Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 April 2014

Stars lament end of BBC studios

Stars recorded a special show to bid farewell to BBC Television Centre

BBC stars have condemned the closure of Television Centre as they recorded a special show to bid farewell to the famous building .

Goodbye Television Centre, filmed at Studio One of the Grade II listed building in west London, saw celebrities from its 53-year history gather to reminisce about their experiences days before it closes.

The centre is being made into a £200 million shops and offices complex.

Former BBC chairman Lord Grade interviewed legends of the small screen, including Sir David Attenborough, Sir Michael Parkinson, Sir Terry Wogan, Sir Bruce Forsyth, Ronnie Corbett and Sir David Jason, for the two-hour long broadcast recorded on Monday night.

But many voiced their disapproval for the closure, with The Good Life actress Penelope Keith saying it was tantamount to making them "orphans".

Sir Terry drew rapturous applause from the audience when he said: "I know it's only a building. I know it's an inanimate object and it doesn't have a heart. But it has a spirit. There are spirits here, of immensely talented, brilliant people who made some of the best television programmes ever seen and I think it's a shame. It's a shame to close it down."

Broadcaster Danny Baker had some of the strongest words about the imminent closure, comparing it to the destruction of archive footage in the 1960s.

"He also bemoaned the fact that the former Top Of The Pops studios were "probably going to be some coffee lounge".

"I'm not here to bang the drum," he said. "They say it makes financial sense to get rid of it. But they said it made financial sense to get rid of those tapes in the 1960s, and we all know what a blunder that was."

Baker said Television Centre was a "recognisable symbol" of all that the BBC stands for, adding: "The very structure of the bricks of this place comes with a certain accountability."

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