Up on the roof: summer filming with Cat and Rebecca

Producer, CBeebies Presentation

Hello, I’m Bev, one of the producers in CBeebies Presentation – basically that means I help make the bits you see with the presenters in the CBeebies House between the shows (a.k.a. the ‘links’). Sometimes, we get the chance to film somewhere even more exciting, and we thought you’d like to hear about our recent adventure on the roof above MediaCity…


We love working in the CBeebies House, but it’s always nice to be able to go outside, especially in the summer when we can share the good weather with our viewers. Last week when it was warm and sunny, we decided to film some sequences on the roof terrace above our studios in Salford.

We made the decision on a Monday that we wanted to record the outdoor links the following week, so we didn’t have long to turn the plan into reality – and there’s a lot to do!

But just what goes into turning an idea for a link into something you actually see on screen? Here’s a little taste of our week:

Monday

Decision made! We want to film on the roof next week, so first up we check with the Studio Manager that our chosen date is actually possible, and organise a technical planning meeting for our crew. I’m the producer, so it’s also my job to brief our design team with some ideas for rooftop set dressing.

The design team's sketch for our rooftop set

Tuesday

We agree the crew and extra equipment we’ll need for the rooftop filming, and double-check the health and safety implications – we need to be very careful, especially because it can get very windy up on the roof at MediaCity!

Wednesday to Friday

I write the scripts and prep for the rooftop sequences, while the rest of the team get busy with material for the rest of our (indoor) studio week.

Monday

It’s the beginning of our studio week, and we’re busy making lots of other links related to the beginning of the Commonwealth Games (we record our links in advance, so we’re already getting ready for late July). We’re also avidly watching the weather forecast, because we’ve agreed we’ll make a final call about whether to go ahead with the rooftop excursion on Wednesday morning!

Tuesday

Thursday’s weather forecast isn’t looking good at all, but Wednesday is much more promising so we’re thinking of filming tomorrow – can we turn everything around to film 24 hours earlier than planned?

By lunchtime it’s all systems go – we have to call the studio manager to see if we can get the extra equipment early, and check that our Wednesday film crew can make an earlier-than-planned 7.30am start.

I’m a bit worried that there’ll be a lot of pressure on our design team who will have to organise the rooftop set as well as the main set dressing in our studio, and several makes and food-related links, which need lots of props. Thankfully, though, they’re up for the challenge, so it looks as though everything can go ahead!

Wednesday

Filming day dawns bright and sunny, so the crew are delighted to be going outside! The production team help out with dressing the rooftop set, while the crew rigs the equipment. We’re lucky enough to have some extra help from our office researchers today, too, which is great.

We’ve brought lots of stage weights out onto the roof terrace to help hold everything down, and it proves to be a very good idea as the wind picks up a lot towards the end of the day! The last thing we record is Cat and Rebecca making a carnival headdress. They finish up having to keep a very firm hold on the feathers they’re using, while Teddy, the toy modelling the headdress, has to be securely fixed to the table to stop him being blown away!

Cat and Rebecca on set

When the recording is finally finished, it’s all hands on deck to de-rig the set and return all the props to the CBeebies House (before they blow away!). When everything’s done, we head back inside, and have just enough time to sing Happy Birthday to our director, and celebrate with a slice of birthday cake! 

What outdoor activities have you been enjoying with your little ones this summer? Join the summer holiday chat on the CBeebies Grown-ups Facebook and Twitter pages.

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