BBC One Show seeks civil engineering projects

BBC’s One Show has again asked for ICE’s help in identifying civil engineering projects or innovations happening in the UK that could be filmed to appear on the show.

The One Show demonstrates how engineers build bridge decks without the structure falling over
The One Show demonstrates how engineers build bridge decks without the structure falling over

The One Show is a long running series which airs at 7pm, Monday to Friday on BBC 1. It features topical stories and big name studio guests.

The show regularly features science films, and those that have worked well in the past are big engineering stories – some shared by ICE as part of our work to increase public awareness of civil engineering and share our stories. They are now looking for more potential projects to film between September 2016 and July 2017. They have until 31 August to gather ideas.

A typical One Show film is around 4 minutes long. Films try and surprise the audience, showing them how engineering makes a difference to their lives, or helping them to better understand the world around us. They should have a “wow factor” – perhaps using ground-breaking technology, quirky solutions or have a visually dramatic aspect or milestone that works well for TV. But they are also interested in revealing the “secrets” or engineering behind things, and often get their presenters involved demos explaining things simply. Above all, the One Show needs something visually impressive or interesting which they can point a camera at.

What works well?

Projects that have worked well as films include:

  • How two engineering innovations of skyscraper design were pioneered in Liverpool. The presenter tells the history of a 19th century building in Merseyside, saying that the application of a metal frame to its structure had allowed the engineers to design a much taller building without it collapsing under its own weight. The presenter then reveals another Merseyside engineering innovation which sped up the production of flat glass – a modern necessity for skyscrapers. She demonstrates the technique of cooling molten glass on top of molten tin, explaining that the two materials cool at different temperatures and produces perfectly flat glass.
    Making glass from molten tin
    The One Show demonstrating how to make flat glass with molten tin.
  • How engineers are designing tall buildings and skyscrapers so that they avoid creating wind tunnels at pedestrian level, which blow people about on the streets below. This film shows the presenter on one of the top floors of The Shard in London and also at street level explaining how tall buildings can affect the weather. She then illustrates the phenomenon with a scaled model of central London’s Walkie-Talkie building in a lab alongside a wind engineer, who demonstrates with a smoke machine and a fan how wind travels around a building.
  • How engineers have assembled the Queensferry Crossing bridge in Edinburgh in such a way to prevent it from falling over during construction. This film shows the presenter demonstrating how the bridge stays up while the decking is installed with small wooden blocks and string.

Key dates

The One Show has until 31 August to gather ideas. The actual filming would take place from September 2016 – July 2017, so filming opportunities suggested should fall between these dates.

While the One Show is primarily seeking projects for the next round of filming, they do have a few film slots remaining for their current filming round, so please also share any exciting project milestones taking place now and over the summer for consideration.

How to share your ideas

Please send your suggestions to by 31 August, including “One Show” in the subject box.

Please answer the below questions in your email so the BBC team can easily understand what the project is and whether it could work for the One Show. Please explain things as simply as possible for someone with no knowledge of engineering or your project. If the questions are not answered in full unfortunately we cannot share your project with the BBC.

Points to answer when applying

  • What is the project or programme and where is it?
  • What will it achieve when complete?
  • How will it make a difference to people’s lives or society as a whole?
  • What are the key things happening between September 2016 – July 2017. Are there specific dates or milestones when something visually dramatic will happen?
  • Please explain in simple terms what exactly the One Show would see if they came to film on these dates?
  • What is the “wow factor”? For example - is the project the first of its kind, is it the highest or tallest? Is there an unusual method being used? Is it an innovation or technology that will dramatically change or speed up a process, or change society? Is it a visual milestone such as a tunnel breakthrough or demolition? Is it revealing the engineering secrets behind how something works?
  • Please explain a way in which the One Show could explain the engineering involved to viewers in simple and visual way, such as through a basic demo.
  • Who should the One Show contact to find out more - please provide name, job title, phone number and email address.

What happens next?

The One Show will review the ideas shared and get in touch directly if they want to find out more or feature your project.