summer Time depending on what is being used in London.

Journalists' Memorial[edit]

On the roof of the John Peel wing, mirroring the radio mast, is a cone-shaped glass structure reaching into the sky to the same height as the mast. It was sculpted by Jaume Plensa as a memorial to journalists killed in the line of duty. Called Breathing, it includes words from a poem by James Fenton and is illuminated day and night. At 10pm daily, in line with the BBC News at Ten, a column of light shines 900 metres into the sky. It was officially unveiled on 16 June 2008 by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.[41][42]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ In the Red on IMDb.com
  2. ^ "BBC News' television output moves to new studios at Broadcasting House" (Press release). BBC. 18 March 2013. Retrieved 18 March 2013. 
  3. ^ "Her Majesty The Queen officially opens BBC's new Broadcasting House" (Press release). BBC. 7 June 2013. Retrieved 12 June 2013. 
  4. ^ archive.org. 1930s http://archive.org/details/HenryHallsBbcDanceOrchestra-21-30 |url= missing title (help). Retrieved 9 May 2014. 
  5. ^ "The Past". BBC. Retrieved 19 September 2011. 
  6. ^ BBC – Press Office – Broadcasting House London development
  7. ^ "BBC – Press Office – Broadcasting House, London". Retrieved 10 April 2007. 
  8. ^ "Exterior Sculptures – Broadcasting House in 1932". Retrieved 10 April 2007. 
  9. ^ "BBC – Radio 4 – Archive Hour – The Home of Radio". Retrieved 10 April 2007. [dead link]
  10. ^ "W1 Programme comes to a close". BBC. Retrieved 5 September 2013. 
  11. ^ "BBC World Service leaves Bush House". BBC News. 12 July 2012. Retrieved 12 July 2012. 
  12. ^ "Western House – The new studios". BBC Radio 2. Retrieved 10 April 2007. 
  13. ^ Dan Sabbagh (7 September 2012). "The news from the BBC: its £1bn new base is finally coming on air". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 May 2013. 
  14. ^ BBC – Broadcasting House – Home
  15. ^ Freedom of Information request – RFI20111247
  16. ^ "The story of Broadcasting House". BBC. Retrieved 19 September 2011. 
  17. ^ a b c "The Present". BBC. Retrieved 19 September 2011. 
  18. ^ "BBC to name wing of new Broadcasting House after John Peel" (Press release). BBC. 2 March 2012. Retrieved 2 March 2012. 
  19. ^ Eccles, Louise; Ward, Alex (13 October 2012)."BBC to consider renaming Peel Wing at headquarters after claims DJ had affair with schoolgirl, 15". Daily Mail (London).
  20. ^ Barnett, Antony (13 November 2005). "BBC in political row after sacking leading architect". The Observer (London). p. 2. Retrieved 10 June 2010. 
  21. ^ "Bovis to revamp BBC headquarters". The Daily Telegraph (London). 19 December 2002. Retrieved 10 June 2010. 
  22. ^ "Queen officially opens BBC's new Broadcasting House building". BBC News. 7 June 2013. Retrieved 7 June 2013. 
  23. ^ "BBC Triumphs at Awards". APM. 4 November 2013. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  24. ^ "Broadcasting House, London". Key Facts. BBC Press Office. May 2004. Retrieved 18 October 2012. 
  25. ^ Hines, Mark (2008). The Story of Broadcasting House, Home of the BBC (First ed.). London: Merrell. p. 51. ISBN 9781858944210. Retrieved 12 March 2013. 
  26. ^ "Eighth Floor – Studio 8A". Broadcasting House 1932. Old Radio Broadcsting Equipment and Memories (ORBEM). Retrieved 18 October 2012. 
  27. ^ "Eighth floor – 8B and Drama Control". Broadcasting House 1932. Old Radio Broadcasting Equipment and Memories (ORBEM). Retrieved 18 October 2012. 
  28. ^ a b c d e "Seventh floor – 7B and Music control". Broadcasting House 1932. Old Radio Broadcasting Equipment and Memories (ORBEM). Retrieved 18 October 2012. 
  29. ^ a b c "Sixth floor". Broadcasting House 1932. Old Radio Broadcasting Equipment and Memories (ORBEM). Retrieved 18 October 2012. 
  30. ^ "Sixth floor – Effects studio". Broadcasting House 1932. Old Radio Broadcasting Equipment and Memories (ORBEM). Retrieved 18 October 2012. 
  31. ^ "Sixth floor – Effects studio". Broadcasting House 1932. Old Radio Broadcasting Equipment and Memories (ORBEM). Retrieved 18 October 2012. 
  32. ^ a b "Fourth floor – 4A, 4B and office". Broadcasting House 1932. Old Radio Broadcasting Equipment and Memories (ORBEM). Retrieved 18 October 2012. 
  33. ^ a b c "Third floor – 3A and 3B". Broadcasting House 1932. Old Radio Broadcasting Equipment and Memories (ORBEM). Retrieved 18 October 2012. 
  34. ^ "Third floor – Studio 3D". Broadcasting House 1932. Old Radio Broadcasting Equipment and Memories (ORBEM). Retrieved 18 October 2012. 
  35. ^ "Third floor – Studio 3E". Broadcasting House 1932. Old Radio Broadcasting Equipment and Memories (ORBEM). Retrieved 18 October 2012. 
  36. ^ "Lower Ground floor – Concert Hall". Broadcasting House 1932. Old Radio Broadcasting Equipment and Memories (ORBEM). Retrieved 18 October 2012. 
  37. ^ Hines, Mark (2008). The Story of Broadcasting House, Home of the BBC (First ed.). London: Merrell. p. 121. ISBN 9781858944210. Retrieved 12 March 2013. 
  38. ^ "Sub-Basement – Studio BA". Broadcasting House 1932. Old Radio Broadcasting Equipment and Memories (ORBEM). Retrieved 18 October 2012. 
  39. ^ "Sub-Basement – Studio BB". Broadcasting House 1932. Old Radio Broadcasting Equipment and Memories (ORBEM). Retrieved 18 October 2012. 
  40. ^ Priming the pips in studio 40B 
  41. ^ "Killed reporters' memorial opens". BBC News. 16 June 2008. Retrieved 10 June 2010. 
  42. ^ "Editorial: In praise of... the Breathing light sculpture". The Guardian (London). 17 June 2008. Retrieved 10 June 2010. 

External links[edit]