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Play now 25 mins

Episode 1

25 minutes
First broadcast:
Saturday 24 December 2011

The BBC World Service has been housed in Bush House since 1941.

For over 70 years it has broadcast from this home in The Strand; through a World War, Cold War, decolonisation throughout Africa, the Iranian Revolution, Perestroika, Tiananmen Square, two Gulf Wars and into the new Millennium.

Now it's leaving Bush, to join the rest of BBC News in one building elsewhere in London.

To mark the occasion, this documentary series - presented by the former managing director of the World Service, John Tusa - combine memories with archive.

He talks to producers and presenters who've worked in Bush House over the years, and reporters who've filed to London from all over the globe.

From De Gaulle's broadcasts to the Free French during World War II, up to the seismic events this year in the Arab world, Goodbye to Bush House hears from journalists past and present, from those working in English or in one of the 45 language services which once operated out of the building.

John Tusa examines the key World Service values of impartiality, adherence to the truth and public service - did the BBC always live up to its own standards when reporting the world?

When did it fall down and why?

And what was it like to work in Bush House, with its grand exterior of huge columns and arches, and marble floors and staircases inside, hiding a confusing rabbit warren of offices and studios behind.

One Hungarian journalist remembers the advice his editor gave him on his first day in Bush House, "Rule one, everywhere where you put a comma now, put a full-stop because this is radio.

"Rule two, whatever your political beliefs, leave them outside with your coat on a hanger when you come into the studio, and the third rule, don't sit down at a clean table in the canteen because it's just been wiped by a smelly rag".

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