The programmes

It would be impossible to list every programme ever made TVC – some are probably best forgotten anyway.  What I shall foolishly attempt to do here is to list by decade a range of typical productions.  They are in no particular order.  I am bound to have missed some really obvious ones.  Where I know it, I shall indicate the studio in which it was made.  It’s worth pointing out that although some shows almost always came from the same studio others moved about quite a bit, depending on available space.  TC3, 4, 6 and 8 were all about the same size so a show designed for any one of these would fit in another.  Where I have indicated a studio it doesn’t mean that it didn’t also use others.

There are quite a few where I haven’t put the studio even though I have a pretty good idea.  For instance, TC8 was for years the favourite studio for sitcoms but unless I am sure, I have not noted it here.

Some series spanned years or even decades so I have simply noted them when they started (or moved here from other studios).

 

Anyway – here goes…

 

1960s The Wednesday Play (many highly regarded individual titles), Play For Today, Softly Softly, Dr Finlay’s Casebook, Compact (TC2), The Forsyte Saga (TC4 – last b/w drama), Vanity Fair (TC6 – first colour drama), 30-Minute Theatre (TC7), Theatre 625 (TC1), Billy Budd (opera – main set in TC1, orchestra in TC2), Sherlock Holmes (TC1), Stand Up For Nigel Barton (TC4), Steptoe and Son, Not Only…But Also, Till Death Us Do Part, Dad’s Army, That Was The Week That Was (TC2), Not So Much a Programme – More a Way of Life (TC2), BBC-3, The Lance Percival Show, Come Dancing (TC2!), Tomorrow’s World, Frost Over England, It’s a Square World, Morecambe and Wise (TC1 and TC8), Sykes (also at Riverside), Harry Worth, The Dick Emery Show (TC8), Marty (Feldman), The Liver Birds, Meet The Wife, The Rag Trade, All Gas and Gaiters, The Likely Lads, Marriage Lines, Monty Python’s Flying Circus (TC6, TC8), Spike Milligan’s ‘Q’, Comedy Playhouse (TC4), Top of the Pops (TC2 briefly then all large studios), International Cabaret, Beat Room (TC3), The Black and White Minstrel Show (TC1), Jackanory (probably every studio at some time), schools programmes (TC5), Ask the Family (TC5), Top of the Form, Call My Bluff (TC2, TC5), The Late Show (TC2), Points of View (Pres B), Late Night Line-Up (Pres B), The Sky at Night (moved here from Lime Grove to Pres B and the corner of several other studios), Holiday ’69 and onwards (TC5), Play School (TC7 from Riverside.)
1970s Elizabeth R, The Six Wives of Henry VIII, I Claudius (TC1), Pennies From Heaven (TC6), Play of the Month (TC1 usually), Play of the Week, War and Peace, Testament of Youth, Secret Army (TC8, TC1), To Serve Them All My Days, The Onedin Line, The Pallisers, Churchill’s People, BBC Shakespeares (TC1 mostly), Telford’s Change, Professional Foul, The Duchess of Duke Street, The Flying Dutchman (opera – main set in TC1, orchestra in TC3), Hansel and Gretel (opera – main set in TC1, orchestra in TC3), Dr Who (moved to TVC from Riverside and Lime Grove – used most large studios), Blake’s 7, The Two Ronnies (TC1 plus others), Are You Being Served?, It Ain’t Half Hot Mum, Open All Hours (TC8), Citizen Smith (TC8), Up Pompeii!, Porridge, In Sickness and in Health (TC8), The Les Dawson Show (TC8), Rentaghost, The Goodies, The Good Life (TC6), The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin, Not the Nine O’Clock News, Fawlty Towers (TC1, TC3, TC6, TC8), Jim’ll Fix It, Blankety Blank (TC8), Parkinson (TC8), The Old Grey Whistle Test (Pres B plus others), Butterflies, To The Manor Born, Blue Peter (TC1, 3, 4, 6, 8), Grange Hill (various studios before moving to Elstree in 1985), Multi-Coloured Swap Shop (TC7), Film ’72 and onwards (Pres B)
1980s The Chronicles of Narnia, Tenko, Lord Peter Wimsey, Performance (TC1 usually), Marie Curie, The Ginger Tree (TC4 – first HD drama series), Juliet Bravo, Bomber Harris (TC6), Yes Minister (TC8), Only Fools and Horses (TC8), Bread (TC8), Hi-De-Hi, Blackadder, Russ Abbot, Alas Smith and Jones, ‘Allo ‘Allo (some series), Birds of a Feather (series 1), May To December, Just Good Friends, Ever Decreasing Circles, Colin’s Sandwich, Three of a Kind, Children in Need (TC1), Noel Edmunds’ Late Late Breakfast Show (TC8), The Paul Daniels Magic Show (TC8), Lenny Henry Show (TC8), Victoria Wood as Seen on TV, French and Saunders (TC8), A Bit of Fry and Laurie (TC6), Bob Says Opportunity Knocks (TC8), Bob’s Full House, Saturday Superstore (TC7), Going Live (TC7), Double Dare (TC4), Chucklevision, Newsnight (TC2, then TC7), BBC Breakfast (TC2 then TC7), Crimewatch UK (most studios at some time), Watchdog (TC2 and 5)
1990s The House of Eliott (last multicamera studio-based drama series – TC1), One Foot in the Grave (TC8), The Fast Show, Absolutely Fabulous (TC8), Rory Bremner (TC6), Knowing Me Knowing You, Saturday Night Armistice (TC8), The Thin Blue Line, The Brittas Empire (TC8), As Time Goes By, Keeping Up Appearances, Never Mind the Buzzcocks (TC6), I’m Alan Partridge (TC1), Dinnerladies (TC8), Nelson’s Column (TC8), Get Well Soon, Office Gossip (TC8), Hippies (TC8), Shooting Stars (TC7 for two series then TC1), They Think It’s All Over (TC6), Live and Kicking (TC6), The Stand-Up Show (TC7 then TC6), Terry Wogan’s Friday Night (TC1), Ruby (TC2, TC4), The Full Wax (TC1), Comic Relief (TC1), Vanessa, Auntie’s Bloomers (TC8), The National Lottery Live (TC8) The Late Show (TC7), Song for Europe (TC4), Later With Jools (TC1 and TC3), Noel’s House Party (TC1), The Generation Game (Jim Davidson version – TC4), Bodger and Badger (TC7), Run the Risk (TC1), The Boot St Band , Grandstand (from Lime Grove to TC5), Match of the Day (from Lime Grove to TC5), 2000 Today (TC1)
2000s My Family (series 1 only), 2 Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps (TC8, TC6), The Crouches (TC8 & TC1), Lee Evans – So What Now? (TC8), Dead Ringers (TC4), Catherine Tate Show (series 2 & Christmas special – TC8), Little Britain (TC1 & TC8), Swiss Tony (TC8), National Lottery Stars (TC1), TOTP (returning from Elstree and Riverside to TC3), Distraction (TC1), Boys and Girls, Without Prejudice? (TC4), Friends Like These (TC1), Wright Around the World (TC4), In It To Win It (TC1, TC4, TC6, TC8), Jet Set (TC4), Eggheads (TC6, TC3, TC4, TC1), The Keith Barret Show (TC8), Friday Night With Jonathan Ross (TC4), Liquid News (TC0), Come and Have a Go, Hard Spell, Strictly Come Dancing (TC4 then TC1), Strictly Dance Fever (TC1), X-Change (TC2), The Saturday Show (TC6), Dick and Dom in Da Bunglow (TC2 then TC6), Mock the Week (TC8 and TC6), Level Up (TC10), The Soap Awards (TC1), New Paul O’Grady Show (TC6 and TC8), 8 out of 10 Cats (TC6 and TC4 for C4), Grownups (TC6 and TC8), That Mitchell and Webb Look (TC8), A Question of Sport (TC8), How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria? (TC1), TMi (TC9), The Charlotte Church Show, Any Dream Will Do (TC1), I’d Do Anything (TC1), Alan Titchmarsh Show (TC4), Let Me Entertain You (TC1), Who Dares Wins (TC1), Lab Rats (TC8), Goldenballs (TC8, TC3, TC4 and TC1), The Omid Djalili Show (TC8, TC1, TC4), Alan Carr’s Celebrity Ding-Dong (TC8), It Takes Two (TC11), Last Choir Standing (TC1), Hole In The Wall (TC8), Would I Lie to You?, Maestro (TC1), Ready Steady Cook (TC2 from Capital), Are You Smarter Than Your 10-year-old (TC1, from Maidstone), Miranda (TC3, TC4), Armstrong and Miller (TC8), Coming Of Age (TC8), Piers Morgan’s Life Stories (TC8), Tonight’s The Night (TC8), Alan Titchmarsh Show (TC3, TC4), Harry Hill’s TV Burp (from Teddington TC3 then TC4)
2010s

Watchdog (TC2 – returned from office location in 2010), Pointless (TC1, TC8), Michael Ball Show (TC3), Hairy Bikers’ Cook Off (TC4), Not Going Out (TC8 – from Teddington), Fast and Loose (TC6), 10 O’Clock Live (TC6), Gory Games (TC3), The One Ronnie (TC8), Britain and Ireland’s Top Model (TC2), Compete For The Meat (TC8), Friday Download (TC3), King of…(TC6), Embarrassing Bodies Live (TC4), Minute To Win It (TC6), The Impressions Show, The Marriage Ref (TC4), The Ones (TC6), Oedipus (TC4), Alan Carr Chatty Man (TC6), 24 Hour Quiz (TC4), I Can Cook (TC2), Show Me Show Me (TC6), Trust Us With Your Life (TC8), Room 101 (TC4, TC8), Britain’s Best Dish – The Chefs (TC3), Chris Moyles’ Quiz Night (TC6), Up For Hire (TC6), Breakaway (TC3), Epic Win (TC4), Frank Skinner’s Opinionated (TC8), I’ve Never Seen Star Wars, Sam and Mark’s Big Friday Wind Up (TC6), So You Think You Can Dance (TC1), Watson and Oliver (TC8), Fee Fi Fo Yum (TC3), Ab Fab specials (TC4), Argumental (TC8), Show and Tell (TC3, TC4), Genius (TC6), A Question of Taste (TC8), Mad Bad Ad Show (TC4), Just a Minute (TC3), Matt Lucas Awards (TC3), Morgan Spurlock’s New Britannia (TC4), No Strings Attached (TC2), Mad Mad World (TC1), The Voice (TC1), You Cannot Be Serious! (TC4), Get Well Soon (TC2), Lucky Sexy Winners (TC8), Don’t Sit in the Front Row (TC3), Breakaway (TC4), Meet the Parents (TC6), Big Fat Quiz (TC8), Yes, Prime Minister (TC8, TC4), Dara O Briain’s School of Hard Sums (TC4), Tipping Point, Beat the Pack, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (TC4), Live at the Electric (TC8), Five Minutes to a Fortune (TC8), Up the Women (TC3), Let’s Dance for Comic Relief (TC1), Big Chat with Graham Norton (TC3), Name Dropping (TC3), When Miranda Met Bruce (TC1), Cash Point (TC2), Vic and Bob’s House of Fools (TC3), Goodbye Television Centre (TC1).

following the refit…

The Jonathan Ross Show (TC1), The Russell Howard Hour (TC1), Strictly It Takes Two (TC2), Pointless (TC3), Sounds Like Friday Night (TC1), The Graham Norton Show (TC1), The Big Narstie Show (TC1), Good Morning Britain (TC3), This Morning (TC3), Lorraine (TC2), Loose Women (TC2), Peston (TC2), Sunday Brunch (TC2), Your Face or Mine (TC1), The Last Leg (TC1), QI (TC1)

 

Just to emphasise again – a number of programmes carried on from one decade to the next – so what already looks like a busy 2010-2012 was actually even busier, with many well established series carrying on (eg Strictly, Buzzcocks, 8 Out of 10 Cats, Mock The Week, TV Burp, 2 Pints, Miranda, Later With Jools etc.)  In fact, 2010, 2011 and 2012 were the busiest years at TVC for a long time and studios were being booked right up to the closing in March 2013.  I have not included pilots – which again added to the studios’ use particularly in later years.

It’s interesting that TC3 seems to be relatively poorly represented above in some decades.  Some of those programmes above without a studio indicated were possibly made in TC3 but I can’t confirm that.  During the ’60s and into the ’70s it was a favourite studio for dramas – the titles of many individual plays are sadly forgotten.  During the 90s it was not converted to digital widescreen due to lack of funding so was often empty.  From 2002 – 2006 it was the home of Top Of The Pops and was the home of Later With Jools for a number of years.

 

On the drama front, there were a number of easily forgotten series that came and went and several striking single plays that often appeared under the banner of ‘Play of the Month‘, ‘Play for Today’, ‘Performance‘ etc.  Again, during the ’70s and ’80s the BBC were famous for their traditional Sunday teatime dramas – often of Dickens’ work.  These were usually made in TC3, TC4, TC6 or TC1.  The amount of drama made in these studios gradually faded during the 1980s until only a handful of series were being made by the turn of the decade.  With the ease of shooting using digital video on location and the improvement in the quality of super-16mm film all BBC drama was being made using a single camera on location or in film studios by 1994 – or was being shot in its own dedicated studio like EastEnders, Casualty and Holby City.

 

Sound operator David Gledhill has been kind enough to send me a list of some of the dramas he worked on, mainly on Jim Atkinson’s crew 5. He says these were recorded in TC3, TC4 or TC1. Of course, after transmission most if not all of the videotapes were wiped to be used again on other shows in order to save costs.

 

FESTIVAL –  August For the People  (’64),  Lysistrata  (’64),  Say Nothing  (’64),  A Florentine Tragedy  (’64),  The Inner World of Miss Vaughan  (’65),  Ring Around the Moon  (’65)

OUT OF THE UNKNOWN –  The Counterfeit Man  (’65)

THE WEDNESDAY PLAY –  In Camera  (’64),  Mr Douglas  (’64),  Stand Up Nigel Barton  (’65),  Vote Vote Vote for Nigel Barton  (’65)

THEATRE 625 –  No Trams to Lime Street  (’65),  Ironhand  (’65),  World of George Orwell: 1984  (’65),  Focus  (’66),  Chicken Soup With Barley  (’66),  The Melody Suit  (’66)

PLAY OF THE MONTH –  Luther  (’65),  A Passage To India  (’65),  The Joel Brand Story  (’65)

 

David was only working at Television Centre from 1963 to 1966 but this list, made by just one of the half dozen or so camera crews that specialised in drama, gives an indication of how much of this kind of work was created here in this period.

 

Incidentally, there is a lack of mention of music specials with the likes of Shirley Bassey, Jack Jones, Sammy Davis Junior etc although I do remember there seeming to be a constant flow of such programmes – especially during the seventies.  Many such shows were of course made down the road at TV Theatre on Shepherds Bush Green.

 

I have been sent photocopies of the front pages of the scripts for what is still considered by some as the best sitcom ever made. I refer of course to  Fawlty Towers . Only 12 episodes were recorded over two series. For those who like such things – here’s where they were made and please note how long they had to record them in series 1.  Only one and a half hours!  For series 2 they had a whole 2 hours.  Also note the gaps between episode 1 and 2 and between episode 10 and 11.  Interesting too that the show moved so much between studios from week to week.

 

Episode Title RX date record time studio
1 A Touch of Class 23.12.74 20.00-21.30 TC8
2 The Builders 3.8.75 20.00-21.30 TC3
3 The Wedding Party 10.8.75 20.00-21.30 TC8
4 The Hotel Inspectors 27.8.75 20.00-21.30 TC8
5 Gourmet Night 7.9.75 20.00-21.30 TC8
6 The Germans 31.8.75 20.00-21.30 TC6
7 Communication Problems 21.1 79 20.00-22.00 TC1
8 The Psychiatrist 28.1.79 20.00-22.00 TC8
9 Waldorf Salad 11.2.79 20.00-22.00 TC8
10 The Kipper and the Corpse 18.2.79 20.00-22.00 TC1
11 The Anniversary 18.3.79 20.00-22.00 TC1
12 Basil the Rat 25.3.79 20.00-22.00 TC8
 

…and finally – I just had to include this memo from the BBC’s Comedy Script Editor. I’m glad to see that lack of critical judgement in the BBC’s management was just as bad then as it has always been.

tvc fawlty towers letter 450p (1)