Its one thing to hear the ever popular BBC Radio 4 drama – The Archers, over the air waves. But another experience entirely seeing just what goes into that 15 minute experience from the people behind the scenes at the BBC studio. Slinky got a great opportunity to be toured around a good portion of the building, seeing not just The Archers recording zone; we caught television visuals being cut live, had a quick peek at the radio control desks in action and even dropped in on a radio presenter on-air with a guest.
When we got to the actual Archers recording studio the biggest surprise was the vast amount of props littered around. Not for anything visual mind you, everything was for the sake of the edit, why spend time and money finding sound effects on the internet when you can make exactly what you want as-and-when you need it (not to mention the interaction actors can have). Beyond the kitchen that was littered with pots and pans you could also relax on any number of the different sofas available, others features included multiple doorbells, curtains and three sets of stairs, each with its own material.
The last room was however the most impressive. The “dead-room” as it’s called is packed all the way around with specialist noise cancelling foam, which means any echo or sound reverberations are completely removed; its like standing in a field and talking. Know it or not, your hearing is clever and it can make out ambient noise and room echo subconsciously, so when placed in a room expecting your voice to travel and upon seeing (or hearing rather) it doesn’t, it really starts messing with your brain. Its great for the show however, you get the same idea of two characters talking in a countryside field or even shouting across them without actors actually having to travel to a windy, messy field.
We really enjoyed our tour and recommend the same tour to any Archers or media lovers out there.
Thanks go out to BBC Birmingham and our brilliant tour guide Mark.