- New Broadcasting House
New Broadcasting House BBC Manchester Studios Alternative names BBC Manchester Studios
General information Type Television and radio studios Architectural style Precast concrete panels, with bronze-tinted solar-heat-rejecting glass Address Oxford Road, Manchester, M60 1SJ Coordinates Elevation 10 m (33 ft) Current tenants BBC North West
Completed July 1975 Inaugurated 18 June 1976 Technical details Structural system Reinforced concrete shell Other dimensions 5.4 acres (1.66 ha) Floor count 6 Floor area 327,000 sq feet Design and construction Client BBC Landlord BBC Main contractor Higgs and Hill Architect R.A. Sparks Architecture firm BBC Architectural and Civil Engineering Department Structural engineer Ove Arup Services engineer Haden Young Civil engineer D.G. Nimmy Other designers Acousticians - Sandy Brown Associates
Mechanical Services - Building Design Partnership
Quantity surveyor Bare, Leaning, and Bare
New Broadcasting House (NBH) is the home of the BBC on Oxford Road in Manchester city centre. The studios house BBC Manchester, BBC North, BBC North West, the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and the BBC Religion and Ethics department. New Broadcasting House is expected to be vacated by the end of 2011 with a view to redevelopment after the BBC transfers to MediaCityUK, in Salford Quays.
Architecture and construction
On 21 July 1967, compulsory purchase orders by Manchester City Council for the site were approved by the Minister of Housing and Local Government.
Planning began in 1967 and planning permission was granted in December 1968. Designs by an external architect were abandoned in February 1970 in favour of plans by an architect from the BBC's Architectural and Civil Engineering Department. New planning permission was granted in March 1971, and construction began in December 1971, with a completion date of 1975 for the first broadcasts.
Construction was in three stages - the network production centre for local radio and outside broadcasts, a large rehearsal studio for the Northern Symphony Orchestra and the regional television centre. Radio Manchester was built on the upper ground floor in the west of the office block with a 754 square metre area. Studio A, a 453 square metre television studio was built in the single-storey building behind the six-storey office block. The central technical area was next to the TV and radio studios.
The building was supported on 214 piles, bored to maximum depth of around 13 metres. The building frame was made of reinforced concrete infilled with flat soffit slabs and 2,100 square metres of windows. Its architecture has been ridiculed as 'drab' and unfit for the 21st century, particularly on a main thoroughfare.
Before New Broadcasting House opened, the BBC's Manchester base was at Broadcasting House in Piccadilly, and from 1958 it occupied four floors of Peter House in St Peter's Square. The former studio of Mancunian Films in Rusholme was bought in 1954 and Milton Hall, Deansgate was the home of the BBC Northern Symphony Orchestra which was renamed the BBC Philharmonic in 1982.
Staff moved in on the weekend of 12-13 July 1975, with the whole of the headquarters in operation by September 1975. The centre was officially inaugurated as the headquarters of BBC North on 18 June 1976. On opening, the radio station was named BBC Radio Manchester; it changed its name to BBC GMR (and briefly, GMR Talk) before reverting to its original name in April 2006. A second television studio was built and opened in May 1981 for regional TV news, leading to the closure of the old Broadcasting House in Piccadilly after 52 years in operation.
The site is north of Manchester Metropolitan University bounded by Oxford Road, Charles Street, and Pritchard Street. To the rear of the building is the River Medlock. Around 800 staff work at the site. A 180-seat restaurant was built on the second floor. The view from the top of building mostly encompasses the nearby sweep of the Mancunian Way.
Move to MediaCityUK
In 2011 the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra which rehearsed and broadcast from Studio 7 moved to the new site.
Programmes based or produced at New Broadcasting House
- A Question of Sport
- Cheggers Plays Pop
- Dragons' Den
- File on Four (BBC Radio 4)
- Going for Gold
- It's a Knockout
- Life on Mars
- No Limits
- Open Air
- Outtake TV
- Real Story
- Screen Test
- Songs of Praise
- Street Doctor
- That's Showbusiness
- The Heaven and Earth Show
- Granada Studios - ITV Granada's base in Manchester
- 3SixtyMedia - BBC Manchester and Granada joint venture
- ^ BBC Engineering March 1976 Number 102
- ^ Acoustics
- ^ "BBC Oxford Road site sold". Manchester Confidential. 5 April 2011. http://www.manchesterconfidential.co.uk/Property/BBC-Oxford-Road-site-sold. "If Tishbi is the winner Confidential hopes only the highest grade architecture is given planning permission here. The vast impermeable frontage of the BBC is a shockingly drab barrier on the land."
- ^ Sale of building "BBC sells Manchester base ahead of move to Salford". BBC. 5 April 2011. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-manchester-12969666 Sale of building.
- ^ "BBC's Oxford Road home sold for £10m". Manchester Evening News. 5 April 2011. http://menmedia.co.uk/manchestereveningnews/news/business/s/1417183_bbcs-oxford-road-home-sold-for-10m.
- ^ BBC Religion and Ethics "BBC Religion and Ethics". BBC. http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/ BBC Religion and Ethics.
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