Old BH Before the Rebuild: Studio 8A

Studio 8A

A studio still exists in the space once occupied by 8A, now called 80A. But this is how it looked before the early 2000s refurbishment of BH. It was the only one of the original twenty-two studios in Broadcasting House which was not constructed within the studio tower. It wasn't possible to extend the tower to this height because of the mansard roof on the east side of the building so the double-height studio was built to the western side. It was the only studio that had some natural daylight coming in. It was necessary to avoid connecting the studio with the steel framework below it. Not the quietest studio in the building it was originally intended for band music.

8A seems to have clocked up a few firsts. It was the first BH studio to be completed. The first musical programme from the building came from here on 15th March 1932. It was also the first broadcast by the BBC Dance Orchestra conducted by Henry Hall. In 1944 the first Type A desk was installed, and about thirteen years later the first Type B replaced it.

These photographs were taken in 1989 at the time of the replacement of what was by now the last Type B desk in BH. The cubicle was cramped and access to the desk was up several steps due to an immovable structure under the floor. As the studio was spacious it was decided to use part of it to build a new cubicle. The old cubicle became a Green Room or observation room with a view into the new cubicle.

The new desk was a Calrec modelled on the BBC General Purpose design and the layout of the desk was very similar to the GPs. There were 26 channels and three groups. The monitoring panel (to the left of the channels) is similar to that of the GPs, as are the cue/clean feed switching for the four outside sources which can be seen to the right of the channels. Further to the right the bantam insert jackfield is just visible behind the producer's talkback box. The main monitoring speakers are LS5/8s
and small speakers sitting on the desk are provided to allow monitoring on something more like normal domestic quality. The outboard equipment in the trolley was a Klark-Teknik DN 780 reverb, a couple of Eventide harmonisers and, on top of the trolley, a Lexicon reverb unit.

(right) Telefunken M15A tape machines and Technics CD players are routed through the GP period tape control panels on the far wall.

The anechoic room under construction and complete.

Previously, the air conditioning chilled air and exhaust was ducted from the original 1932 plant eleven floors below in the sub-basement. A new plant room was constructed in the area that was originally Studio 8B.

The area was again rebuilt as part of the refurbishment of BH in the early 2000s, with the circular windows on the west side uncovered and once again allowing in some natural light. It is now called 80A.