Thursday 14 March 2019

BBC Tours Newcastle - Review

*We were invited guests of BBC Tours Newcastle for review purposes

Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes of your favourite TV shows? I had always imagined it to be ridiculously glamorous - celebrities, hair & makeup and huge studios and whilst some of that is certainly true I never appreciated all of the hard work that goes into broadcasting the programmes I watch every day until we went on the BBC Tour in Newcastle.

You may not know this, because I only very recently found out, but BBC Newcastle run tours for the public three days a week offering a fantastic chance to see behind the scenes of TV and Radio in the North East. There are two tours to choose from, a children's interactive tour and an adults tour suitable for over 12s.

BBC Tours Newcastle - Review
Simon and I booked ourselves on to the BBC Tour on Saturday morning at 10:30 am and were greeted at the door by Jordy and Tony, our two guides. We checked in, stashed away our bags and in exchange were given passes to wear for the tour.

I instantly felt very cool having a BBC lanyard hanging from my neck! This lasted until around the time I spotted the Tardis in reception and instantly became a super fan. I insisted on throwing on all of the Doctors clothes for a picture in front of it - it'll take a lot more than a BBC pass to make this girl a cool kid!

BBC Tour Newcastle - Review

Once the rest of our group had arrived it was time for our tour to begin. There were around 16 of us in total - a nice amount to move around the building and we started off with a little history of how BBC Newcastle began. It's funny to think now that for many years everything was broadcast from London with no local information available to other regions. Imagine not having a local news broadcast!

Looking along the timeline it was interesting to see what an important part the North East has played in the development of the BBC with many of my favourite shows and TV stars beginning life in Newcastle. My very first introduction to Newcastle was through a children's TV programme in the 90s - Byker Grove, I remember everyone at school trying to copy the Geordie accent.

Walking into the BBC library we discovered how recordings are made and stored and I couldn't believe all the shelves of video tapes and film reels. The archives are incredible and I had no idea how much footage the BBC has to store. Slightly morbid, but there's a little top shelf of the library containing obituaries for all of the key members of the Royal Family so in the event of the deaths of the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles or Prince William the BBC can instantly respond.

BBC Newcastle - Review

Next we went into one of the smaller studios to learn more about green screen technology and I got to live out my Harry Potter dreams by putting on the "cloak of invisibility" and turning myself into a floating head drifting above the Newcastle Quayside. This little trick really impressed the kids on our tour but I have to say I had just as much fun disappearing and reappearing in front of the cameras as they did.

BBC Newcastle - Tour Review

I think the most impressive part of the tour was stepping into the big news studio to go behind the scenes of Look North. As the huge doors rolled back and we stepped inside we were all pretty gobsmacked by the huge lights hanging from the ceiling, the cameras and seeing the news desk in real life. I probably shouldn't give away all the secrets, but did you know the offices you see behind the news desk aren't real offices at all? Shhhh don't tell anyone!

The studio was split into three sections. The hard news desk where all of the important headlines are broadcast, the soft news area where guests and presenters sit on comfier sofas to chat and the big screen for the weather. We learnt so many interesting behind the scenes facts and I've come away with a huge respect for the weather presenters who can be given anything from 30 seconds to 6 minutes to do their weather report and quite often have to ad lib to fill the time!

BBC Newcastle - Tours Review

Next was a quick stop to the Gallery where the production team and director sits. The room was completely full of TV screens and endless buttons - I can't even imagine the pressure of being in that room during a live broadcast. Imagine pressing the wrong button and turning out all the lights in the studio by accident?

With BBC Newcastle being a working studio every tour offers a real taste of a working day and as we moved into the radio studios we got to watch the presenters in the next door studio live on the radio. Absolute professionals, I can't imagine having a tour group coming through my office when I'm doing my job - imagine!

We ended our visit in the Interactive Studio where we got to put together our own little news broadcast switching between the news, weather and sport. Such a great moment for anyone wanting a go at being a presenter with a chance to read auto cues and speak to camera before seeing the final piece complete with intros and video clips.

BBC Newcastle - Studio Tour Review

We absolutely loved our time at BBC Newcastle, our guides were so much fun, we learnt loads and I honestly can't recommend the tour enough to anyone. It was so much fun doing something a little different and I left with a huge amount of love and respect for our local TV studio and the wonderful people running it.

What you need to know:
  • Tours take place on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays at 10:30 am and 1:30 pm
  • Arrival time is 15 minutes before tours start to allow for security checks. Large bags are prohibited
  • Tickets prices up to 31 March 2019 are Adults £10.00; Children £7.50 from 1 April 2019 ticket prices increase to Adults £11.00; Children £8.00 - for other prices please check here
  • The Tour lasts approximately 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Parking at the studios is available on Saturdays but limited during the week. The Studio is a 20 minute walk from the city centre
Find BBC Newcastle at:

Broadcasting Centre
Barrack Road



  1. Ah this sounds so interesting Chloe - I bet it was so fun too.

    1. So much fun! It was really personable as well, you could ask as many questions as you liked going round and we were really encouraged to get the most out of the trip!

  2. This looks so much fun, I think I will book in with my dad next time he is over as he would probably love this! I'd be chuffed over the invisibilty cloak too.

    1. I became the biggest kid for the afternoon right from the moment I spotted that Tardis!

  3. Brilliant, you make a great newsreader. Thanks for sharing x

    1. Ahhh thanks, I think the matching outfit really helps!


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