Recently, Charlotte and I headed off to the BBC Bristol headquarters for a ‘behind the scenes’ tour of the studios with a group of PR professionals from around the country.
Upon arrival, we were greeted by lots of like-minded people and it was a great opportunity to chat to PRs from a range of agency and in-house positions. Once we were all introduced, we headed up to the Attenborough Room – in homage to the great Sir David Attenborough, as the BBC Bristol HQ is the home of Natural History programme making, including Sir David’s highly renowned series, Planet Earth II.
The first stop of the tour was the Natural History section, where we were shown some ‘tricks of the trade’ about how sound is captured for various nature programs. From slapping gloves together for the sound of birds in flight, to crunching flour in a bag to mimic a Polar Bear’s steps on the snow, it’s amazing how we’d never even considered it might not be the actual sounds of nature before then!
Following this life-altering moment of realisation, we moved over to the BBC Radio studios. We were able see how radio presenters select their tracks, work with their scripts, and even what they would have to do if there was a death in the Royal Family whilst they were on air! It was quite a surprise to see how few people actually are directly involved with the operation of a radio show, highlighting just how good these people are at their jobs.
Our final stop on the tour was the BBC News studio, where we met BBC Points West presenter, Liz Beacon. Again, we were all shocked that it was simply Liz and one or two members of camera crew in the vicinity – we all expected there to be reels of people working directly behind the camera to make ‘the magic’ happen. Stopping off at a smaller studio, we were invited to have a go at ‘presenting’ the news, while other attendees operated the rolling script – I was lucky enough to be able to present the sports news!
Once the tour had finished, we wandered back over to the Attenborough Room where we had a cold drink and a very insightful Q&A with a member of the BBC Radio Bristol team, before departing the studios and heading back down the A37 towards home.
Massive thanks to BBC Bristol for having us and giving us a great insider’s view of how everything comes together for our screens and radios.