BBC Birmingham

As Sarah Joyce, approaches Christmas, she can hardly believe how quickly her time at BBC Birmingham is passing….

I’ve already been involved with a number of different projects; I’ll give you a taster of some of them below!

BBC Birmingham’s Open Day

As soon as I joined the team, it was all hands on deck to prepare for BBC Birmingham’s first public Open Day. Our main base in The Mailbox opened its doors and welcomed almost 800 members of the public to go behind-the-scenes and see what we do.

Welcome to BBC Birmingham

There was a range of exciting workshops on offer, with all our big-name shows playing their part. From interviews with The Archers’ writers to a behind-the-scenes glimpse of radio drama with the Home Front team, there was something for everyone.  Alongside the workshops, the recently launched Blue Room showcased some of the latest innovations in broadcast equipment to budding techies.  Visitors tested their presenting prowess in our Be on TV space, stocked up on Pudsey goodies from the Children in Need stall and got fake cuts and bruises galore from our expert makeup artists, fresh from the set of the BBC’s popular daytime soap, Doctors.

Midlands Today presenter, Nick Owen, talking to the public during an Open Day tour

As you can imagine, the event required a lot of careful planning! Whilst I had previous experience in events, working on the Open Day allowed me to hone my skills and get to grips with planning something of a much larger scale. Physically walking through possible scenarios for the day was very useful in trying to foresee any issues!

In the two weeks running up to the Open Day, we had two fellow BBC colleagues join us from other BBC bases (Bristol and London) on ‘hot shoes’ placements. Hot Shoes is a great scheme at the BBC that allows employees to apply for two week placements in departments in which they haven’t previously worked.  Being joined by these two colleagues taught me a great deal. Not only did we share expertise and learn about our respective home departments, I also got my first taste of being responsible for briefing other people and allocating their workload.

Our 'hot shoes' team
Our ‘hot shoes’ team

I’m a big believer in getting feedback from events so I put together a questionnaire for visitors to fill out. The comments were really useful in assessing what worked really well and what could be improved in the future. Overall, we were delighted that 87% of those who gave feedback rated the event at an 8/10 or above!

BBC Music Awards

Another exciting part of my role so far has been helping out at the BBC’s second annual Music Awards. This year, the event was held at the Genting Arena so lots of BBC Birmingham staff were involved.  I was working in the VIP area, looking after the BBC’s invited guests – making sure they knew where they were going and what was going on!  I was lucky enough to get to see the show from the VIP area too which was great.  Ellie Goulding’s vocals were flawless!

My wristbands
My wristbands
The Stage
The Stage

NCTJ conference

As my Line Manager is ‘Partnerships Manager’, our job often involves facilitating events for external organisations that are being hosted on our premises. The largest one of these to date has been the National Council for the Training of Journalists’ Journalism Skills Conference.  My Line Manager was on leave during the conference so I was the main point of contact for the NCTJ in the run up to the event. As well as making external contacts, it was a great opportunity to get to know people from different departments across the BBC.  Inevitably, the planning of an event requires liaising with many teams- from the catering staff, to health and safety to security, the list goes on. I love working on events when I first start in a role as it gives you such a good insight into who’s who and what’s what! The event went very smoothly and the NCTJ are keen to work with us again so thumbs up all round

Doctors Tour

Just as a quick side note, I also got to visit the BBC Drama Village where Doctors is filmed.  A lovely guy named Andy who works there gave us a tour and we saw some scenes being shot.  Having only ever worked on factual content, it was really interesting to see behind-the-scenes on a drama set and get a glimpse of how different it is!

I’m not sure yet what we have lined up for after Christmas – I’ll fill you in in my next blog post!


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