Wednesday, February 6, 2013

BBC TV Centre to become a Hotel!

BBC Centre to become a hotel

Licence fee payers will soon be able to watch, listen, and live in BBC Television Centre in west London after plans were unveiled to turn the famous doughnut-shaped inner ring of the complex into executive apartments. The cost of the development is likely to be about £500m and is expected to be worth £1bn when completed. Guardian
I have a love/hate affair with the BBC Television Centre which has/is to be sold off and among other things turned into  hotel.

I love/hate it because I always wanted to work for the BBC. It was my ambition as I had watched and admired the BBC ever since I had seen Muffin the Mule in 1947 and I fell in love with the medium. I so wanted to work for them and I did once or twice but it was never a happy experience. I even had my children's ballet TV series, Dance Tales Story Ballets shown by the BBC and I was initially thrilled as this was an honour only to have it spoiled by the BBC being very petty and exceedingly unfair about payment. I had to resort to the Governor General to sort it out. He did.

I hated going to auditions there. The entrance hall was so huge and intimidating. I was scared stiff before I even started. The BBC producers could be very intimidating too, putting their feet on the desk or worse after I had made the effort and expense to see them they would say the part was already cast. I never got a real part from the BBC but I did very well at Associated Rediffusion so  I must have had something!

The BBC secretaries were scary too. I dreaded ringing them up as they were just so rude even if the director had told you to do so.  Thank goodness I could sing and dance and never had to rely on them for a living. I think they were bitter that they were unable to become producers themselves and took it out on actors trying to get work. I once had to ring and ask for an extra day's pay. The reception I received was ear shattering. I never got paid. The BBC were awfully good at that.

By chance my husband owned a house in Frithville Gardens which is the back door entrance to the BBC  so for three years the BBC Television Centre was my next door neighbor. It was strange to live so near to the place I wanted to work and yet so far. We emigrated to New Zealand and in fact it was from there that I attained my ambition. I was employed at last by the BBC but I had to move 11 thousand miles away to do it. I would never have achieved this if I had stayed in London.

I cannot believe that they have moved BBC production to Manchester. I think it is a shame that multi camera dramas and live entertainment shows are nearly a thing of the past but I shall certainly make sure at least I stay a night there when the BBC hotel is reality although the rooms are very, very small. I was astounded just how small the head of children's programmes office was. It was minute.

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