A small insight into the history of the BBC

Harefield Gazette - - OPINION -

SO, THERE I was in a BBC stu­dio, talk­ing into a mi­cro­phone, record­ing a ra­dio play.

OK, it was not as im­pres­sive as it sounds. No-one out­side the room would ever hear my pal­try ef­forts, as I was sim­ply part of a group tour­ing Broad­cast­ing House in Port­land Place.

I fleet­ingly thought of a woman from Hilling­don who had spot­ted me ear­lier (and asked if I was me), but she had been head­ing for a real ra­dio show in the BBC the­atre, so would not ob­serve me making a twit of my­self.

The 90-minute tour* was in­ter­est­ing and fun and in­cluded a lot of BBC history, such as see­ing the mi­cro­phone used for the first broad­cast by a monarch. There was a peek at the mas­sive news­room and a glimpse of the tiny One Show stu­dio.

If you wished, you could take pho­tos of your friends and fam­ily perched on the sofa where Matt and Alex usu­ally sit, or you could have a go at read­ing the news from an au­tocue, as my friend Cather­ine bravely did.

I love play read­ing and have long wanted to drop in on a group called Cur­tain Up that meets in Uxbridge li­brary. For peo­ple like me who enjoy act­ing, but are rub­bish at re­mem­ber­ing lines, it’s a per­fect hobby.

On a three month world cruise in 2012, I joined such a group and was given a de­li­ciously wicked part in Lady Win­der­mere’s Fan. Un­for­tu­nately, just as I was get­ting into my stride, it was exit stage right for a bil­ious Mrs Er­lynne when rough seas cut short my ef­forts.

But back to the BBC stu­dio where I was con­cen­trat­ing on paus­ing in the right places to al­low my fel­low ac­tors (in­clud­ing my brother-in-law, Mr F2) to get a word in.

Just as we fin­ished, a mem­ber of our party – half of a couple – whis­pered in my ear, ‘Are you Bar­bara Fisher?’ This time I was well and truly rum­bled.

The pair re­minded me that I am the speaker at their U3A group in Hayes later this year, so I asked if I could men­tion them in my col­umn.

I am now hop­ing that, be­cause Mary and Ray Smith of Hayes can no longer es­cape from me, they will give my hammy ef­fort a good re­port. *www.bbc.co.uk/tours for more in­for­ma­tion

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