Monday, June 30, 2008

Bulldoze the BBC!

Readers of my blog who work at the BBC Wood Lane HQ will be choking over their morning conflakes when they read that English Heritage plans to make TV Centre a listed building. This may well scupper the BBC's plans to sell off the site for £300 million.

The whole building is a fifties monolith. A carbuncle. A tribute to hideousness. Most who work there would cheerfully see it bulldozed. English Heritage have taken leave of their senses.

31 comments:

haddock said...

Save the building but bulldoze the people who work there might be a better way of doing it.

Blackacre said...

I rather like it. And they are listing the Italian Sunken Garden - now that HAS to be a good thing.

JuliaM said...

"The whole building is a fifties monolith. A carbuncle. A tribute to hideousness."

Why should any of that be a barrier to 'listing'...?

If they can 'list' Barking Railway Station, they can list anything...

thechristophe said...

For its historical importance, it should be classified as an English Heritage site...

bj said...

The exterior of the old bit -- the "doughnut" -- and the first purpose-built TV studios are actually quite nice in their way. The entire interior, however, is utterly depressing. And it's stuck in a most uninspiring location, too. I'm very much looking forward to BBC news returning to the West End. I don't see why the outside can't be listed and the interior turned into flats or offices or whatever.

Anonymous said...

Have to disagree with you on that one. Purpose-built and steeped in broadcasting history - we'd be mad to get rid of it.

Another bit of Britishness gone...

Unsworth said...

It's a small cost to English Heritage who may be looking for favourable mention from Al Beeb.

Boyce said...

I wrote a blog on this yesterday saying much the same. Knock it down as soon as possible!

Anonymous said...

Funny how English Heritage didn't list their own building - Fortress House in Saville Row - which was an unusual and quite attractive office block of the 1950s before it was flogged off and demolished to be replace with another bland corporate HQ.

What's sauce for the goose...

Anonymous said...

I like TVC. If its not too late to save it from the rapacious grasp of Michael Grade, Fatty Yentob and their property developer/agent chums then listing might just do it.
In fact English Heritage and/or the National Trust should take it over.

Johnny Norfolk said...

Of course it should be listed as it is a good example of its time and significant in the history of broadcasting in the world.
however I do not like it but that is besides the point.
Now sell off the BBC and that should be done of an example how something that should be independent has just become a left wing mouth piece.

Nigel said...

Who are we to judge what future generations will find of value? Like it or not, it is undoubtedly an historic and iconic building of its time, and English Heritage would be failing if they didn't consider the case for listing at least parts of it. Too many historic buildings have been lost to us because people haven't appreciated their significance until after they had gone. And how can ANYONE think about bulldozing the Blue Peter Garden? Philistines.

Paul Simpson said...

Iain, I expect better of you!

TVC is a great example of 1950's/early 1960's architecture and for that alone it should be protected. All too easily our built heritage from the Twentieth Century is been lost. Without the work for organisations such as the Twentieth Century Society many more would have already been lost.

It may not be the most popular decision to list these structures know, but I am confident future generations will welcome the decision. We shouldn’t forget that not long ago Victorian wonders such as St Pancras Station were under threat from been demolished and the Euston Arch was demolished just because they weren’t fashionable.

neil craig said...

Damnit Iain - from the headline I thought you meant the organisation. Worse buildings have been listed. Listing is a very good way for the heritage industry to empire build & an equally good way to stop us having modern infrastructure. Currently it is an example of ratcheting - listing only increases. There should be a fixed number of listings & let them fight out which Victorian warehouses we could survive without.

Martin said...

Actually the BBC is a 50's throwback that should have been slaughtered a long time ago.

Scrap the BBC and make all those Islington luvvie's get real jobs (if they can)

Anonymous said...

Bulldoze the BBC. End of message.

kevin the gerbil said...

I can still recall Naughtie's squeal of outrage on the Toady programme in 2001: "The IRA have detonated a bomb outside the BEE-BEE-CEE!". I thought he was going to burst into tears. Laughed? I nearly threw up. Couldn't have happened to nicer people.

Curmy said...

Iain, my Elder Daughter used to work for English heritage, they've listed worse building than that !

Jeremy Clarkson wrote a very funny piece in the S. Times about the new TV centre in W. London, especially the canteen.

Ilja Nieuwland said...

I actually like fifties' monoliths - I live in one, and quite congenially, thank you.

And think how much fun the maze-like interior of TVC has already given us, from Clarkson's exploits with the Bond Bug to Guy Goma's expertise on Apple (inc vs plc).

Roger Thornhill said...

If they can build the British Library it is no surprise some wish to keep the BBC TVC.

trevorsden said...

It might be worth listing but the point being made i think is that if its listed the BBC is stuffed 'cos it cannot sell the site off at a humungous profit. Thus in turn stuffing the licence holders.

It was designed as a fifties TV centre but its outdated now. How will it be usefully converted? Certainly its not worth much to anybody who has to spend a fortune altering it for a limited return.

Just take lots of photos and flatten it.

Anonymous said...

Listing can be a menace: allegedly important buildings become impossibly costly to repair and maintain, and in many cases they simply become exhibits rather than habitable homes or even workplaces. This is especially true of many sixties buildings which were constructed before their long-term viability could be assessed; propping up places like Trellick Tower costs the local authority a small fortune which would be much better spent on more affordable housing. Ancient buildings survived until the twentieth century only if they continued to be usable or affordable; they were not preserved artificially once their natural lives came to an end. No building less than a hundred years old should be listed unless English Heritage is prepared to pay the lion's share of the subsequent costs.

Diversity said...

Don't bulldoze the place. Well arranged demolition with explosives will be more effective, far quicker and much better television. Not just the event itself. Think of the audience attraction of a tough,televised contest for the privilege of pushing the button!

Astro-Turf Lawnmower said...

Is the building structurally sound?

If so, then it's the only part of the BBC that isn't leaning dangerously to the left.

Anonymous said...

Glad to see the English are striking back against the British occupation media.

Anonymous said...

Attitudes like yours are why we lost so much important architecture during the 50s and 60s.

Oscar Miller said...

Auntie is a monster - it's not just British Heritage trying to save a carbunkle. We're a nation of sheep dutifully paying our licence fees to a totalitarian regime far more sinister than anything Orwell could dream up.

Ben said...

"English Heritage have taken leave of their senses".

I'm curious to know why you should think this is only a recent occurrence.

Not a sheep said...

I quite like the building although it is very confusing to gate around once inside. I am less keen on many of the people who "work" inside the building.

Anonymous said...

Nigel said...

"Blue Peter Garden"

What is that?

Actually, whatever it is, dynamite it.

Anonymous said...

Demolish it with everyone who works there still inside. Then do the same to the Guardian, the (not even vaguely) Independent and the Mirror. He He He..........