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BBC site transformed into a village of fun

HERE'S the challenge; how do you transform BBC HQ at Pacific Quay on Glasgow's south side - usually an impenetrable (to the public) fortress from which Scotland is informed and entertained in an august and considered manner - into a pop-up festival running the length of the Commonwealth Games?

How do you engage big and little people and still conform with Auntie's ethos of entertaining and informing?

Here's what you do; you spend a chunk (to be revealed later) of Commonweath Games funding transforming the site into a mini village of fun. You bring in a clutch of silver domes, giant tents, decked areas, raised platforms and deckchairs. You create a series of mini-stages and little sports centres where children can play table tennis or spin on static racing bikes. You erect giant TV screens and introduce a cheeky little sense of 1970s TV drama The Prisoner.

The result? A day of smiling faces and delight that worked so well from the off. Early on, people got the chance to see Gary Lineker stand in line for the cafe and Radio Scotland's Fred MacAulay broadcast from a giant tent.

Fred interviewed Malaysian ladies about food and Still Game star Gavin Mitchell about nothing in particular.

There was also the chance to see how the air conditioning unit coped with the soaring temperatures.

But the success of this newly created village was the variety. The afternoon offered lots of opportunities for laughs, such as the Find Your Funny Bone comedy class for children aged eight and upward.

Then back in the big tent - where the audience of parents and youngsters was continually served cold water - the likes of CBeebies Iain Stirling and Stephen Dick provided laughs.

What was also a guarantee audience hit was Kaye Adams's interview in which the presenter discussed a social and cultural event that will alter forever the very fabric of Scottish society.

Yes, Adams interviewed Still Game stars Ford Kiernan and Greg Hemphill, who are to play at the Hydro to 250,000 fans.

The pop-up festival was a big hit. What can be wrong with a little world where kids are taught the value of eating carrots, get the chance to learn comedy and wander on board a minesweeper in the form of HMS Bangor?

What does it matter if Eat Yourself Healthy stalls are set just a few yards from little gin joints? The BBC at the Quay is a great day out, all wrapped up in a lovely Commonwealth ribbon of social inclusion and intent.

Presenter John Beattie offered some insight into what could also have been a major factor in the Scottish Beeb's open house success. A psychologist said Glasgow's happiness has most likely soared in recent days thanks to the city hosting of the Games and all the excitement this imbues.

Or, he added, perhaps it's just the good weather.

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