It could have been a case of “look, but don’t touch” …as it was, media students got to read the news, present the weather and perform in a radio play on a tour of BBC Broadcasting House in London.
And they found out how how rubber gloves become birds on the radio.
MA and BA students from a range of media courses took part in the trip, which was followed by a visit to an exhibition on activism at the Victoria & Albert Museum.
They overlooked one of the world’s biggest newsrooms and got to sit in The One Show studio. A few even saw a group of paparazzi in action when Radio 1 presenter Fearne Cotton emerged from the building.
Raisa Ismail, studying BA Journalism and Media, said: “I think a lot of people enjoyed the radio. The sound effects they used were really interesting: how they used simple household props to create the impression of being, say, outside at the sea.
“They used pebbles in a box to sound like people walking on the beach. They used gloves as birds flapping their wings – kitchen gloves, like the ones you use to wash up. They flap them together.
“I expected The One Show studio to be bigger.
“The newsroom was really cool. I was wondering why the tables were shaped in the way they were: one side was international and one national and each table had a specific topic, and each table had a social media person on it. And the editors had their own table right in the middle. It’s said to be the biggest newsroom in Europe.
“Two students got to read the news and Nour [Abida] read the weather. She was trying to point to specific areas but because she couldn’t see the map it was a bit all over the place.”
Raisa was one of the journalism students who were waiting for their tour to begin when they saw the press photographers gathering.
“Fearne Cotton was about to leave work and we only knew this because there were several photographers waiting outside. We asked them and they said there were rumours she was pregnant.
“She came out and all the photographers walked towards her. As she was walking they walked backwards taking pictures.
“They didn’t communicate at all. She kind of walked past knowingly like she expected them to be there.”
The trip was a highlight of the year and there are plans to repeat it for journalism students [update: tours of Broadcasting House in London have been stopped because of security fears, but they continue at regional broadcast centres such as Bristol and Birmingham].
Raisa said: “It was definitely worth it. I think I can see myself doing broadcast after visiting the BBC. It looks like a really professional and engaging environment.”
Pictures by Nour Abida, Raisa Ismail, Simon Pipe and BBC tour guide