A New Midland Studio for BBC Television 

17 April 2023 tbs.pm/77388

 

Cover of the Radio Times

From the Radio Times for 20 April 1958

THE BBC’s Midland Television studio at Gosta Green, Birmingham, from which the Show Band Show will be televised on Friday, is the newest BBC studio and incorporates the latest ideas in design and technique. The studio, originally opened in January 1956 on a temporary basis, has recently gone into action again after being closed for the installation of new equipment.

On Friday night the production and engineering staff will be sitting – a little tensely, perhaps — at the controls of new and complex equipment now being brought into service after many months of installation work.

The Gosta Green studio was at one time a cinema, then a boxing and wrestling stadium. No cinemagoer or boxing fan would recognise the building now, for the whole of the interior has been tom out to make a permanent .studio of 5,000 sq. ft. — the biggest BBC studio outside London, and one of the biggest in the country.

The brilliantly lit studio floor, with its production sets and television cameras, is overlooked by a glassed-in production gallery from which the producer and his team of assistants and engineering staff, surrounded by complex sound and vision equipment and by monitor screens, control the production.

In the production gallery is a lighting console rather like a cinema organ. This is manned by the lighting engineer who uses the keys to control the brilliance of each of the scores of lights slung on a grid over the studio floor. Dawn — through noon to dusk — at a flick of the wrist is the easiest of the many different lighting effects that can be produced.

In the Telecine Room

Elsewhere in the building, away from the studio floor, is the Midland Region film unit, producing and editing the many film inserts for such regular Midland Region programmes as Farming and Gardening Club. In the telecine room, which stands where the foyer of the cinema used to be, electronic apparatus turns these films into television pictures which can be mixed in with the ‘live’ material from the studio.

News-film cameramen, travelling the Region in search of news, bring back their films each day to this telecine room for use in the nightly regional television news or in the national news bulletins.

All these activities, and others, such as the design and preparation of scenery and sets, mean that there will often be a considerable number of people working at Gosta Green, including sometimes groups of players rehearsing for long periods in costume. So among the pleasant features of the building are a well-equipped restaurant and a comfortable Green Room where the artists may relax while awaiting the next call.

The Gosta Green studio is an exciting new step forward for television in the Midland Region. The producers and engineers now starting to work there, with first-class facilities at their command, will be trying to ensure that the Midlands are represented on the BBC’s national television network by the very best programmes that can be contrived.

 

 

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