TV and film students from Wiltshire College had a tailor-made surprise waiting for them when they visited BBC Bristol this week.
The group from the Chippenham campus had booked into the standard tour of the facilities in Whiteladies Road with their tutor Nicola Dew.
As part of the trip they learnt how sounds are produced for flagship programmes like Blue Planet II, posed as weather presenters on the roof, recorded their own broadcasts in the tour’s interactive studio and visited the gallery at BBC Points West.
It was towards the end of their visit when Points West dailies editor Richard Greenaway sprang the surprise.
He was talking them through the history of news gathering in Bristol when up popped an archive piece voiced by someone they recognised. It was one of the last TV news stories Nicola produced for the BBC before leaving the organisation to join the college.
“When Richard played the clip I recognised Nicky’s voice almost straight away but I wasn’t sure it was her – it was when I looked up and saw Richard with a big smile on his face that I finally realised,” said Stuart Pomeroy, 16.
“I half-expected to see old colleagues in the newsroom, but I thought my pieces-to-camera were safely buried,” said Nicola afterwards.
“It just goes to show how comprehensive the BBC archive is!”
The trip followed a morning of visiting production companies in the Clifton area to look for work experience.
The group handed in CVs and practiced their cold-calling techniques to drum up work placements.
“Walking into production companies and handing over my CV was terrifying but hopefully it will mean I can start working towards my career now, rather than waiting until I’m at university,” said Niamh Mathews, 17. “I found the BBC visit really interesting too because it put it all into perspective; we spend a lot of time studying the subject but we don’t very often get to see it for real.”
Ben Jagger, 18, added: “I really enjoyed vision mixing in the interactive studio but the weather forecast camera on the rooftop was cool, and learning about the use of cornflour and rubber gloves as Foley for programmes has given me a few ideas for my own projects here at college.”