Last week seemed set to be an average week, with the added adventure of a trip to Auntie….the BBC. Now don’t go thinking this was some sort of PR special treat – anyone can go, as long as you book in advance. I hadn’t given much thought to what the inside of BBC Manchester would look like, however I’m certain it was nothing like my preconceptions (I’ll be honest I may have watched too many episodes of 30 Rock), though that’s hardly surprising considering they are winding down the Oxford Road site ready for their move to Media City.
So the tour started and we saw the radio play stage; which takes the whole open plan living thing to a new level – the stage is divided up with different floor coverings and various home furnishings (all used to create on the spot sound effects). After this was the home of the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, which was a pretty impressive stage where even a non-classical music type like myself gets drawn into imagining the complete orchestra in full flow.
There was then a short walk to the BBC Radio Manchester studios- which have a blue light in the corner which is only lit when certain members of the royal family have died. Then came the piece de resistance, the home of Gordon Burns, Ranveer Singh and Diane Oxberry – the North West Tonight studio, which is much smaller than you expect and also not as glossy – the joys of not using high def cameras for local news; yet anyway.
Ultimately the best part of the tour was the interactive part, wherein I discovered I had a hidden talent in the form of being good at presenting the weather. Ultimately the tour ended with a look to the future of BBC North, and Media City, including the moving of BBC Radio 5 Live and BBC Future Technology (the people who created i-Player) out of London; as well as the creation of Europe’s Biggest Studios – adding to the wealth of facilities that are already available in the North.
Lasting approximately 2 hours and with friendly, passionate and knowledgeable guides, it’s an interesting and enjoyable experience and has added further fuel to my excitement regarding the completion of Media City and the subsequent move of the BBC to the area.