“Peek behind the scenes of Midlands Today, BBC WM, the Asian Network, and if you’re lucky, the famous and intriguing Archers studio.”

This was the promise to twelve budding journalists from Years 5 and 6 who, last Tuesday, visited the BBC Birmingham studios as part of their MediaMania TED course.

On entering the BBC studios in the Mailbox we were immediately immersed into an entertaining and informative tour that brought the fantastic TV, radio and online productions created at BBC Birmingham to life in a variety of creative ways. We stepped into the Midlands Today studio and production room and learned how the incredible news teams put together the daily news programmes that we enjoy at home. We were all really surprised to learn that the weather is no longer filmed on a green-screen set but instead is broadcast live, in the same studio, with no autocue. It’s all delivered from memory!

We then headed to the adjacent BBC WM radio studios and learnt all about local radio and how the broadcasters combine their live scripts with recorded media, phone-ins, remote interviews and music. They even had an ancient looking turntable in the studio for those who still prefer to broadcast their music from vinyl.

Our tour concluded with a glimpse into life at Ambridge as we visited the studios of the world’s longest-running radio soap opera, The Archers. A combination of video and live demonstration showed us how an episode is recorded live, complete with sound effects. It was a fascinating insight into contemporary radio drama production.

The children thoroughly enjoyed their visit to the BBC. Here are some of their thoughts:

“My favourite part was when we talked about The Archers and how they add the sound effects during recording. The Archers is recorded over a period of six days each month which generates a month’s worth of programmes.”
Luke, Year 5

“It was great that Lily and I were able to go behind the scenes of Midlands Today. We sat in the Director’s chair and saw loads of cameras and a blackout curtain. It was surprising how small the studio actually is. It looks so much bigger on TV.”
Natasha, Year 5

“I loved looking in the control room of Midlands Today and seeing all of the screens and buttons. As one of the senior members of the trip I am rating it with 5 stars.” (5*)
Morgan, Year 6

Mr Hill

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