14 May 2012
Last updated at 09:07
Staff started arriving at Salford on May 16th 2011, but Blue Peter landed James Bond-esque style in September with presenters Helen Skelton on a Royal Navy Sea King helicopter and Barney Harwood on jetski.
Yes kids, it really is Alex from CBeebies: schoolchildren took part in BBC events at Manchester International Festival last summer. CBBC and CBeebies also welcomed around 4000 visitors to their 10th anniversary bash in February.
There were 11 million views or listens of events from the BBC Philharmonic Presents festival last June. The Salford-based orchestra performed for Radio 1/1Xtra’s Dubstep Symphony, with Tamzin Outhwaite for Radio 2, and accompanied Mark Kermode on harmonica for 5 live.
BBC One commissioned Citizen Khan after a pilot at Salford Sitcom Showcase in October. Hopes are high for the show, which starts filming in Birmingham and MediaCityUK this June, especially as BBC commissioners admit they're struggling to get quality mainstream comedies.
Radioheads: Autumn saw the arrival of 5 live, which joined Radio Manchester and some 6 Music output at ‘Mega City’ as dubbed by Stuart Maconie and Mark Radcliffe. The studios also make radio drama, such as upcoming A Doll’s House with Toby Stephens and Indira Varma.
Football Focus was broadcast in front of an audience for the first time when it came from Salford Lads Club in December. It was part of BBC North's Celebrate Sport events, which drew more than 15,000 visitors in the run-up to Sports Personality of the Year.
Time and space: Salford is also home to BBC Learning which uses the BBC's big brands to inspire learning experiences for all ages. Recent projects include a Doctor Who scriptwriting contest for children and Stargazing Live with Professor Brian Cox and Dara Ó Briain.
Take me to your leader: the Queen officially opened BBC North on 23 March, when she encountered the daleks and started the local Sport Relief Mile. The Diamond Jubilee visit was a month after Princess Anne opened the new Blue Peter garden, which is now accessible to the public.
Original northern drama: BBC One boss Danny Cohen said the channel was ‘getting better at reflecting’ northern England in drama. Prisoners’ Wives (filmed in Sheffield) and The Syndicate (Leeds) won recommissions. Later this year Inspector George Gently (northeast England) and Good Cop (Liverpool) will air with four other northern dramas.
The Salford operation is part of BBC plans to boost out-of-London network spend to 50% by 2016. Around 2300 staff work at MCUK, including new joiners, and movers from BBC Manchester and London. The migration cost £180 million.
North West Tonight now shares a set, gallery and operations team with BBC Breakfast, which started broadcasts in Salford last month. The latter show has managed to hold on to its audience (approx. 1.5m) despite criticism of its move from London.
An extra 1000 posts will transfer to MCUK by 2017, including BBC Three, as the corporation aims to connect better with audiences around the UK. ITV Granada will arrive on-site in September, with Coronation Street broadcasting in spring 2013 from the studio being built on the left.
Goaties galore: Pudsey joined the 'Salford beardy men' after they raised money for Children in Need by refusing to shave during November. The hirsute gents included BBC North director Peter Salmon (left on middle row). BBC tours of the Salford studios can be booked at www.bbc.co.uk/showsandtours/tours.