A place to spot celebrities up close (and somewhere to take your mum to).
The impressive BBC White City Building was built in 1990. It is also home to the BBC Television Centre and the BBC Woodlands Building. It was this site that was used for the Franco-British exhibition of 1908. The site was bought by the BBC during the 1980s – with the sole intention of redevelopment. 25,000 squared metres of space!
Television lovers can book guided tours where they get to wander into dressing rooms and retrace the footsteps of Britain’s best-loved TV presenters and actors. Learn more about it here.
But best thing to do though is becoming a part of the audience! BBC is a very generous company, giving away thousands of free tickets on a daily basis. Applying is easy, but don’t expect to be a chosen one, although as the practice shows, it is very much possible. I have been there twice already in the past few months!
First time it was for the special recordings of Strictly Come Dancing for Comic Relief, there I saw all the professional dancers up close (oh, those fit and hairless male dancers, covered in sequins with very low cleavage).
Second time was for BBC Red Nose Day, the day when the whole country gets together to do something funny for money and change countless lives in the process. BBC does its part with live translations of musical performances and celebrity comic sketches. We saw Annie Lennox, Elbow, JLS, Claudia Winkleman, and Jonathan Ross. Link for tickets
Choose the venue or the date, fill the forms, cross your fingers, and wait. They choose winners in a random draw.
Recording usually starts hours after admission onto the premises. You will have to queue for about an hour to get in. The earlier you start queuing, the better chances you’ll have to get close to the stage (you will be given a sticker with a number. Numbers from 1 to 115 go to the recording studio first). The later you come, less chances you have.
Also, if you get in quick, you will have to queue less in the bar for your rose. Keep in mind that chairs and tables in the bar do become occupied very quick.
If you feel thirsty inside the recording studios, ask some of the assistants – they will bring you bottled water.
Also, if you are too excited and came too early, there is a huge shopping mall – Westfield – just near by. Kill time by shopping.
BBC Television Centre,
Wood Lane, W12 7RJ
Nearest Tube Stations:
White City or Shepherd’s Bush