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Bolton Whites hotel hosts BBC Question Time

28 March 2015 by
Bolton Whites hotel hosts BBC Question Time

Question Time, having kept the event secret for two months.

"We are used to hosting major events, but the big challenge for us was to not reveal that the filming was taking place prior to transmission," Suzanne Speak, the hotel's general manger told The Caterer. "With a bank of 450 casuals and contract staff on our books, that is not an easy thing to do."

Added pressure surrounding the secrecy of the hotel, which is owned by the proprietor of Championship team Bolton Wanderers Eddie Davies, revolved around the live transmission of the programme, which became necessary due to the screening earlier in the evening of the live debate on Channel 4 featuring David Cameron and Ed Miliband. The programme is usually recorded two to three hours prior to going out on air.

Bolton Whites secured the booking to host the programme following a site visit by the BBC in January. Carl Darcy, the hotel's national business development manager, said: "The BBC liked the venue because the Premier Suite, where the filming took place, has a separate entrance from the hotel and its own car park, which makes it very secure. It ticked all the right boxes."

Arriving in unmarked vehicles, the BBC moved into the hotel on Tuesday to transform the Premier Suite, which can accommodate up to 1,000 for dinner, into a studio for an audience of 200 vetted guests.

Thursday night's programmed, hosted by David Dimbleby, featured Nicky Morgan MP, education secretary, Conservative; Jim Murphy MP, leader, Scottish Labour; Leanne Wood AM, leader, Plaid Cymru; Steven Woolfe MEP, immigration spokesman, UKIP; and Janet Street-Porter, broadcaster and Independent on Sunday columnist.

Bolton Whites was rebranded as an independent hotel in August 2013, having previously been managed De Vere Venues. Heathcote & Co operates the food and beverage at the hotel's three restaurants and 57 meeting rooms across the hotel and the stadium.

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