The future in Manchester-Salford:

If you are in any way at all interested in the Manchester/Salford Quays/Media City UK project,  I definitely recommend the "Familiarisation Trip"

2 days ----  departs London Euston 08:30 on Day1  -  arrive back at Euston at 18:00 on Day 2    Overnight in a central Manchester hotel.  All meals provided.

You can't get access onto the actual building site for Media City UK,  regrettably,  but you can see clearly how it is developing from the Lowry balcony. All the pictures below are from my trip (Oct 2008)

Also in the visit on day 1 are a tram trip from Salford Quays into Manchester,  walking tours of Manchester City Centre,  a meeting with a group of experts on mortgages, property to buy or rent,  schools,  the BBC relocation package etc,  dinner in the hotel,  and a chance to sound out some current BBC Manchester staff.

Day 2 has breakfast in the hotel,  a bus tour around some Manchester / Salford / Stretford / NE Cheshire suburbs with emphasis on property prices and commuting options.  Then another short walk in the city centre,  and a quick visit to BH Manchester (Oxford Road) with sandwiches and another chance to talk to selected Manchester staff about their experience of living and working there.  It is to be regretted that the organisers are unable to answer any questions on  how you actually do your job,  or indeed who will you actually be working for.  Nor any questions about the fitting-out of the broadcast centre or its studios and workplaces.


More views of the building that Five Live will be in.

The welcoming sight that meets you above the door of the current BH Manchester


Current Manchester Studio 4   -  Nolan,   Womans Hour etc...        note highly advanced IT installation for presenters..  

...oh all right,  they have to bring in and plug up a couple of laptops every time a presenter needs to see ENPS,  Phonebox etc etc 

STUDER Vista 6 programmable desk with motorised faders (but horrible clean feed matrix)

(they can,  however,  access everything on BNCS,  but only have 4 OSs to put them on,  so if they're using News Sports and S5 it doesn't leave much)

Frontage of the old Free Trade Hall (Grade 2 listed)  is all that remains of the concert hall famous for the Bob Dylan "Judas" concert - now the Radisson Hotel.

Radisson hotel  (rear view above)  which used to be the overnight on the familiarisation visit,  but as of Feb 2009 a city centre hotel  is yet to be arranged.  I'll post here as soon as the organisers inform me.   Still lots of excellent pubs within easy city centre walk.  See me for details.

You can get more information on the project,  and sign up for the familiarisation trip,  at

sign in as:   bbc              insert the secret word here:   north2

You are encouraged to go with your partner on the trip  -  they don't seem to mind about any formalities.

When you sign up you'll see a box that asks you for your area of work -  there isn't one for SMs so I ticked the box that said  "Five Live - News"   Nobody seemed to mind.  Some SMs  have signed in as "other". 

I'll put all the information and handouts that they gave me into a file in DAC,  with maps etc. 

               more info and opinions  for the price of a pint..


What's where around the Salford Quays project (owned by Peel Holdings - the BBC is only renting)

The bus tour  -  ( witnessing the drive-by shooting in Moss Side is an optional extra at added cost)

Note:   the Greater Manchester Congestion Charge was decisively voted out  in a referendum in December 2008.  That doesn't mean the scheme is dead. If the Greater Manchester councils  were to go ahead with the plan,  there would be 2 areas - a lesser charge for entering anywhere inside the M60,  and a higher charge for entering the central zone (yet to be defined,  but does NOT include Salford Quays).  If you live within the M60 and drive to the BBC at Media City you don't pay.