The One Show studio, White City

(Revised September 2019)

 

On 9th July 2007 The One Show began its regular weekday 7pm broadcasts on BBC1.  The show was created in an effort to bring back something along the lines of the good old days of  Nationwide, which was made at Lime Grove between 1969 and 1983.  The One Show had been trialled for four weeks in the summer of 2006 where it was made in a temporary studio at The Mailbox, Birmingham using an OB unit provided by NEP Visions.

It was decided to make the regular series in London rather than Birmingham in order to attract as many well-known studio guests as possible.  However, the location inserts are usually made all over the rest of the UK.  (An exception was the final live show from TV Centre on March 22, 2013 when Michael Grade informed the nation that it would cost £200m to bring the studios there up to HD standard, even though all of the main studios were already fully HD equipped. Hey ho.)

 

one show ext diamond geezer flickr 450p
photo thanks to dgeezer and flickr.com

 

A room was chosen in the BBC’s Media Village in White City in which to create a studio.  The building is located on ground previously occupied by the White City Stadium, used for the 1908 Olympics.  The Olympic rings are proudly displayed on the wall next to where the One Show studio was located and the finishing line is marked on the ground just a few metres from the studio windows.  For those who like useless facts, the studio was thus 26 miles and 385 yards (give or take a yard or two) from Windsor Castle.  The first modern marathon race was run in these Olympics – it began at the castle and ended in the stadium here, which was 26 miles on the roads plus 385 yards on the track.  Every marathon run since then has been the same length.  Fancy that. 

 

The BBC Media Village consisted of the original block – White City One (which opened in 1990 and the BBC vacated in March 2013) and a cluster of buildings behind it that opened in 2004.  The two most important were the Broadcast Centre, where Red Bee (now Ericsson) play out all the BBC and UKTV channels and the Media Centre which housed production offices for a number of programmes and BBC Worldwide.  A smaller building – the Energy Centre – links the Broadcast Centre with White City One and the One Show studio was located in this.  The Top Gear production office was also in this building – although until 2015 the programme itself was recorded in a hangar at the old Dunsfold Aerodrome near Guildford.  Panorama was based at White City and for a while each programme began with Jeremy Vine standing outside the doorway to the building, the One Show studio window often seen in the shot.

Incidentally, from 2001 Watchdog was broadcast live from an office in White City One using an OB unit for technical facilities, then after a few years moved to an area on the ground floor of the internal atrium in the Media Centre.  Transmissions were occasionally disturbed by the sound of distant hoovering from an upper floor.  After all, as far as the cleaners were concerned, everyone had gone home.  Maybe partly because of the hoovering, Watchdog moved back to TV Centre in 2010.  (The show was made in The Hospital Club studio in Covent Garden following the closure of TVC in 2013.)

 

The One Show studio was on the first floor and had windows overlooking a square that was on BBC land (although accessible to the public), enabling the occasional live item to be presented outdoors without having to obtain special permission or control large crowds of passers-by.  HMI lights were permanently mounted on the buildings to illuminate the Broadcast Centre and Media Centre, which were seen through the studio windows at night.

The studio was very small and only had normal office air conditioning so in order to prevent heat from the studio lights building up, LED fittings were chosen to light the set.  Keylights were originally MSR lamps but these were replaced in January 2013 with brand new Arri LED Fresnel lights.  All the lighting kit was supplied by ELP.

one show studio elp 450p
This photo shown nicely what a cramped space the studio really was.
photo thanks to ELP

 

Technical facilities were provided by SIS.  A fly-away gallery suite was installed in nearby rooms.  This evolved into something much more permanent.  In 2010 the studio was re-equipped to transmit in HD, using Sony HSC-300 cameras.

 

The original regular presenters in 2007 were Adrian Chiles and Myleene Klass, who was soon replaced by Christine Bleakley when she left to have a baby.

In April 2010 Chris Evans was appointed as the presenter of the Friday edition of the show in order to give it a more informal ‘weekend starts here’ feel.  A few days later, Adrian Chiles announced that he was leaving the show and going to ITV to present Daybreak, ITV Football and That Sunday Night Show.  Jason Manford replaced him.

Christine Bleakley left about two months later and after a few temporary presenters was replaced by Alex Jones in July.  Meanwhile, Jason Manford left the show in August following stories in the press concerning his private life.  After alternating presenting duties with two or three other men, Matt Baker was booked as regular presenter each Monday to Thursday in January 2011.

 

Although the studio was intended for one show – in fact The One Show – it was used occasionally for two other programmes during the day or at weekends.  Watchdog Daily was broadcast for four weeks on weekday mornings from November 12th 2012.

Film 2010 (then 2011, 2012 and 2013) was made in this studio.  The show was referred to as ‘The Film Programme’ within the BBC.  It began in 1971 and was recorded in BBC TV Centre Pres B. Barry Norman was the well-known host for many years and it remained in that studio right up to its closure in 1996, after which it was made in the corner of various other studios at TVC.

 

Jonathan Ross took over as presenter in 1999.  The show was then made using a single camera in a studio at the BBC’s radio studios at Maida Vale.  This apparently was the room previously occupied by the Radiophonic Workshop, which had been disbanded in 1998.  Claudia Winkleman and Danny Leigh were co-presenters between 2010 and 2016 – making the show for the first few years in this studio – after which various people presented the show on a rotating basis.  Film 2018  was the final version of the programme – it was axed at the end of that year.

 

In 2012 the BBC confirmed that as part of their ‘Making Programmes Cheaply’ – I’m so sorry, ‘Delivering Quality First’ policy they would be closing White City One in March 2013 and most of the other buildings in the Media Village over the following months.  They would retain ownership but planned to sell the various leases.  The One Show thus needed a new studio.  They were told they had to move (along with a great many others) to New Broadcasting House in central London.  The new studio is on the ground floor and was previously used by BBC London.  They in turn moved to a new studio elsewhere in the building.  The New BH studio has large windows looking onto the central courtyard as it was originally intended that this would be used as a BBC shop but never has been.

 

The last edition of The One Show came from this studio on December 20th 2013.  The show moved to New BH over Christmas.

 

Meanwhile, the Broadcast Centre was retained and renamed the ‘BBC Broadcast Centre’ on the closure of TV Centre.  Odd, since broadcasting the BBC’s channels was being carried out by Red Bee, a private company, who also transmit from here all the UKTV channels, BT Sport, ESPN and Channel 4 and all its spin-offs.  In 2015 it was announced that Red Bee would be rebranded as ‘Ericsson Broadcast and Media Services’, which trips nicely off the tongue as I’m sure you’ll agree.

In June 2015 it was announced that the lease for these buildings was being sold to Stanhope (remember them?).  The BBC remained as tenants of The Broadcast Centre, the Energy Centre and a smaller building called the Lighthouse.  White City 1, the Media Centre and Garden House have been refurbished and let by Stanhope.

 

In June 2021 ITV announced that they were moving all their staff from buildings around London into the Broadcast Centre.  They were reported to be taking out a 13 year lease on 130,000 sq ft of office space.  You may recall that they were supposed to be returning to a new HQ on the South Bank but this never happened.  So ITV’s 2,000 staff are moving here from early 2022.  Apparently, they think it will be a good idea to be based near the studios they use for most of their shows – yep, you guessed it – Television Centre.

 

A plot of land to the south, previously used as a car park, was sold to Stanhope and from July 2019 was the location of a large modular structure containing two performance spaces run by a company called Troubadour. (These are the people currently running the old Fountain Studios in Wembley.)  One was described as a ‘1,200-seat fully flexible theatre’ and the other ‘an 800-seat multi purpose state-of-the-art theatre.’  Neither venue appeared to be particularly busy and in fact the only theatre production to be staged here (Peter Pan) closed 2 months early.  In February 2020 Troubadour announced that they would be dismantling the building and handing the land back to Stanhope, who had decided that they required it after all for further development.  The structure was removed by April 2020 and is believed to be in storage.

 

 

The CCA (Central Control Area) at TV Centre which for many years handled dozens of incoming and outgoing video and audio signals for transmission and recording was over many months during 2013 moved from TV Centre to the BBC Broadcast Centre, which is of course only a few hundred yards down Wood Lane.  Some might question the logic of spending millions of pounds on this but such things can only be understood by the enormous brains of senior BBC managers and their consultants.  We are not worthy to question such things.  However, some with simple minds might wonder whether the £200m raised from selling TVC seems quite such a good deal when all these extra costs are taken into account.