Self op studios were literally a seat against a backdrop (sometimes CSO but often just a photo blow up), a few lights, one camera with autocue and the ability for the presenter to opt out from network and read headlines with some illustrative stills. Most self op studios didn't last into the mid 90s especially as expectations to run moving video and clips got greater. But those that were left working (notably the one in Leeds manned by Peter Levy) , were doctored to allow fairly complex bulletins. I think they even did the 6 1/2 minute late news bulletins for Hull from Leeds' Presentation studio before the new centre at Leeds opened... might be wrong on that.
Most centres still have secondary galleries for shorter bulletins, often still referred to as 'Pres' but they're usually manned by at least two people these days (presenter and tech op). I don't think there are any self-op pres studios left in operation at all. I imagine Radio Cumbria's studio is solely used for down-the-line interviews these days...
Yep - in Norwich the "self-op" desk was always operated from the "pres" studio, but not always in "self-op" mode. The short "camera + still store" bulletins were usually self-op by the presenter, but the breakfast bulletins, which had VT
and more complex graphics, were less formulaic and so were directed/vision & sound mixed and graphics operated by a station assistant sat in the chair that a self-op presenter would sit in, whilst the presenter was sat in the main studio, with the studio camera routed onto the smaller pres sound and vision mixer. (Aston and Still store were remoted to the self-op position as well)
They were called Pres because they were originally designed for self-op English regional presentation, when often the interstitials between network shows were fully regional. They were later used for out-of-vision presentation for the English regional 30 minute shows (Thursday BBC Two being one slot?)
(Some regions - like Southampton - had remote panels in graphics, allowing it to be remotely controlled relieving the presenter from having to vision & sound mix and direct, effectively making graphics a mini-gallery. However other regions didn't - either because it meant building a third monitor stack with extra monitoring etc., or because they simply didn't have space)