100 Places for 100 Years of the BBC
In the BBC’s centenary year, explore 100 key BBC places around the UK – from famous studios to iconic broadcast locations.
From the filming locations of TV favourites such as 'Byker Grove' and 'Gavin and Stacey' to the Fire Brigade Station where the first female BBC war correspondent Audrey Russell worked during the Blitz, a new digital map available this autumn highlights the people, places and buildings that have defined the BBC.
Today (13 October), Historic England, Historic Environment Scotland, Historic Environment Division, Northern Ireland Communities Department and Cadw, launch a new interactive map of 100 buildings and places around the UK, to celebrate 100 years of the BBC.
The map offers insight into the diversity of sites across the UK that are key to the history of the BBC – from famous studios to iconic broadcast locations.
This is a great opportunity to discover the influential BBC buildings and places on your doorstep. In 100 years, the BBC invented and then transformed the broadcast landscape; keeping us up to date with the latest news and making us laugh and cry with their comedy and drama programmes. It’s fascinating to see how, all over the UK, the history of the BBC exists in our historic buildings and sites.
From the world's first radio factory in Chelmsford to the 'Strictly Come Dancing' Ballroom in Blackpool, the BBC has played a central role in broadcasting and our national life over the past 100 years. It's brilliant to see the many locations that played a role in the BBC's heritage recognised and celebrated on this map, while helping people learn more about their local history.
In our centenary year, we are delighted to be working with national historic partners to explore the BBC’s presence right across the UK, from Poldark at Charlestown Harbour in Cornwall to DI Perez’s house in Lerwick, Shetland. Along with popular TV locations, we showcase our BBC buildings and engineering centres that have become landmarks on and off screen, entering directly into the nation’s living rooms and connecting us with the wider world.
Celebrating the programmes that we have listened to and watched together, from Sir David Attenborough at the BBC Studios Natural History Unit in Broadcasting House Bristol to the magnificent Blackpool Tower Ballroom, the venue of the 'Strictly Come Dancing' live semi-final show each year.
BBC television and radio programmes have been, and continue to be, made in striking buildings around the UK, from state-of-the-art sound studios to dramatic filming locations.
Early studios were often in adapted buildings like 31 Linenhall Street, Belfast, a former linen warehouse. Then the BBC created specially designed, state-of-the-art buildings such as Broadcasting House, London, which opened in 1932 and Television Centre in 1960.
Innovative broadcast technology has changed our lives over the past 100 years, from the first signals sent to the radio set in our homes to digital broadcasting becoming available on the smartphone in our pockets.
You might know the first regular high-definition television service was broadcast from Alexandra Palace in 1936, but did you know the world’s first purpose-built radio factory is Marconi’s in Chelmsford?
Learn more about the people behind the places. From Shibden Hall, where the popular drama 'Gentleman Jack' was filmed at Anne Lister’s own home to 16c Brunswick Park in Camberwell, London where the BBC’s first Black woman broadcaster and producer, Una Marson lived, marked now by a special plaque.
Find all these places and more on the 100 BBC Places map. Click on a pin to discover its BBC story and learn more about historic buildings and places across the UK.
The BBC’s first purpose-built headquarters including specially designed studios for radio broadcasting, opened in 1932.
This Grade II* listed Art Deco building in the heart of London is one of the most recognisable of the BBC’s studios, often appearing in BBC news broadcasts and television programmes.
Audrey Russell served at the Chiltern Street Fire Station during the Second World War, until becoming the BBC’s first female war correspondent, covering the shelling of Dover and the D-Day landings. She was a female pioneer in the male-dominated world of war reporting, and an inspirational figure for future generations.
Charlestown’s eighteenth-century harbour, developed for copper ore and china clay export, features in hit BBC TV drama 'Poldark'. Built from 1790 with various later additions, the harbour is listed at Grade II*.
The Mitre is the location used to film the 'Byker Grove' youth club in the BBC TV drama that launched the careers of Ant and Dec. This Grade II listed building is in fact in Benwell rather than Byker.
The BBC Symphony Orchestra evacuated London in the Second World War, broadcasting concerts from Bedford Corn Exchange from 1941 to 1945. An elegant Victorian public building, The Corn Exchange was listed at Grade II in June 2022 as part of Historic England’s research for the Bedford High Street Heritage Action Zone.
15th-century Raglan Castle was designed to impress and intimidate. It did both as the 'Isle of the Blessed' in the series 'Merlin'. This Scheduled Ancient Monument contains some of the earliest brickwork in Wales and has been uninhabited since 1646.
The World Heritage Site of Pontcysyllte Canal runs through Llangollen; home of the International Eisteddfod and, in 1958, the site of one of the first major outside broadcasts. Constructed over a difficult geographical landscape, this masterpiece of the 19th-century architecture highlights the innovations of the Industrial Revolution.
Constructed in 1923, this arcade is an integral part of Barry Island's seaside charm. It's also where Nessa works in the BBC’s hit comedy 'Gavin and Stacey'. Tidy. Primarily built to be used by the industrial working-class areas of South Wales, Barry Island now attracts visitors from all over the nation.
The colourful facades of Tobermory’s Main Street provided the inspiration and locations for CBBC’s 'Balamory' series. Tobermory is an 18th-century fishing port located on the Isle of Mull.
Shetland Lodberries were built as merchants' trading posts - this one is best known as the house of Detective Inspector Perez from the BBC drama 'Shetland'.
These deceptively spacious police boxes were once common in Britain's cities, now best known for their role as Doctor Who's TARDIS. Very few of these boxes remain out of the thousands that originally existed all around Britain.
Art Deco style BBC Northern Ireland headquarters, built in 1938-41 to designs by Glasgow architect James Millar. The construction of a radio transmitter in 1936 at Lisnagarvey allowed broadcasts from these new headquarters to reach the entirety of Northern Ireland for the first time.
Belfast's first (free) public library, built 1884-88, used from 2014 as the Police headquarters in BBC1/2 drama 'Line of Duty'. Opened in 1988, on the same day as Belfast received its official city status, this library represents a new era of Belfast, and is still in use today.
This small rural settlement served as the fictional setting for the 2016 BBC1 wartime drama 'My mother and other strangers'. Obtained by the National Trust in 1965, the former fishing village now mainly functions as full-time residence once again.
For more information about 100 years of the BBC, including a year-by-year interactive timeline go to BBC 100 - Celebrating 100 Years of the BBC.
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