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Her Majesty the Queen visiting BBC Broadcasting House in 1953

BBC Broadcasting House welcomes Her Majesty The Queen

Her Majesty The Queen will visit BBC Broadcasting House on Thursday 20 April 2006 to mark the 80th anniversary of the granting of the Corporation's Royal Charter.


The Queen will officially re-open the original Broadcasting House in Portland Place, London, which has recently been refurbished as a part of a redevelopment of the site.


The Queen's schedule is as follows:


Upon arrival at Broadcasting House, The Queen will meet the Director-General of the BBC, Mark Thompson, and the following BBC Radio breakfast presenters:

  • Radio 1 - Chris Moyles
  • Radio 2 - Sir Terry Wogan KBE
  • Radio 3 - Penny Gore
  • Radio 4 - John Humphrys and James Naughtie
  • Five Live - Nicky Campbell and Shelagh Fogarty
  • 1Xtra - Jason and Iyare
  • Asian Network - Sonia Deol


The Queen will be shown a model outlining building project plans for Broadcasting House by Sir Richard MacCormac, Architect, and the BBC's Chief Operating Officer, John Smith, and will view a display of digital radio technology and Broadcasting House artefacts.


The digital radio technology consists of:

  • A DAB digital radio featuring an electronic programme guide (EPG)
  • A wi-fi radio, which can pick up, via wireless broadband, internet radio stations around the world including all the BBC's national stations
  • A plasma TV screen with a Freeview box, displaying the BBC's 24/7 radio service via digital TV
  • A laptop computer demonstrating listening to radio via the internet on the BBC Radio Player
  • Mobile devices capable of receiving radio services, ie iPod featuring a selection of the BBC's podcasts and a new mobile telephone with DAB radio access


The Broadcasting House artefacts consist of:

  • A 'royal' microphone used by King George V for Christmas broadcasts in the Thirties
  • A specially created version of a high quality radio set made by McMichael, the electronics manufacturer, and presented to King George V. The model was subsequently known to the public as the 'King's Radio.'
  • A cigar box in the form of Broadcasting House presented to Lord Reith on his 10th anniversary as Manager/Director-General of the British Broadcasting Company/Corporation.


The Queen will then watch a production for BBC 7's The Big Toe Radio Show. The Queen will meet presenters Kirsten O'Brien and Kevin Duala and young competition winners in the Drama studio.


The Queen will view a recording for Radio 4's Woman's Hour and meet presenter Jenni Murray, programme engineers and interviewees Dr Sarah Childs from Bristol University and Dr Rosie Campbell from Birkbeck College, London.


Dr Childs and Dr Campbell will be discussing the results of a Woman's Hour/ICM survey looking at the changing role of men and women in society.


The Queen will then join a reception hosted by the Chairman, BBC Governors, Executive Board members, senior BBC executives and artists associated with BBC Radio, including: Chris Evans, Sir Clement Freud, Richard Briers CBE, David Jacobs CBE, Paul Merton, Nicholas Parsons OBE, Prunella Scales CBE and Timothy West CBE.


The Queen will receive a gift and unveil a plaque before departing.


As she leaves from BBC Broadcasting House, The Queen will meet local schoolchildren who will have gathered to wish her a happy birthday.


On being told they would be introduced to The Queen, some BBC radio presenters made the following comments:


Radio 2's Terry Wogan said: "The last time we met I had to tape back my somewhat large ears lest she'd have one of them off with the sword. Luckily she wields the blade like an expert and I got away with just a flesh wound."


Penny Gore, from Radio 3, said: "Well, since I'll have got up at 4.45am that morning to get ready for presenting Morning on Three, I think it would be safer if I stuck to a small bow rather than bending the knee... I don't want to risk any dizzy spells due to low blood-sugar if I attempt the full curtsy!"


Nicky Campbell, from Five Live, said: "The last time we met was when she saw round my school in the early Seventies so we have loads of catching up to do."


Shelagh Fogarty, from Five Live, said: "I'll happily curtsy for any 80-year-old lady who wants me to, especially on her birthday!"


Sonia Deol, from the Asian Network, said: "Yes I will curtsy because it's the done thing with Royalty isn't it? But I haven't got a clue how to do it elegantly. In Birmingham we don't have much call for this sort of thing."


1Xtra's Jason & Iyare said: "Our mums would be proud, all we've got to do is remember not to curtsy because that's for girls."


BBC Press Office



Notes to Editors


Phill Jupitus, 6 Music's breakfast presenter, is on holiday so will be unable to be presented to The Queen.


The Queen has visited Broadcasting House on four previous occasions:


13 March 1939
The Queen toured Broadcasting House whilst still Princess Elizabeth, with King George VI, Queen Elizabeth and Princess Margaret.


27 February 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.


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.


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.


The Big Toe Radio Show is broadcast on BBC 7, seven days a week from 4.00 to 6.00pm.


It is a live, interactive show for nine to 11-year-olds packed with stories, competitions, quizzes, interviews, discussions, games and music.


Each day there are continuing stories from leading authors, including Jacqueline Wilson, Philip Pullman and Roald Dahl.


Woman's Hour is broadcast on Radio 4 each weekday from 10.00 to 11.00am.






A full press pack is available for the Broadcasting House Project, which is available in PDF format. You may need Adobe Acrobat software to read PDF files which can be obtained free from the Adobe Reader website


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Category: BBC; Radio
Date: 13.04.2006
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