Statues of Ariel and Prospero

Over the front entrance of Broadcasting House stand the statues of Prospero and Ariel (from Shakespeare's last play The Tempest), by Eric Gill. Prospero, Ariel's master, stands 10ft tall and is depicted sending Ariel out into the world. Ariel, as the spirit of the air, was felt to be an appropriate symbol for the new mystery of broadcasting. After Broadcasting House was opened and the statues were installed (1933), concern was voiced about the size of the sprite’s genitalia. A question was tabled in the House of Commons, but the popular story, that Gill was ordered to modify the statue, is not substantiated.