When the BBC visited Code Club

At the end of February, the Code Club at Abbey Community Primary in Leicester had some visitors: a camera crew from the BBC that filmed them as part of a piece for BBC East Midlands.

Here, Steve Gale, the volunteer at the club and one of our Code Club Champions, talks about the experience.


Director of Code Club Maria Quevedo and Code Club Champion Steve Gale pose with the Abbey Community Primary School Code Club.

So there I was, taking a two-week break from Code Club on a cruise around the South China Sea. I had paid for an hour of WiFi onboard the ship and was catching up with my emails when I spotted one with the unusual subject heading “Urgent – Media Request” from the Code Club East Midlands Coordinator, Katharine Childs.

I read the email thread between Katharine and Emran, the Abbey Community Primary teacher who I run the club with, and it turned out that not only had we been asked whether East Midlands Today could come and film, but Emran had already accepted! I have got to admit, I had a couple of sleepless nights worrying about it.

“I loved to be filmed because I thought I was famous, and I would love to be filmed again.” – Rajeshwari, Abbey Community Primary student, proving Steve had no reason to worry

Emran and I decided to run an extra club session on the day before the film crew was scheduled to visit. We made sure all the computers worked, and we talked to our club members about what was going to happen during the filming. Our only piece of advice to them was to enjoy themselves.

“I felt nervous and excited, but it was worth it. Code Club is a great place, and I will always love it.” – Abdirahman, Abbey Community Primary student

On the big day, we all were ready. The cameraman Ian, the reporter Emily, and Code Club Director Maria all arrived at the same time. Emily explained that she needed to record three things: a segment of herself, an interview with Maria, and then some background shots of the club members coding away!


Ian did a great job putting the club members at ease: he told them not to look directly at the camera while he was filming and to instead just ignore him…and definitely no trying to sneak a nosy look at the camera, because he would notice!

“I really enjoyed the experience, as we got to play on computers and see ourselves on TV.” – Mustafi Barhani, Abbey Community Primary student

Once the filming started and we were coding, we almost forgot the camera was there. Some of the children were working on a Scratch project, and the others were using micro:bits.


Everyone enjoyed the experience, and we were all surprised by how quickly the hour was over. I was particularly interested to see how an hour of filming was going to be cut down to 2 minutes, especially as the crew told us they were going to another school to film some more material.

“It was very exciting to visit the Code Club at Abbey Primary Community School with the BBC East Midlands team. I was very impressed by the projects the club members were making, and by how professional they were in front of the camera.” – Maria Quevedo, Code Club Director

The piece went out on East Midlands Today on 27 February as part of the 6.30pm news program. Several of the club members were interviewed on camera, and I was really pleased with their responses. It showed how much they are getting out of Code Club, which is what makes running the club worthwhile.

Now I wonder if Central TV want to do any filming…..

Your turn in the spotlight

If, as Steve does, you could use your digital skills to inspire the next generation by running a Code Club, find out how to get involved at codeclub.org.uk/start-a-club.