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13 October 2022

New interactive map showcases buildings and places that shaped the BBC

The new map is part of UK-wide project to celebrate history of the BBC as it marks its centenary.

Picturesquely grouped house and stores built on a harbour front in SHetland.

From the inspiration for Dr Who’s TARDIS to the filming location for CBBC’s Balamory, the people, places and buildings that have defined the BBC have been highlighted as part of a new digital map available this autumn.

Today (13 October), Historic England, Historic Environment Scotland (HES), 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, including 13 sites in Scotland. These include the colourful facades of Main Street in Tobermory on the Isle of Mull, which provided the inspiration and locations for CBBC’s Balamory series; The Lodberrie in Shetland, built as a merchant trading post and now best known as the house of Detective Inspector Perez from the BBC drama Shetland; and the Police Box in Glasgow’s Buchanan Street, one of four that remain in the city which are known for their role as Doctor Who's TARDIS.

There are four key themes to explore on the map:

  • Programmes that bring us together – 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.
  • Iconic broadcasting buildings – 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.
  • Technology that transforms our lives – 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 smart phone 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?
  • People in a diverse and changing Britain – 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.

Go to the map

Click on a pin to discover its BBC story and learn more about historic buildings and places across the UK.

Dara Parsons, Head of Designations at HES, said:

Scotland’s iconic built heritage has played a starring role in some of the BBC’s best-loved programmes.

"We’re pleased to have been able to work with our counterparts across the UK to shine a spotlight on some of these special buildings and places through this project.”

Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive of Historic England, said:

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.”

Heritage Minister Lord Kamall said:

“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."

Robert Seatter, Head of BBC History, said:

“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.”

Image credit: Lerwick, The Lodberrie View from E, 1976 (c) HES reproduced courtesy of J R Hume

Full list of Scottish places of interest that appear on the map:

Beechgrove Terrace, Aberdeen
The Beechgrove Garden was filmed in the gardens of Aberdeen’s BBC studios for nearly 20 years, until relocation in 1996.

The Lodge, 121 Argyle Street West, Helensburgh
Inventor and television pioneer John Logie Baird was born in Helensburgh in 1888. View The Lodge's full listing record on the HES portal.

Tobermory, Isle of Mull
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.

30 Queen Margaret Drive, Glasgow
Built as a villa, then used as a college, 20 Queen Margaret Drive served as Broadcasting House from 1935 to 2007. The HES portal has full listing information for 30 Queen Margaret Drive.

202 Bath Street, Glasgow
On 6 March 1923, Station 5SC began broadcasting from an attic in Rex House, 202 Bath Street, Glasgow. View the full listing record for 202 Bath Street on the HES portal.

Plockton, Ross and Cromarty
The planned village of Plockton doubled as picturesque Lochdubh, the Highland setting for 1990s police comedy-drama Hamish Macbeth. View the full listing record for 43 Harbour Street on the HES portal.

BBC Burghead (Moray)
The Burghead Transmitters have broadcast the BBC's radio stations to northern Scotland on Long Wave and Medium Wave since 1936.

Church Street, Kilbarchan
The popular series Dr Finlay's Casebook was filmed in several locations, including Church Street, Kilbarchan. View the full listing record for Church Street on the HES portal.

The Lodberrie, Shetland
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. View the listing for 20 Commercial Street on the HES portal.

BBC Scotland, Studio Drive, Dumbarton, G82 2QW
Replicas of typical Glasgow-style sandstone tenements were built at BBC Dumbarton Studios, as the set for soap opera River City.

Buchanan Street Police Box, Glasgow
These deceptively spacious police boxes were once common in Britain's cities, now best known for their role as Doctor Who's TARDIS. Four of these boxes remain on Glasgow’s streets. View the full listing record for Buchanan Street Police Box on the HES portal.

The Esplanade, Edinburgh
The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo has been broadcast on the BBC from Edinburgh Castle Esplanade since 1951. View the full listing record for Edinburgh Castle on the HES portal.

Ardverikie House
Ardverikie, with its outstanding Baronial House was used to portray Glenbogle Estate in the popular series Monarch of the Glen. View the full listing record for Ardverikie House on the HES portal.

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