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.

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  • Comment number 2. Posted by Ollie Burton

    on 13 Dec 2013 15:58

    Hi Roger,

    Thanks very much for your comments, it's always great to hear what people think of the tour at Broadcasting House in London, both positive and constructive.

    I'm sorry you didn't feel it was a tour as such, we've worked really hard to create a tour of the building that balances the needs of broadcasting, security and our visitors. BH is a working building and we have to ensure that our primary function, programme making, can continue without disruption. Most of the studios at BH are small, and in near constant use, whcih makes it difficult for us to take up to 12 tours a day into many of them.

    The view over the Newsroom has actually proved to be one of the most popular elements of the tour according to our customer feedback. I'm sorry you didn't see any presenters - our visitors do catch site of famous faces on some tours, but naturally it's something we can't guarantee.

    Our interactive News and Weather presenter experience and our interactive Radio Drama are also proving popular, so I'm sorry this wasn't the case for you.

    The pavement outside the building is actually a piece of public art by Canadian artists Mark Pimlott. It's intended to refelect the global dimension of the BBC’s broadcasting, and consists of over 750 stone flags inscribed with place names from around the world, and enhanced by elegant steel lines of longitude and latitude. In addition, there is a subtle scheme of small embedded lights and some audio installation linked to key output from the World Service.

    From January 2013 the 'One Show' studio moves from west London to Broadcasting House and we'll be able to take our tour groups onto the studio floor on some of our tours which we're really excited about.

    Over 40,000 visitors have already taken the Broadcasting House tour since we started in April and I'm pleased to say our customer feedback has been excellent. I'm really sorry this wasn't your experience and hope you'll try the tour again sometime, especially with the new One Show element.

    Thanks again for your comments.

    Ollie Burton
    Senior Tours Manager
    BBC Tours

  • Comment number 1. Posted by Roger F

    on 23 Nov 2013 22:45

    Very disappointed with the tour.
    Two very enthusiastic guides who did their best with a limited product.
    The break down, 5 min looking down into the news room, no sign of the presenters.
    Outside into the cold to look at the pavement.
    10 minutes in the empty theatre,
    Playtime with a bicycle pump
    Thank you and goodbye!
    Come on! You can do better than this!
    This was not a TOUR of the BBC.
    Sorry

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