Her Majesty The Queen will officially open the major new extension of the BBC’s Broadcasting House today. This marks the complete transformation of the iconic home of the BBC into a cutting edge centre for the digital future.
Bringing together the BBC’s national and international radio, television and online journalism under one roof for the first time, alongside the BBC’s Television and Network Radio services.
Her Majesty The Queen tours the new building
The Queen, who previously re-opened the refurbished old Broadcasting House in April 2006, will tour the new building with the following itinerary:
- Radio 1 and 1Xtra offices at the top of the building, where Her Majesty will meet DJs and presenters. A special performance by The Script and Indiana, BBC Introducing artist, will be held in the ‘Live Lounge’.
- The main news programmes for Radio 4 and the World Service, where The Queen will be introduced to some of the World Service’s presenters and editors.
- In a specially commissioned programme, Her Majesty will declare the building open. Listeners will also be able to hear for the first time a previously un-transmitted 1939 recording in which the then Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret are heard trying out new technology while at Broadcasting House with their parents King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.
- The BBC Newsroom at the heart of the complex.
- During the final stage of the tour of the building, The Queen will be shown an original television camera used during The Coronation.
- Director of Television, Danny Cohen, will then introduce The Queen to a selection of BBC presenters including Sir Bruce Forsyth and David Dimbleby.
- Finally, The Queen will unveil a contemporary commemorative plaque embedded with the iconic image of the early BBC microphone.
Notes to Editors
The Queen has visited Broadcasting House on five previous occasions:
- 20 April 2006: To mark the 80th anniversary of the granting of the Royal Charter, The Queen re-opened the refurbished Old Broadcasting House.
- 20 October 1997: The Queen opened the BBC Experience, an interactive exhibition to celebrate the BBC’s 75th anniversary. The Queen also turned on the external lights on Broadcasting House, which hadn’t been switched on since the end of the Second World War.
- 1 November 1972: The Queen visited the BBC’s 50th Anniversary Exhibition. The exhibition itself was across the road at the Langham Hotel, but The Queen had lunch with the Governors in Broadcasting House.
- 27 Feb 1953: The Queen visited Broadcasting House with the Duke of Edinburgh and watched a variety show put on in their honour. They also watched programmes and rehearsals at the BBC studios in Maida Vale.
- 13 March 1939: The Queen toured Broadcasting House while still Princess Elizabeth, with King George VI, Queen Elizabeth and Princess Margaret.
BBC Introducing is a multi-platform initiative which includes BBC Radio 1, 6 Music, Radio 1Xtra, the Asian Network, 40 BBC Local Radio stations and bbc.co.uk/introducing, all working together to provide a network dedicated to supporting the hottest new talent from across the UK. Offering practical advice with its annual Masterclass where some of the biggest names in music offer advice to new musicians.
Launched in 2007 with its own stage at Glastonbury. The BBC Introducing Stage is now firmly established at many of the UK’s major festivals, including Radio 1’s Big Weekend, Glastonbury, T In The Park and Reading and Leeds. Over 2,000 musicians have played for BBC introducing since it began.
Artists who received BBC Introducing support at the start of their careers include Florence and The Machine, Ed Sheeran, Rizzle Kicks and Jake Bugg.
BBC Press Office
New Broadcasting House
Background to Broadcasting House project
The Broadcasting House project was
divided into two phases. The first phase of construction (2003-2006)
comprised the refurbishment and restoration of the original 1932 Broadcasting
House Grade II* listed building and the refurbishment of Western House, the new
permanent home for Radio 2 and 6 Music; and the construction of the John Peel
Wing, a new purpose-built, fully resilient building to the east of the site
which houses the BBC’s Arabic and Persian TV services as well as BBC London.
The second phase of the project comprised the construction of a brand new
12-storey extension to link old Broadcasting House with the new ‘Peel
Wing’. This was delivered on-air, on-schedule and £30m under-budget.
Broadcasting House in numbers
- 93,000 – The approximate area of Broadcasting House in square metres
- 6,000 - The number of staff housed in Broadcasting House
- 3,000 - The number of kilometres of cabling installed – the distance from London to Istanbul
- 750 – The number of inscribed flagstones which make up World, a new piece of pavement art created for the public piazza
- 90 – The number of London buses which could fit into the BBC newsroom, the largest in Europe
- 50 – The total number of radio studios, galleries, graphics suites, edit suites and clip studios in the new building
- 20 – The number of video inject points throughout the building
- 13 – The number of listed buildings surrounding Broadcasting House
- 12 – The total number of new TV studios and multiplatform areas
– The number of London underground lines running beneath Broadcasting
Broadcasting House firsts
- On Sunday 11 March 2012, the BBC’s Burmese Service became the first programme to broadcast live from their new Broadcasting House studios on the 5th floor.
- The Andrew Marr Show was the first live domestic TV news show to broadcast from new Broadcasting House on Sunday 2 September 2012.
- BBC World News, the first continuous television service to broadcast from its new studio facilities in Broadcasting House, went live on 14 January 2013.
The original Broadcasting House
- The original Broadcasting House was designed by British architect George Val Myer, and now holds Grade II* listed status.
- It was the first ever purpose-built broadcast centre in the UK.
- It is also a jewel of Art Deco design, with notable artistic commissions from the sculptor and artist Eric Gill.
- The Architectural Review of 1932 described it as the 'new Tower of London', while the gilded inscription in the reception welcomes visitors to ‘this temple of the arts and muses’.
- The first programme came from Broadcasting House on 15 May 1932.
- The building was officially opened by The Queen’s grandfather, George V and his wife Queen Mary, on 7 July 1932.
- Broadcasting House survived serious bombing during the Blitz, especially in October 1940 when the newsreader Bruce Belfrage famously continued to read the news as the studio crumbled around him.
Famous broadcasts from Broadcasting House since its creation in 1932 include:
- Momentous news broadcasts such as the announcement of the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, of the Second World War, the first report from Belsen concentration camp (by Richard Dimbleby), the Normandy landings and the Atomic Bomb bulletin.
- Charles de Gaulle’s famous broadcast appeal to the French Resistance (1940), made direct from a studio in Broadcasting House.
- Writer George Orwell, author of Nineteen Eighty-Four, worked here from 1941-43.
- The innovative ‘play for voices’ Under Milk Wood (1954), starring Richard Burton, along with countless other cultural highlights.
- Famous comedians from Tony Hancock, Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan to Harry Secombe and Kenneth Horne made the UK laugh from this building.
- Radio 1's DJs first hit the airwaves from this site in 1967.
- Many series still running and still ever-popular - Desert Island Discs and the Today Programme - all began their broadcasting career here in Broadcasting House.