14 January 2012

BBC Tour

Posted by Happy Homemaker UK

Sorry to have been away so long, my chickadees ;)

I skipped into London to have coffee with Robynne of Robynne's Nest
We have a lot in common, for she is an Australian expat here,
and she is an absolute delight :)

The following day I went back into London to tour the BBC Television Centre
And let me just say, BBC and Big Ben have been my two favorite tours since living here

I love my BBC media access tag {to keep!}
I wonder if it would work as a backstage pass at a concert?

I didn't expect to enjoy the BBC as much as I did because we hardly watch television,
so I am unfamiliar with their programs
{ I can't figure out how to get my Sky Box to record }

But I admit I was dazzled by the studios and news desk
and our guides were very entertaining

They told us if we saw someone famous we shouldn't take photos or ask for autographs
And I followed that up with a request to tell us when we do see someone famous!

Anyhoo, in Britain, anyone who owns a television is required annually
to buy a TV License for £145.50 / $220 - Ouch!
All that money goes directly to the BBC to provide commercial-free programming

BBC is the largest broadcaster in the world and
our guide estimated BBC World is in 190 countries { not funded by the TV License }

BBC also publishes books and magazines { Homes And Antiques, a fav }
and recently purchased Lonely Planet Travel Guides

This media empire is moving 50% of their programming up north to Salford, near Manchester

Why? Our guide said the short answer is subscribers complained
it was not fair to pay the licensing fee and have all the programming concentrated in London

Before WWII, the BBC was mostly broadcasting on radio

Only the wealthy could afford televisions
and most TV programming was just a few hours each day of
someone reading a poem or playing the violin
{ my, how programming has changed }

A black-and-white Mickey Mouse film was showing the moment WWII started,
and BBC Television immediately went off air

When it aired again 5 years later, a woman gave her deepest apologies for going off air
and then they continued that Mickey Mouse film right where it left off 5 years before the war

It gives me goosebumps to think how many lives changed
between the two frames of the Mickey Mouse cartoon

The guide speculated the BBC went off air because many of the staff were needed for the war efforts,
however, BBC Radio did broadcast during the war

Furthermore, few owned televisions, so it may have seemed frivolous to have stayed on air

After the war, the children's show Blue Peter was created, catering to 5 to 8 year olds
With London under rubble, it was a breath of fresh air featuring a garden and adventures
It is still the longest running children's program in the world and still airs

The Americans in our group wanted to know
if BBC studio audiences have signs instructing them to 'Laugh' or 'Applause' as in the US

Our guide chuckled and said if you told an English audience when to laugh,
they would stand up and walk right out the door!

- all photos by me -

BBC Tour Information here


Daydream Living said...

Morning Laura!
This is so great, reading about BBC while watching CBeeBies with my youngest with one eye (we LOVE that we have the BBC channels, I don't watch the Swiss ones). I didn't know there was a tour so thanks for the tip!
love how your blog is growing, enjoy the weekend honey! Maureen x

chris said...

I've really appreciated the BBC shows that are pbs here in the US. I love knowing a bit of the history, now too. :)

Sunray Gardens said...

Too funny that they picked up the program 5 years later.
Cher Sunray Gardens

Kris said...

Laura, I'm jealous! I adore the BBC...well...not always how they relay the news, but I love their programs! We don't really use our TV, so we watch everything on the BBC iPlayer. You should definitely get into it!

Kris said...

by the way, how does one go about arranging a tour of the BBC?

Taylor Made said...

Pay for the privilege if having a TV? Interesting. Thanks for the insight very interesting indeed.

Razmataz said...

I personally think the license fee is a good idea. We need good commercial free public TV.

I grew up watching Blue Peter in the UK....loved it...and The Magic Roundabout.

Happy Homemaker UK said...

Thanks, Maureen!

@ Kris: Here's the link - http://www.bbc.co.uk/showsandtours/tours/. Will need to look into BBC iPlayer - thanks for the tip!

Robynne's Nest said...

You're hilarious...but I would have to have the 'famous' people pointed out also...and yes, I did think when I was browsing through The Cloth House, that you would probably love it....so next time, perhaps we'll meet in Soho, do Tapas, and then 'pop' into a few favourite stores!! Robx

helen tilston said...

Very interesting and thanks for sharing. I, too, would pay for commercial free, well produced television. I applaud the British audience for not applauding when told to. Laughter comes from the heart and should be pure and personal.

Thank you.

Helen xx

Pondside said...

I had to chuckle at the last few lines - I can just imagine the huffing and puffing and walking out!

TexWisGirl said...

how interesting - a TV license fee! do you have to pay per television set? americans would go broke! :)

lisaroyhandbags said...

So interesting! I can't believe they continued Mickey right where they left off! We had to pay a license in Ireland too and I just couldn't believe how expensive it was either!

Happy Homemaker UK said...

@ TexWisGirl - It is just one per household (thank goodness!)

Gail Dixon (Louisiana Belle) said...

Fascinating facts!! I so enjoy reading all your insights into British culture. That TV license fee is a stinker! Boo to that. We have fund raisers for public broadcasting and it seems to work fine.

Sarah said...

I so enjoy your little UK tidbits! Keep them coming! I just love learning about other places!

Emily said...

I'm green with envy! Just about the only TV the Mister and I watch is the BBC's broadcasting here on PBS. We own few DVDs, many of them BBC productions. I also listen to BBC World occasionally through NPR. Thanks for such a thorough post; I appreciate your information!

loveandlilac said...

God bless Auntie Beeb! I was raised on Blue Peter - perhaps that's why I love crafting so much!

Iota said...

I really miss the BBC. I love the fact that there is a channel that doesn't have to include adverts - makes for much better watching.


I love BBC productions. Thanks for sharing the tour.
Did you see anyone famous?


ann said...

I love British TV.

Jane said...

This is fascinating, Laura - thanks for sharing it with us. Growing up in Australia, so many of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's programming has come from the BBC. I was devastated when 'The Bill' finished showing here last year after 26 years. J x

Kirsty said...

I have been here - it's a really fun tour! I especially liked how you could be part of a TV show at the end and the insight into the news floor. I tink it is quite sad that they are moving it all up to Manchester!

Happy Homemaker UK said...

@ Glenda: No, no one famous on our tour ;)

Barbara said...

I would also need for them to tell me when we saw someone famous. It sounds like a fun tour!

barefoot mama said...

Sounds like fun and glad you're back:)))

lizzybradbury said...

Haha! I loved the last line and I definitely think that could be a possibility with an English audience!!!

What a great thing, I didn't realise you could tour the television studios - Is it open to everyone or did you know someone important?

Loved the history of the BBC.

Lizzy x

flowers on my table said...

Great post Laura. Amazing about the mickey mouse story! And I think it is a good thing that it is not going to be so Londoncentic in future.Love Linda x

Happy Homemaker UK said...

Ha! I wish I knew someone at the top :) The tour is open to the public: http://www.bbc.co.uk/showsandtours/tours/

Buttercup and Bee said...

just wanted to stop by and wish you a happy new year, looking forward to reading your fab blog again this year
Buttercup and bee

GirlSprout said...

My dad used to be a translator for the BBC and I have two aunts who live in London who are obsessed with the BBC news. I would be willing to be for the license. It's a lot cheaper than cable.

Happy Homemaker UK said...

Actually we do have to pay for cable too :)

Happy Homemaker UK said...

Happy New Year to you too :)

Happy Homemaker UK said...

Thanks! Me too :)

Happy Homemaker UK said...

It really was! Fun and different

Happy Homemaker UK said...

That was a really cool part of the tour too!

Privet and Holly said...

Loved all this great info....
I really enjoy so many great
BBC productions via PBS and
also listen to many of the BBC
stations via my internet radio.
Makes me feel like I'm there.
How fun that you met Robyne!

xx Suzanne

speakers4u said...

One day I will visit London. One Day!

Weird Funny News

Susan Kane said...

I love the thought that the BBC would pick up with the Mickey Mouse cartoon right where they left off. It says so much about the resilient English.

RachelM said...

I love the BBC. Whenever we've been in England, it's always a favorite thing of mine to see what's on both the TV and the radio...gives an extra little glimpse into things. :) I'm so glad to know about the tour...will have to check it out next time we're in England!

Zosia said...

We don't have a TV set at home by choice (in Poland) as there is nothing to watch on Polish TV these days. I LOVE BBC. I think it is A GOLDEN STANDARD in broadcasting both TV and radio. Hight standards, quality programmning, outstanding comedy shows (pee your pants funny comedy shows), very inventive and innovative, high journalistic standards. A public broadcaster of a stature that other countries should follow. I listen to some of their radio programming on the internet. One of my favourites is the comedy show "Just a Minute". Thanks for this post.