My name's Mike and I’m a BBC Tour Guide at BBC Broadcasting House. I have the privilege of taking the public around the new building, and the renovated original Broadcasting House - in 1932 the first purpose built broadcast centre in the world.
The best thing about my job is finding information, history or tit bits that really make a connection with people individually. The BBC means something different to everyone and that’s the challenge but also what’s so lovely about the tour experience. It’s a pleasure to share your enthusiasm with equally enthusiastic guests, and the Silver Sunday groupmade it a very enjoyable day for myself and my colleagues.
They had such personal relationships with the BBC, and could often bring their own experiences and knowledge to the tour to enhance it for everyone. One gentleman has given me some very useful info about the early “2LO” broadcasts from Marconi House back in 1922. It was also nice to find a group who share my enthusiasm for the art-deco lifts of the original building, these are the things we can miss when you work here all the time, but are amongst many real hidden gems to be found on the tour.
Our discussion could have gone on all day but we finished in fine style with the group temporarily seconded to the Radio Drama Company, producing their own radio play including sound effects – one lady helped me make the sound of a vampire bats wings by shaking some leather gloves with much glee! Reaching out to our local community is incredibly worthwhile, it’s their BBC after all!
Here's what some of the guests said about their visit.
“I like to make the most of living in the city and the Silver Sunday events are a great way for me to explore landmarks such as BBC Broadcasting House. The newsroom and radio studio were particularly enjoyable, I even got to take part in the radio programme.” Sonia
“The whole tour was really enjoyable, particularly the part where we visited the Radio Theatre. I was also lucky enough to take part in the news bulletin as the weather reporter and also in the radio drama. The BBC guides were excellent.” Sue
*Silver Sunday is an annual day of fun and free activities for older people across the UK, celebrating the value and knowledge they contribute to our communities. BBC Outreach supported the event on 6th October 2013 by providing two free tours for residents taking part in Westminster, opening up New Broadcasting House to people living on our doorstep. Tours are available to the public throughout the year and at various sites across the UK - visit here for information and prices.