Sunday, 30 April 2017

Old Caldecott Hill of its Glory

Former Caldecott Broadcasting Centre, Caldecott Hill
Perched on a tiny mount called Caldecott Hill, MediaCorp (formerly known as TV Singapura, RTS, TCS and SBC) first arrived at this pre-World War II campus in 1937. Part premium land estate, this 80-year-old office lies in an enclave with private houses, lush greenery and a long driveway, of which a journey uphill would take no less than 5 minutes by car (or 10 by foot). 
One of the Pre-war building
From the non-existent street scenes and artiste rest area to the happening make-up unit and our rundown toilets, local stars share some of their fondest memories (love stories and ghostly encounters included) of “The Hill” to mark MediaCorp’s shift to Mediapolis at One North in 2016 and it has facilities for 3 new studios, 4 entertainment studios and a theatre was officially opened by the Prime Minister Mr Lee Hsien Loong.
This year, Singapore Heritage Festival on its 14th edition, has launched the SHF Takes Over! the programme to plentiful fanfare from 28th-30th Apr and 5th-7th May. The inaugural programme kicks off by taking festival goers to Caldecott Broadcast Centre (CBC), the heart of Singapore’s broadcast history where local radio and television productions were conceived and produced.
Me and an Actor at old drama street scene 1990s
Me and an Actress at old drama street scene 1990s
I recalled that I first went there in early 1990s for special event conducted by SBC at that time before it changed to TCS followed by Mediacorp (2001 to present). Indeed, I fondly remember walking down the memory of the old drama street.
 TBSS group taken in 2012
Kym Ng and Desmond Koh at TV Theatre (2012)
5 years ago, on the  21st July 2012, my hubby and I went to Mediacorp TV theatre at Andrew road, main entrance to meet my classmates and schoolmates for the show - 'The Sheng Siong' Show in the evening organised by our TBSS group and the co-founder of TBSS managed to get 35 tickets for us and meeting point at Mediacorp lobby. Wow! How time flies! If I could recall the timing, theme and the name of the hosts as below:
节目流程 (Program Details)
播映时间 : 60 分钟 (Duration: 60 mins)
播映日期 : 7月21日 (Date: 21 July)
节目主题:综艺、游戏节目 (Theme: Entertainment)
主持人:许振荣、钟琴 (Host: Desmond Koh, Kym Ng)
外景主持人: 赖依玲 (Outdoor Host: Vivian Lai)

Members of public at Victoria Memorial Hall in Feb 1963
Courtesy of NAS 
But before that it was known as TV Singapura in 1963 where the then Minister for Culture, Mr. S Rajaratnam was the first person to appear on TV and the broadcast was "Black and White", the inauguration of the Pilot Service of Television of Singapura at Victoria Memorial Hall (above pic).
At Passenger Pick Up point
My hubby and I planned to visit on the 29th April 2017 since SHF was launched on the 28th Apr and we took an mrt from Holland Village (5 mins from my block) and alighted to Bishan mrt (circle line - 5 stops), walked to exit B where the taxi stand located and looked for signage "Passenger Pick Up Point" and just queue behind it. Luckily we were the second patch row to board the mini bus to CBC at OMG (Old Main Gate). Sound weird at the word "OMG" which stands for "Oh My God" that local people often heard. Giggles.
Inside the mini bus, a guide introduces herself and talked about the history of CBC while we still on the way to CBC and it took about 15 mins to reach.
SHF Takes Over! painted at the rear warehouse
Upon reaching there, we saw huge crowds and of course it's weekend anyway. I saw lots of changes at the studios, street scenes and others when I visited in early 1990s. And of course I could remember the areas and the street scene when I walked into.
 TV50 Exhibition 
The Lead will air on 22nd May 2017
Firstly, we entered the building of the TV50 years of Television inside the hall that trace the progress of Singapore’s broadcasting history and have a look into the future of television.
Typical Chinese style Marble Table and chairs
The old coffee shop scene would make you feel nostalgic where you could meet old friends for a cup of coffee or tea and talks about our good old days. 
Used to be shot Street scene (Festival Village)
Along the Production store in between. there used to be the place where the street scenes were filmed in 1980s and 1990s, worked through the night, now it is no longer in use. His corridor of the warehouse store is for signboard photowalk as if you are in limelight in the street scene.
Used to be the Studio (Film Studio)
This Film Studio used to be rehearsals for Star Search for new comers/young artistes in this humble building, now SHF holds other programmes inside the studio. And it also filmed for hospital scenes and has all the settings for homes.
The Little Nyonya show
 Phua Chu Kang show
There is a performance by Cake Theatrical Productions titled Studio 6, which revisits some of Mediacorp’s famous shows such as The Little Nyonya, Under One Roof, Growing Up and Phua Chu Kang.
 Lip Sync Your Heart Out
This humble stage for photoshoot for safekeeping of the memory of once you stepped into CBC or sing out your favourite theme song from local drama serials and receive a video keepsake of your Caldecott Hill performance.
Drink stall
I came across this drink stall and was surprised to see the "Red" drink tank that is similar to the one I took photo back in early 1990s (see below pic).
Me posed at the Drink stall at old drama street in early 1990s
Recognise the "Red" Drink tank that I posed at old drama street for shot just next to it. Does it look the same? But too bad the 'set-up' stall didn't have 'fruits' tank on display.
Flea Market
There is a flea market that sells range of antique items and others
Rerun Cinema
Rerun Cinema is a place for visitors to watch the shows - Growing Up (45 mins -7.15 to 8pm), Homerun (8-10pm), Ah Boy to Men (8-10pm), Tofu Street Episode 1 (45 mins), I not Stupid (8-10pm) and to name a few.
 Advertisement in 1950s
There I saw the advertisements (1950s) appeared on top of the building.
Feeling hungry...Fret not. There are several 'make-shift' stalls at the food-fare where visitors like us to have a bite and taste for yummy foods and even traditional hot coffee and ice-coffee. 
 Fried Tofu and Hakka Abacus seeds
Close-up: Fried Tofu
Oh yes, my hubby told me that there is a stall sells Hakka abacus seeds (Suan Pan Zi), the shape of the seeds that older generation used to calculate the amounts on the wooden board which are delicious. But I thought it looks like chestnuts.
Drop-Off area
After we strolled around for 3 or 4 hrs, we decided to head home and board a 'free' shuttle bus at the Drop-Off area located near the entrance where we alighted earlier.
Make a quick shot facing at traffic mirror
Before heading home, I made a quick shot facing to the stainless steel traffic mirror and its blurry image, as least I am glad to be there that I once stepped in years ago.

Details and Programmes as below if you intend to visit for the first time.
Entry to SHF 2017 @ Caldecott Broadcast Centre is via the Old Main Gate along Olive Road.
Special guide tour dates and times
There is a special guide tour on the 6th May at 6.30 pm to 7 pm; 8.30 pm to 9 pm: The Lead Special Guided Tour – Take a tour around Caldecott Broadcast Centre with celebrities sharing with you stories about the behind-the-scene action while filming the drama, "The Lead". Limited capacity. Register onsite 30 minutes before the start of each tour.

Singapore Heritage Festival @ Caldecott Broadcast Centre - Free Shuttle Bus Service*
*Timings are subjected to traffic and weather conditions.
Shuttle buses to Caldecott Broadcast Centre will be available from Bishan MRT station Exit B, Caldecott MRT station exit B and MacRitchie Reservoir carpark.

Date and timings as follows:
28th Apr, 5 May and 6 May
First bus departs at 5.30pm & last bus departs at 9.30pm
Last bus from CBC departs at 10pm
(Frequency: Every 15 minutes)

29th Apr and 30th Apr
First bus departs at 3.30pm and last bus departs at 9.30m
Last bus from CBC departs at 10pm

1st and 7th May
First bus departs at 9.30am and last bus departs at 1.30pm
Last bus from CBC departs at 2pm

Saying Goodbye to the old Caldecott Boardcasting Centre before you leave on the last day.