Knocking through to New Broadcasting House

Editor, About the BBC Blog

Editor's note: Director, W1 Programme Andy Griffee blogs about a momentous week at New Broadcasting House in London ahead of the Burmese Service's first broadcast from the building on Sunday.

Anyone who has moved house will know that it takes some planning. But not usually 3 years.

However, that's how long I've been working to plan the single biggest migration ever undertaken in the BBC - and the house in question is New Broadcasting House. It is being turned into the home for 6,000 staff from Audio and Music, News and Vision who are coming together for the first time under one roof in Central London.

And this week, the years of planning, building and hard work finally came to fruition: BBC staff moved in and a new chapter in the history of Broadcasting House got underway.

On Monday we welcomed the first 80 World Service staff into the building and this Sunday 11th March the BBC's Burmese Service will be the first programme to broadcast live from their new Broadcasting House studios. This marks the start of the BBC World Service's move from Bush House, its London home for over 70 years, to a new state of the art, multimedia broadcasting centre in the heart of the capital.

Last week heralded another first when we opened the doors of the Media Café to our Radio Theatre audiences. This new purpose-built facility will now be used on a regular basis for our audiences to enjoy some refreshments and relax before watching a BBC show in the Radio Theatre.

Earlier this week, the walls came down between the old building and the neighbouring new one, to create one New Broadcasting House. For the first time, the BBC's national and global journalism teams will be working together on the same site, alongside Radio 1 and 1Xtra, the commissioning and scheduling teams for BBC One, Two, Three and Four, and all of the Vision Factual teams based in London, such as The One Show and Watchdog. In such a truly integrated building there is a real possibility of Kofi Annan, Bruce Forsyth, David Cameron and Justin Bieber bumping into each other in the green room! Maybe there's a new programme idea there?

The site has taken a decade to complete and will be fully operational by April 2013. One of the added benefits of the new building is the financial savings it has enabled the BBC to deliver. The financial benefits of the project have more than trebled from £233 million estimated in 2003 to the latest estimate of £736 million.

As we move into the BBC's iconic new home, what could be a more fitting tribute than to name a wing of New Broadcasting House after John Peel, the late Radio 1 DJ, who personified so much of what the BBC stands for - quality, creativity and innovation.

Whilst individual buildings don't necessarily change anything, new Broadcasting House will provide a unique opportunity to bring together all of the BBC's main output departments in one place, work more cost effectively and deliver an even better service to our audiences.


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