BBC East

Last updated
BBC East
TV transmitters Sandy Heath
Radio stations BBC Radio Norfolk
BBC Radio Suffolk
BBC Essex
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire
BBC Radio Northampton
BBC Three Counties Radio
Headquarters Norwich
Area Norfolk
northern Buckinghamshire
Nation BBC English Regions
Regions East
Key people
Mick Rawsthorne
(Head of Regional
& Local Programmes)
Launch date

BBC East is the BBC English Region serving Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and northern Buckinghamshire.




BBC East's television output (broadcast on BBC One) consists of its flagship regional news service BBC Look East , including an opt-out service for the west of the region, the topical magazine programme Inside Out, and a 20-minute opt-out during Sunday Politics .

Former programmes include Weekend, East on Two, Matter of Fact and the football magazine show Late Kick Off (produced by the independent production company Kevin Piper Media).


The region is the controlling centre for BBC Radio Norfolk, BBC Radio Suffolk, BBC Essex, BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, BBC Radio Northampton and BBC Three Counties Radio.

On weekdays, all six stations open transmission at 4 am with a shared regional early morning show before carrying local programming between 6 am and 10 pm. There is also a shared regional programme broadcast across the stations from 10 pm to 1 am on weeknights, except for BBC Essex who has a stand-alone schedule, and other shared programmes at weekends.

Online and Interactive

BBC East also produces regional news and local radio pages for BBC Red Button and the BBC Local News websites for each county.


33-35 All Saints Green, Norwich, pictured in 2017. No. 35 was the BBC's base in the city until September 1956. 33-35 All Saints Green, Norwich.jpg
33-35 All Saints Green, Norwich, pictured in 2017. No. 35 was the BBC's base in the city until September 1956.

In the mid-1950s, the BBC had a temporary headquarters in Norwich at No. 35 All Saints Green. [1] In September 1956 they moved to a new, larger headquarters at the nearby St Catherine's Close. [1] [2] From here, editions of radio programmes such as Midlands Miscellany were broadcast into the Midlands Home Service before the end of 1956. [3]

The opening of the Tacolneston transmitting station enabled programmes to be broadcast from Norwich purely for East Anglia on the VHF edition of the Home Service, and regular broadcasts from St Catherine's Close began on Tuesday 5 February 1957. [4] [5] Daily news bulletins for East Anglia began on Monday 10 March 1958, on VHF from the Norwich studios, under the supervision of Richard Robinson. [6]

The first television news bulletin for the east from St Catherine's Close was broadcast on 5 October 1959. [5] These initial bulletins were only three minutes per night, but in 1962 were extended to ten minutes and the bulletins named East Anglia at Six Ten. [5] In 1964, the programme was extended to 20 minutes in length and renamed Look East , a title the programme still goes under today.

The Norwich-based operation was initially a satellite of the larger BBC Midland region, based in Birmingham. East Anglia was given greater autonomy within the BBC in 1969 after the Broadcasting in the Seventies report recommended the large Midlands and East Anglia region should be split into two.

During 1997, an opt-out service (originally titled Close Up) was introduced to provide local bulletins for Northamptonshire, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Peterborough and Milton Keynes.

St Catherine's House on All Saints Green in Norwich, pictured in 2012. This was the main base for BBC East's radio operations from 1956 until 1980, and of its television output from 1959 to 2003. St Catherine's House, All Saints Green, Norwich, 2012.jpg
St Catherine's House on All Saints Green in Norwich, pictured in 2012. This was the main base for BBC East's radio operations from 1956 until 1980, and of its television output from 1959 to 2003.

Until 1980, regional radio programming was provided by an East Anglia opt-out on BBC Radio 4, consisting largely of daytime news bulletins and a weekday breakfast show, Roundabout East Anglia . The first BBC Local Radio station in the region, Radio Norfolk, was opened on 11 September 1980 and followed by the rollout of stations in Cambridgeshire (1 May 1982), Northamptonshire (16 June 1982), the Three Counties of Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire & Buckinghamshire (24 June 1985), Essex (5 November 1986) and Suffolk (12 April 1990).


The Forum, where BBC East has been based since 2003. ForumNorwich.JPG
The Forum, where BBC East has been based since 2003.

BBC East's main headquarters and studios are based at The Forum on Millennium Plain in Norwich, having moved from St Catherine's Close in 2003. The move to The Forum was a result of a number of factors: the listed status of the building restricted much of what the BBC did there, the location was less central than the BBC wanted, their ideal location being in Norwich city centre, the equipment was becoming old and needed replacing, and the Disability Discrimination Act meant that their headquarters now needed major modifications to comply with the law.

BBC East also has radio and television studios at the Cambridge Business Park, on Cowley Road in the city, where both Look East's West opt-out and Radio Cambridgeshire are based. Local radio studios and television bureaux are also located in Chelmsford, Northampton, Ipswich, and Dunstable.

See also

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East of England A region of England

The East of England is one of the nine official regions of England. This region was created in 1994 and was adopted for statistics purposes from 1999. It includes the ceremonial counties of Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk. Essex has the highest population in the region.

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  1. 1 2 "BBC Moves to New Norwich Headquarters". Eastern Daily Press . Eastern Counties Newspapers. 8 September 1956. p. 6. About half a dozen members of staff, housed in the temporary offices at 35, All Saints Green, moved from that address to their new home in the Georgian house at St Catherine's Close, about a 100 yards away
  2. "News in Brief". The Times (53631). 8 September 1956. p. 4. The BBC announced yesterday that its new East Anglian studio centre at All Saints Green, Norwich, will be brought into service on Monday
  3. "TV and Radio - Not Chatty Enough". Eastern Daily Press . Eastern Counties Newspapers. 3 December 1956. p. 5. Midlands Miscellany, which came from the new Norwich studio last night, gave promise of being just the thing for a leisurely half-hour's listening by the fireside, with three speakers on East Anglian topics and a recorded slice from a Norwich debate on art.
  4. "TV and Radio - Clumsy Drama". Eastern Daily Press . Eastern Counties Newspapers. 6 February 1957. p. 5. On the radio, the first special VHF programme for East Anglia only was presented from 6.35 to 6.45.
  5. 1 2 3 "New home for Look East at the Forum". BBC Online. 1 October 2003. Retrieved 25 February 2017.
  6. "Norwich BBC Appointment". Eastern Evening News . Eastern Counties Newspapers. 4 March 1958. p. 4.