One of the main tourist-y things I was looking forward to was the BBC Tour. Anyone that knows me is aware of my extreme devotion – hey it’s better than “obsession” – to television and especially British television. So when I found out that there was a tour available at the BBC Television Centre for £9.99 how could I possible refuse?!
The Centre is on the Central line and very easy to find! Honestly, the exit at the Whitehall (sp?) tube stop has nice big signs letting you know where things are! In fact I didn’t need those because it was right across the street!
My tour was 1.30pm – note to others who want to experience the tour you have to book in advance – and apparently I ended up with a group of Communication students from one of the universities. I think they thought they would have their own group tour so I asked the tour guide and she said that it should be okay.
After security, the first thing we got to see was the TARDIS!! I’ve seen plenty of them on this trip but I always get the same happy feeling when I see another one. Pictures were taken and we were told about the rules and expectations of the tour: 1) Pictures are encouraged and the tour guides will let you know when it’s appropriate and 2) Can’t guarantee that you’ll see a celebrity but if we do please act normally. 😀
Here are a few more things that will forever stay with me from this tour:
1) We got to go into a conference room where we could see the reporters working! It was so cool and we got to learn more about normal working hours – especially for the morning news crew – as well as the differences between the commercial (ITV & SKY) and public broadcasting (BBC) networks.
2) We got to see two sets from above and my favorite was the Blue Peter set! I never watched it but I could tell how much everyone else was all nostalgic over it. Well, okay I only ever saw one tiny clip when David Tennant was a guest. ~_~
3) Speaking of DT.. NO I didn’t get to see him, sadly. BUT! I did get to walk on the same floor as him! See we were led to a building where all of the celebrities that have business with the BBC must enter and sign in and I know he’s been there before! In fact I walked on the same floor as Catherine Tate, Billie Piper, John Barrowman, Russell T. Davies…
4) At this point we were also told about the shape of the Centre from above which looks like a question mark, which is actually kind of cool! Anyway there’s a fountain in the middle of the circle area that when it was working the water was so loud that it…. reduced employee productivity because they needed to use the loo quite often.
5) The end of the tour was so much fun because you can volunteer to either be newscasters or contestants on a game show and the tour guide plays host! So we got to play in our mini show; the rest of us were audience members!
And that was my tour! We got a couple of interesting stories about the different celebrities and their requests: 1)Madonna wanting a life size picture of the Pope 2) Mariah Carey wanted a basket of kittens and 3) a story about Jennifer Lopez and how she is now banned from the BBC. Wish I could hear all of the other crazy stories.
The rest of the day was spent walking around and this time I ended up in Trafalgar Square! Didn’t stay long because it was getting time to get some dinner.