There is actually little backstory to any history of Television Centre apart from the beginning when there is a little bit of newsreel footage showing off the model for Television Centre prior to construction. There is a couple of ways this documentary could have gone. It could have been very structured with a straightforward narrative talking about things like construction, the Television Centre by decade, etc. Richard decided to go the route of a more organic approach. Reading interviews he did on the documentary, he explained he didn’t want any narration. He wanted the personal stories of the contributors fuel the approach to the documentary. I am all about boring narrative documentaries but this approach make the Television Centre come alive which it otherwise could have been looked at as a museum piece or end up being a funeral for the building. It showed us that the building was just the conduit for the creativity that came out of there over the years.
|Archive clips treated with respect as they all appeared 4:3. Yes, that is Clive Dunn playing Doctor Who in It's a Square World.|
As the documentary winds down, we come to the inevitable reality of what is next for Television Centre. The BBC is leaving it and it is the end of an era. Yet I think we can argue that the era ended a while ago. Television production moved away from multi-camera set ups. The BBC moved away from having staff positions for all their production people and moved to a freelance model. The BBC depicted in this documentary is long-gone and no matter how long the BBC holds onto the building it will never be the same again. Of course, I hope the building is taken care of for prosperity. It is an amazingly beautiful building. I know parts of the building are protected as being of historical interest. If I am not mistaken, that includes the “concrete donut” (I hate the phrase, why did I use it) and TC1. I am sure more is included with it. It’s the people who made the programs and it’s those people who love Television Centre.
In short, this is one of the best programs I have ever seen in my life. Thank you Richard!
Do you have feedback, article requests or want to talk about a program but do not want to leave a public comment? Feel free to drop me an e-mail at FTA13867@gmail.com
I am on Twitter: @FromtheArchive
Also please subscribe to my From the Archive: British Television Blog Page for updates about new articles.