The Blog

My Memories of BBC Television Centre, Aged 23

Sadly I never got to work for the BBC in Television Centre but I was lucky enough to have entered the building in various different guises; actor, interviewer, blogger and fan and receive that all important temporary BBC Pass.

As far back as I can remember, BBC Television Centre had always been a place in which I wanted to work. I think my love affair with TVC all started with Live & Kicking, the Saturday morning kids TV show fronted by the likes of Andi Peters and Phillip Schofield, which featured iconic opening titles of a marble breaking out of Television Centre rolling around the outside of the building for about 45 seconds, before heading straight into the madness and the chaos of that particular programme.

What made those titles great, was the idea that this building was where all the madness happened, the hub of every BBC programme. Even to this very day, I walk past TVC on my way to Westfield or the new White City buildings, and the building still reminds me to the Live & Kicking opening titles. And often I walk away with the iconic theme tune in my head. At a such a young age I don't think I was clear what I wanted to do with my lie, but what was clear was that I wanted BBC Television Centre to play some part in my life, and luckily... it did.

As a child I tried my hand at acting and this would often lead to auditions, casting sessions, script readings. And of the many auditions I went on, there was nothing like the feeling of jumping on the Central Line, getting off at White City and being met with this giant building, the heart of the BBC. So for me, these auditions weren't necessarily about getting the part, although of course I tried my best, but rather I aw these visits as a chance to embrace the fact that I was inside a building in which a lot of my favourite shows such as Top of the Pops, Blue Peter and Noel's House Party were made.

Walking into that building for the very first time was strange, I think I was about 13. As in a small office that, judging by the wallpaper belonged to CBBC. I was asked to read from a script I'm front of a guy who at the time I probably thought owned the BBC. Of course it's safe to say he didn't own the BBC, nor did he offer me the part.

That was the first of my many trips to the BBC, not just for auditions but some actual work too. One of my earliest memories of working in TV Centre was in 2003 for Comic Relief. Jonathan Ross was presenting and in his opening link, Ross was to be surrounded by children in bright clothes playing with toys and swimming in balloons. And yes, I was one of those kids and to be part of a live BBC TV show coming from TV Centre, even if it was jumping around next to Jonathan Ross, was somewhat of a dream come true for me.

I went back to the BBC on many more occasions as a child, and often spotted bands enter the Top of the Pops studio, again cementing the idea that this is where TV was being made. One moment that I will always remember, aside from seeing the famous Blue Peter garden which sadly is no more, was Red Nose Day 2003 where I was auditioning for something and outside the building was comedian Jack Dee stood on a 50 foot pole raising money for charity. For me, TVC has been as much about the outside as it has the inside. Stunts such as Jack's, outdoor performances, some of the BBC One indents and Pudsey being projected on to the building to tell us how much money had been raised for Children In Need, all took place outside TVC. That fountain, or the Doughnut as it's known, is almost as iconic as the building itself. Where will these kind of events happen now? For me the big empty square in Media City UK, Salford doesn't have the same warmth. Neither does BBC White City down the road where The One Show is filmed.

Another particular moment that I always remember from my time in TV Centre was when I was on Blue Peter... sort of. Sadly I didn't get to see the studio, meet any presenters or get that all important badge. Instead I was locked in a recording somewhere speaking over a Maradona VT in a Spanish accent. I still stare at my letterbox to this day, hoping that one day that clip will land on someone's desk, and a Blue Peter badge will arrive.

Television comedy is one of my biggest passions and Television Centre has been home to many great comedies across the years. In recent years I was lucky enough to queue up outside TVC, walk up the stairs past the Tardis from Doctor Who, through some double doors, past the BBC Shop, down some corridors and into the famous Studio 8. The very same studios in which many of our great sitcoms were made. When I sit in those red chairs today, watching modern day sitcoms such as Miranda, Not Going Out, my mind can't help but wander and think of how the very same room that some of the greatest sitcoms ever made were made, such as; Fawlty Towers, The Good Life, Only Fools And Horses and Absolutely Fabulous, and I had made into such an iconic room. If those walls could talk, I'm sure they'd have a story or two to tell.

My very last encounter with TV Centre was just a few weeks ago, when I went to watch the recording of Up The Women. One of the last sitcoms to be filmed in its famous studios. Part of my reason for going to watch it was for the reason that id be a small part of history. I'd be able to say that I was here at one of Television Centre's final ever recordings. Even the warm up guy joked about having bits of TVC to give away. This was clearly a joke, but a rather large part of me wanted it to be true.

So sadly I never got to work for the BBC in Television Centre but I was lucky enough to have entered the building in various different guises; actor, interviewer, blogger and fan and receive that all important temporary BBC Pass. Sure, it was just a bit of paper with my name and the words 'BBC Television Centre' written on it, but even still to this day I have some of those BBC Passes in my room. My own bit of TVC memorabilia if you like. So I guess it goes without saying that I loved TVC and those memories will always stay with me and never will I have such love and affection for a building. Will I be writing a similar piece about Media City UK in 20 years time? Probably not.

Popular in the Community