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GES046 - BBC TV Centre (Trip 2)

For more information on this site, it's best to see Trip 1 first.

I left a company that worked in a BBC building in October 2010, and had to surrender my pass. I have always loved TVC, as it has been a part of my life for 12 years, since I started off in the bowels of the building. It felt like being back at University, the campus feel to the place when i started here. There were people of my own age also starting off in the trade milling around in the basement. I quickly learnt where tapes were stored along with rare performances of favourite musicians. The 'cottagers' toilet that was to be avoided. Where to go to smoke a crafty joint. And then there was the job itself, learning all the latest technology that would have to be learnt again every 5 years.

And so it was that I wandered the corridors and roads of TVC, this time with a dSLR in tow, and not caring if I got caught, a tripod in a carrier bag to whip out at the right moment.

This is inside Studio 1, the largest at TVC. Period dramas were filmed here up until the 1980s, the last being the House of Elliot. Comic Relief is still a fixture here, and Jools Holland's show. Every time they repaint the floor, layout those keyboard patterns on the floor, build the stages for the artists, layout stands for the crowd. It's an amazing process that i loved being around. Being a lighting engineer must take a long time, all those lights to arrange. On the left wall, there are the audience seats, that concertina into the wall.

This is the lighting desk, where the above lights are controlled from inside Studio 1.

Fisheye of Studio 1 lights.

Full fisheye of Studio 1. The lighting desk on the right.

More fisheye goodness in the centre of the 'doughnut.' Beneath the statue of Helios is a fountain that had a short life, due to the noise disrupting those working around the doughnut.

Full doughnut-age. South Hall being the oblong section sticking out on the right.

The central doughnut from the colonnade area. Studio 1 is through the door just making it in shot on the left. Stage Door reception on the right. Just behind me is the dropping off zone for A list celebs and high powered guests.

Just past Studio 1's entrance, as the corridor sweeps around circular fashion from the door on the left in the above pic, one comes to the Top of the Pops so called 'Star Bar' In there I found a map for the building, based on the production needs of Strictly Come Dancing. You can see the Star Bar marked on the top half of the map in the foyer of Studio 2. The area would have originally been the Red Assembly area. You can see on the other side the Blue and Green areas. The Green tea bar is where you could stand in a line between a Blue Peter presenter and a news reader buying a can of coke or fancy coffee. The 3 areas (Red, Green and Blue) making up RGB, the basic colour signals in a television broadcast.

Another floor plan showing all of the TVC site with Fire Assembly Points.

A very special guest in the main area of the Star Bar.

Turning the camera around 180 degrees, the bar area and a possible gatecrasher. The actual bar is behind the mesh grill area on the left.

As this is in the Red section of the doughnut (as explained above), the Dressing Rooms all have red acrylic door plaques. Legendary Nottingham Forest and England goalkeeper Peter Shilton was using this one. Sadly some Notts Forest fan swiped the the card shortly after this photo was taken.

In the South Hall lifts area, a map on a wall shows the original design for the centre.

Ground floor of South Hall, passenger lifts at the front, and to the side and behind them are the double size goods lifts.

The entrance to Studio 4. A light board sits above the door informing people of the goings on inside.

The obviously named Blue Assembly area. Studio 5's entrances either side of here, and the lightboard indicating a programme was being recorded when this photo was taken.

The Spur lobby, just before Stage Door, which is up the corridor on the top right of this photo. Bottom left would leave off down to the Stage VI reception. Behind me used to be a great little newsagent, that despite lots of pressure from staff and celebs, got replaced with a WHSmith. The corridor that leads off from the top left goes down past dry cleaners and a hairdressers to the Foyer area. The BBC use these 3 display cabinets to promote various programmes and areas of the BBC.

The patio area of the BBC Bar on the 4th floor of TVC. More of it sits behind me, great on summer evenings.

The lower area of the BBC bar. More upmarket style these days. Once there were slightly garish leopard and tiger print couches down the left wall.

The covered area at the back of the South Hall lifts. The East Tower sits behind the camera.

Inside the Design Block. Lots of sets all packed up on trolleys and carriages. For a long time there was a Dr. Who tardis in here, but sadly now gone. The 'Later' on the trolley on the right is for Later with Jools Holland.

The large doors for Studio 4.

And with that, it was time to say goodbye to TV Centre and the BBC lifestyle. It's still one of my favourite places to explore. And it's been sad to watch it's steady decline. Even more so to see what will happen to it in the next few years.