Her Majesty The Queen has officially opened the extension at the BBC’s Broadcasting House. Her visit was seen on BBC News when she appeared behind the newsreaders of the 24-hour news channel from the corporation.
Bringing together the BBC’s national and international radio, television and online journalism under one roof for the first time, alongside the BBC’s Television and Network Radio services.
The Queen, who previously re-opened the refurbished old Broadcasting House in April 2006, has toured the new building being no doubt thrilled by BBC Radio 1 DJs and current music stars. She also met World Service’s presenters and editors.
In a specially commissioned programme, Her Majesty declared the building open. Listeners were also able to hear for the first time a previously un-transmitted 1939 recording in which the then Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret were heard trying out new technology while at Broadcasting House with their parents King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.
The Queen also visited the beeb’s newsroom at the heart of the complex and was also shown an original television camera used during her Coronation.
The Broadcasting House project was divided into two phases. The first phase of construction between 2003 and 2006 comprised the refurbishment and restoration of the original 1932 Broadcasting House Grade II* listed building and the refurbishment of Western House, the new permanent home for Radio 2 and 6 Music; and the construction of the John Peel Wing, a new purpose-built, fully resilient building to the east of the site which houses the BBC’s Arabic and Persian TV services as well as BBC London.
The second phase of the project comprised the construction of a brand new 12-storey extension to link old Broadcasting House with the new ‘Peel Wing’. In a rarity for the BBC it was delivered ‘under budget’.
On Sunday 11th of March 2012, the BBC’s Burmese Service became the first programme to broadcast live from their new Broadcasting House studios on the 5th floor. The Andrew Marr Show was the first live domestic TV news show to broadcast from new Broadcasting House on Sunday September 2nd 2012. BBC World News was the first continuous television service to broadcast from its new studio facilities in Broadcasting House, went live on the 14th of January 2013.
The original Broadcasting House was designed by British architect George Val Myer, it was the first ever purpose-built broadcast centre in the UK. The building was officially opened by The Queen’s grandfather, George V and his wife Queen Mary, on July 7th 1932.
Broadcasting House survived serious bombing during the Blitz, especially in October 1940 when the newsreader Bruce Belfrage famously continued to read the news as the studio crumbled around him.