Sounds Like Friday Night: A sneak peek behind the scenes

A picture of the set, showing the metal slats and a lit up Sounds Like Friday Night sign

Image caption The new set for Sounds Like Friday Night is housed at the BBC’s Television Centre

The iconic Television Centre in west London has been home to legendary shows like Strictly Come Dancing and Top of the Pops.

Now the BBC is hoping it will create another with Sounds Like Friday Night – its first primetime music show since 2006.

The show launches tonight and co-host Greg James can barely contain his excitement as he takes in the new set.

“I feel very lucky to get to play with all this fun stuff. It feels like I’ve got loads of new toys I can play with,” he tells Newsbeat.

“This is the first time I’ve seen the set. I’m so excited. The last time I was in here, I was nine years old and on a BBC studio tour with my mum.”

Greg James and A.Dot

Image caption Greg James and A.Dot will be joined by a different guest host every week

As we chat to the Radio 1 presenter in the huge TV studio, the set comes to life.

Camera operators run through their shots, taking 360-degree views of three stages where celebrity guests will perform.

An autocue scrolls through tonight’s script. Neon lights flash and an announcement comes over the loudspeaker: “Jason Derulo everyone!”

The popstar will join Greg and co-host A.Dot on tonight’s show – and Jessie Ware and Charlie Puth will also perform.

“The BBC holds the biggest music archive in the world and so the idea of this set is that it’s like the interior of a huge music library,” says set designer Misty Buckley.

She’s worked on huge live events for Coldplay and Biffy Clyro.

For Sounds Like Friday Night she’s created a set that’s made of vertical metal slats – which allows the team to experiment with lighting it from behind.

“All the verticals echo the spines of records,” she explains.

“There’s a lot of planning that goes into a set of this scale. It just about fits into the space – by two inches.”

Jessie Ware is performing on the show

Image caption Jessie Ware is performing on tonight’s launch show

The space will hold hundreds of people – with some of the audience on the floor and others on balconies.

“We didn’t want the audience sitting like they were at the theatre,” says Rachel Ashdown, one of the entertainment bosses at the BBC.

“We wanted them to be right down on the floor, looking up at the acts.

“It just feels very different than any other music show that you’ve seen on TV. We want it to feel much more like being at a gig.

“The idea is that Greg and Dotty can do their links from anywhere in the set. So if you’re coming to watch the show, you could suddenly find them standing with you.”

Liam Payne will guest host next week's show, which also features Liam Gallagher

Image caption Liam Payne will guest host next week’s show, which also features Liam Gallagher

Greg says he can’t wait to get started.

“I just remember Top of the Pops being a massive event and to have a show like that – it’s kind of incredible.”

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