BBC bosses have asked for a major make-over for their new London headquarters, even though they’ve only been open for 18 months. The £1 billion headquarters, known as New Broadcasting House (NBH), will get the revamp despite complaints from staff.
Under the plans, revealed in reply to a letter to the BBC’s in-house magazine Ariel, the sixth and seventh floors of the building will be given an ‘EastEnders’ theme, after the Corporation’s flagship soap opera. The carpets will be torn up and replaced with a “street scape” featuring landmarks from the soap, which is set in a fictional East London square.
There will be an Albert Square hot-desking area, which will include iron railings, and a ‘Queen Vic’ themed meeting room – inspired by the soap’s fictional local pub.
Wiring to Ariel, Emma Saunders from the arts and entertainment department complained about unnecessary changes to the new headquarters:
“Can I ask why some of the carpets have been replaced in NBH only 18 months after we moved into the new building?
“I think many of us would rather have a modest pay rise than be dazzled by a new garish carpet as we step out of the lift.”
Claire Dresser, chief advisor for BBC Television, responded: “Following Television’s move to NBH last year, there was strong feedback from staff that the sixth and seventh floors did not feel like creative spaces and lacked character.
“In response, Danny Cohen [Director of BBC Television] asked for volunteers from Television staff to join a committee to come up with plans – at a reasonable cost – to make the spaces more creative and vibrant. The changes you are now seeing with TV branding, images and props are the ideas this volunteer group from all levels of Television have devised and agreed to.”
She concludes: “We want to make our space feel inspiring and creative – a home for BBC Television that reflects our ambitions as the very best broadcaster and producer in the world.”
No indication of cost has been released yet.
The makeover comes just weeks after the BBC announced the closure of the BBC Three channel to save more than £50 million.
In May last year, the Corporation also announced the cancellation of the Digital Media Initiative, which had cost £100 million of licence fee payers’ money.
New Broadcasting House was finally opened last year, four years behind schedule and £55 million over budget.