Posted by Happy Homemaker UK

Sorry to have been away so long, my chickadees ;)

I skipped into London to have coffee with Robynne of Robynne's Nest
We have a lot in common, for she is an Australian expat here,
and she is an absolute delight :)

The following day I went back into London to tour the BBC Television Centre
And let me just say, BBC and Big Ben have been my two favorite tours since living here

I love my BBC media access tag {to keep!}
I wonder if it would work as a backstage pass at a concert?

I didn't expect to enjoy the BBC as much as I did because we hardly watch television,
so I am unfamiliar with their programs
{ I can't figure out how to get my Sky Box to record }

But I admit I was dazzled by the studios and news desk
and our guides were very entertaining

They told us if we saw someone famous we shouldn't take photos or ask for autographs
And I followed that up with a request to tell us when we do see someone famous!

Anyhoo, in Britain, anyone who owns a television is required annually
to buy a TV License for £145.50 / $220 - Ouch!
All that money goes directly to the BBC to provide commercial-free programming

BBC is the largest broadcaster in the world and
our guide estimated BBC World is in 190 countries { not funded by the TV License }

BBC also publishes books and magazines { Homes And Antiques, a fav }
and recently purchased Lonely Planet Travel Guides

This media empire is moving 50% of their programming up north to Salford, near Manchester

Why? Our guide said the short answer is subscribers complained
it was not fair to pay the licensing fee and have all the programming concentrated in London

Before WWII, the BBC was mostly broadcasting on radio

Only the wealthy could afford televisions
and most TV programming was just a few hours each day of
someone reading a poem or playing the violin
{ my, how programming has changed }

A black-and-white Mickey Mouse film was showing the moment WWII started,
and BBC Television immediately went off air

When it aired again 5 years later, a woman gave her deepest apologies for going off air
and then they continued that Mickey Mouse film right where it left off 5 years before the war

It gives me goosebumps to think how many lives changed
between the two frames of the Mickey Mouse cartoon

The guide speculated the BBC went off air because many of the staff were needed for the war efforts,
however, BBC Radio did broadcast during the war

Furthermore, few owned televisions, so it may have seemed frivolous to have stayed on air

After the war, the children's show Blue Peter was created, catering to 5 to 8 year olds
With London under rubble, it was a breath of fresh air featuring a garden and adventures
It is still the longest running children's program in the world and still airs

The Americans in our group wanted to know
if BBC studio audiences have signs instructing them to 'Laugh' or 'Applause' as in the US

Our guide chuckled and said if you told an English audience when to laugh,
they would stand up and walk right out the door!

- all photos by me -

BBC Tour Information here