Broadcasting House (BBC)

Category: Television and Radio

Broadcasting House is the headquarters of the BBC in London. Situated in Portland Place, it is normally home to Radio 2, 3, 4, 6 Music and BBC 7. Architect G Val Myer designed the building in collaboration with the BBC’s civil engineer, M T Tudsbery.

Broadcasting House was officially opened on May 14, 1932 and is now Grade II listed.

At the front of the building are statues of Prospero and Ariel (from Shakespeare’s The Tempest) by Eric Gill. Their choice was fitting since Prospero was a magician, and Ariel, a spirit of the air, in which radio waves travel. There was reportedly some controversy over some features of the statues when first built and they were said to have been subsequently modified. They were reported to have been sculpted by Gill as God and Man, rather than simply Prospero and Ariel, and that there is a small carved picture of a beautiful girl on the back part of Prospero’s statue. Other sources claim that Gill intended them as God the Father and Son, as supported by the fact that the statue of Ariel has stigmata. Additional carvings of Ariel can be found on the building’s exterior in many Bas-reliefs.

Broadcasting House was the home of the BBC Radio Theatre, where music and speech programmes (typically comedy for BBC Radio 4) were recorded in front of a studio audience.


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