Six little words sum up my feelings as the W1 Programme closes down after ten years – On-Schedule, On-Budget and On-Air! The mammoth task of reinventing Broadcasting House for 21st century broadcasting has come to a successful end after ten years.
The statistics behind this feat are truly significant. We’ve delivered a £30m underspend on the overall £1.046bn budget and have identified no less than £736m financial benefits from the sale of other properties and by exploiting the advantages of bringing so many BBC staff under one roof. We’ve moved 5,539 people from ten buildings across London into four in the W1 post-code and cut their storage requirements from 19 linear kilometres of ‘stuff’ by 75%.
The 92,000 square metres of the redeveloped Broadcasting House has been refurbished and fitted out. The new technology, with its 3,000 kms of cabling, is working and the staff know how to work it thanks to the 41,886 training days and 126 different courses that have been provided.
But most crucially, the task of landing the enormous jumbo jets of live BBC programmes has happened smoothly. These have included three 24 hour News Channels, 3 Network Radio Stations, 26 World Service language hubs, the Radio Four and World Service news sequence programmes, Newsnight, Marr and Hardtalk. Our audiences, if they have noticed the move, have noticed for the right reasons – among them the creative renewal of the News Channel, the One, Six and Ten O’Clock TV News Bulletins and BBC World News.
All this happened because of the tremendous dedication and expertise of everyone who worked on the W1 Programme - and because they all pulled together as one team. And as they all move on to other things inside or outside of the BBC I have to say how proud I am of them and how they can be proud every time they turn on the television or radio or emerge from Oxford Circus tube station and see their lasting legacy.
Andy Griffee is W1 Project Director.
You can book a tour of the new BBC Broadcasting House building here.