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Bookmark and Share Classic-Era Studios May Get Special Status

7/06/2008 09:22:00 pm - Reported by DWNP Archive

Posted By John Bowman

The BBC TV studios where Doctor Who was recorded during most of its classic era may be given special status.

English Heritage, the UK government's statutory adviser on the historic environment, is urging the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to recognise the architectural and cultural significance of Television Centre - which is at White City in London - and list parts of it at grade II.

This would classify them as of special interest and would ensure their historic and architectural interest was considered carefully before any alterations - internally or externally - were agreed.

Doctor Who was produced at TV Centre for the majority of its stories made between 1966 and 1989. Last October, this site reported that the centre, in Wood Lane, was being put up for sale.

Peter Beacham, heritage protection director for English Heritage, said: "As one of the first purpose-built TV studios in the world, it represents the moment when Britain led Europe into the television age. The BBC itself is an important part of our British identity and Television Centre has acquired an iconic presence.

"The nation has an immense fondness for this building and what it represents for our culture. We all feel we know areas such as the Blue Peter garden and the studios where people have watched significant moments in broadcasting over the last 50 years: from early Doctor Who to Top of the Pops."

He said the aim was to ensure the site remained flexible to adapt to changing technology or new uses, "despite being of undeniable national interest and one of very few monuments to television history".

English Heritage has assigned special interest to the scenery workshops, with their barrel-vaulted ceiling and rows of circular rooflights, the 1950s canteen that overlooks the Blue Peter garden, and the distinctive circular drum that houses offices and the main studios.

A BBC spokesman said: "The BBC is happy to discuss with English Heritage any proposal it has and we will comment to the Secretary of State on the historic and architectural merit of TVC in due course.

"The BBC has announced that it does not intend to occupy the whole of TVC after 2012 but any reference to detailed development plans for the building and site is premature.

"We recognise the historical importance of the building and will be looking for a solution that best preserves the interests of the BBC and licence-fee payer, but there are no firm plans currently on the table."

Already listed is Alexandra Palace in Wood Green, London, from where the world's first regular public television service came and where an establishing shot was filmed for The Idiot's Lantern in January 2006.