Scenes from a Mary Celeste (...in W1A)

At times during coronavirus pandemic I was engaged by the BBC on various projects, many of them deemed ‘broadcast critical’. It required me being based at New Broadcasting House in Central London while the rest of Britain (and the world) was ordered to work from home.

In 2013 when it opened, the Guardian reported the building’s interior designers wanted the Corporation's enormous open plan offices to reflect society and be 'a celebration of people working closely together'. Not great in an unprecedented health crisis.

As the pandemic wore on I started to see how the building began to echo and reflect the the audiences to which it was broadcasting. Deserted desks and corridors like empty town centres, confusing and strange rules that seemed bound to no time and large parts of the building - like so many millions of lives - literally turned upside down.

The project is so-called because of the number of times I heard people comment that life in Broadcasting House, a building many call the Mothership, was 'like working on the bloody Mary Celeste'.

Monday morning

Wednesday lunchtime

This is Studio B, one of the largest and well equipped TV studios in Central London, formerly the home of BBC Newsnight, the Andrew Marr programme and Victoria Derbyshire. With scaled-back broadcasts the enormous space is mothballed and is a storage room.

Sunday afternoon

Tuesday mid-morning

The BBC's specialist disinformation reporter Marianna Spring working at a desk on a deserted floor. The longer the pandemic has gone on, the more Marianna's workload has increased to shed light on the many conspiracy theories and disinformation campaigns that have spring up about the pandemic.

Thursday afternoon

Wednesday lunchtime

Despite the pandemic, programmes were still being made and broadcast from the building which meant empty office space being requisitioned into makeshift recording studios. This photograph shows how a crew have set up to record a Zoom call on camera in what used to be the Charlotte Moore's office, the deputy director general of the BBC.

Friday at some point

Thursday afternoon

Friday early evening

Wednesday late afternoon

Monday after lunch

At the start of the pandemic there was concern about the virus being airborne. One evening a patrol went out across Broadcasting House to collect every fan or device that recycled air and all the machines were collected and locked up. This photo is a view of those fans in 'Nan Winton', the name of the boardroom.

Thursday during the day

Saturday morning

Thanks and credits

All photographs taken July 2020 to March 2021 at BBC New Broadcasting House. 120 film. Thanks Jane, Genie, Will, Isabella and Marianna as well as Terry at Bayeux.

Monday early morning

Shows the boxes of proximity detectors available for staff to wear who were working in the building and concerned about getting too close to others.

Wednesday mid-afternoon