Students Meet Award-Winning BBC Producer
News image

By Emily Blanchard and Hollie Langley (Future Journalists Elective students)

Click here to see more images of the visit.

Have you any idea what’s behind the famous red BBC news sofa? A script? No. Bottles of water? No… how about a mirror and a hairbrush? Spot on.

Seven SJR Journalism students were lucky enough to discover this secret, and a whole lot more, on a recent personal BBC tour.

Award winning producer Libby Willis was kind enough to give these budding journalists a phenomenal tour behind the scenes of the BBC’s Quay House at MediaCityUK.

The students managed to extract a host of insider knowledge from Libby; for example – each meeting room is named after different BBC shows – Top Gear to name but one – and the lifts can be a bit of a nightmare.

A highlight of the tour was experiencing the actual BBC news studio which, to the surprise of the students, is a lot smaller than expected. Star struck, they loved seeing features such as the red sofa, weather map and automated working cameras (which followed their every move).

Libby was a mine of information and gave the low down on aspects of the media industry as well as her time at the BBC. She recalled, “The busiest night of my career was the evening of the horrific Manchester Arena bombing in May,” which she admitted was a night she’ll “never forget”.

“As journalists, we get on with which ever job or situation we are met with,” she said, “but that was one that really affected me and a lot of others.”

The students were inspired by Libby’s media career with the internationally respected BBC, which makes numerous well-knownprogrammes from its Salford home, including A Question of Sport, Mastermind and the brilliant CBeebies and CBBC.

The BBC looks like an amazing place to work and one of the visiting SJR students, Chris Forshaw said, “I’d love to work here one day, what a place to start your career.”