BBC Broadcasting House – Bristol Doors Open Day 2015

On Saturday it was Bristol Doors Open Day, a yearly event where you have the chance to go inside places you usually wouldn’t see the inside of, or go behind the scenes of places that you may have been in before.

This year we managed to book a place for entry to BBC Broadcasting House, where all of the local BBC radio and news shows are recorded live, and other BBC shows are produced / based there too :)

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The booking was for a timed entry system and we were among the first inside at 10am….after that you can stay as long as you like and just wonder around most of the main building and parts of the other buildings as you like.

There are displays and presentations running throughout the day, as well as a chance to have a go at reading from an autocue in front of a camera, or record yourself reading a poem in one of the radio studios. There was also the chance to have a tour of the news offices and TV studio ^^

Before we arrived we thought that everything was inside 1 building, but it’s actually a complex of buildings arranged around a courtyard carpark in the middle….it’s like a little community ;>.>

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They had a few different news vans open in the courtyard, and it was interesting to have a look inside them and chat with the camera operators :)

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From the courtyard we went on a tour with a small group where we were taken around part of the main news building…..this is where they run and broadcast the local programs for TV and radio, as well as local news for the BBC website.

The tour first took us through the news office, where they prepare everything for the programs (we were not able to take photos in there though).

Next was the studio for BBC Radio Bristol where we met the very friendly producers and directors, while Dr Phil was live on the air just through the window from us.

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Further down the corridor we had a look inside the main TV control room (no photos unfortunately), and then at the far end of the corridor it enters into the highlight of the tour; the BBC Points West studio :D

We don’t listen to the radio much at all, but we have the news on the TV every morning before work and after / during dinner in the evening, so it was really really fun to see the place that we look at on our TV every day :)

It was surprisingly smaller than it looks on TV…..thanks to camera angles and moving the sofa around to make 1 end of the studio look like 3-4 different spots :P

People living in the western areas covered by the Points West program will probably recognise Liz Beacon and Sarah-Jane Bungay; they were both in the studio and talked us through some of what goes on behind the scenes for the morning broadcasts.

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Liz even gave us a look at what’s kept under their side of the news desk (something you don’t get to see every day :P), and explained how they control the autocue by themselves in the morning using a little foot peddle.

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Sarah-Jane and Liz were both really fun and friendly with everyone on the tour group, and it was brilliant getting a look behind the scenes with them ^^

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Moving back into the main building we attended a talk given by the Co-Director of an innovative 3D nature documentary called Enchanted Kingdom where he described the challenges faced with filming out in the wildest parts of the planet.

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Round in the canteen there were a lot of displays and demonstrations going on including; antiques experts from Flog It, special cameras and equipment used for filming nature, Springwatch and Country File displays, and a little demonstration of tricks used to make food look good on camera :)

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We ended our exploration of the building up in the roof garden, where the local weather report is often filmed from :)

On the day they had musicians up there, and it seems like a really nice space to just sit and relax ^^

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The BBC Broadcasting House is usually open on Bristol Doors Open Day, and it’s well worth booking a space if you can….but you’ll have to book as early as possible because it fills up fast ;)

(we booked through Bristol Tourist Information Centre a month in advance)

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