Thursday, October 18, 2007

Plus: It Created CBeebies, Which Is Fun To Say

I'm a bit sad about the whole sorry state the BBC seems to have got itself into. Being a big old semi-posho, we were definitely a BBC household in my youth, never consorting with the commoners on ITV. That was for people like my auntie and uncle, whose summer holiday caravan stank of fags and fry-ups and who I secretly adored spending time with, knowing even in my tenderest years that this was rather accurately foreshadowing my future in scent form. Even though my cousins relentlessly ripped the piss out of me, chasing me around, fingers permanently pressing nose cartilage upwards in the universal sign for "snoot", accusing me of being more upper-class than the Grand Lord Duchy of Raauuuhhh-haugh-haww! or whatever.

But I digress. I grew up with the Beeb, with Going Live, with the Broom Cupboard, with Simon Mayo in the morning, and then I grew older and they had Quantum Leap and Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and then, OK, I dabbled in the murky waters of Channel 4 but I was adolescent, and my head was easily turned by sexy young American coffee culture and soft-core porn disguised as alternative lifestyle programming. Then I worked for them for the briefest of interludes, which equipped me with a magical pass card into the murky rabbit warren that is Television Centre. And no-one's bothered to deactivate it, which means that I can, theoretically, wander in and out at will and poke whomever I want in the small of the back, celebrities and everything.

And I could as well. Television Centre is positively crawling with the buggers. But, alas, the second rule of TVC is that if you're in there, you must belong there, and therefore have to act completely nonplussed whilst bathed in the golden sheen of celebdom. Even if you're confronted with Take That, or Julia Stiles, or, god help you, Dick'n'Dom, as I have been. Any other behaviour and you risk looking like you have wandered off a studio tour of some sort, and thus social (and, in extreme cases, literal) death occurs.

The first rule of TVC is to rather twattishly always refer to it as TVC. For the BBC is nothing without its TLAs.

The other brilliant thing about Television Centre is that once you have breached the outer security perimeter (variously, Foreboding Ring Of Steel or Rather Bored Florescent-Coated Guard) you can just meander about anywhere, through the studios, in the bar, Blue Peter garden, costume department, everywhere. As long as you fulfil your legal requirement to remark loudly how small everything looks compared to on telly, that is. Although the thrill palls exponentially to the amount of disgruntled sound technicians you find lolling about the place, muttering about union representation. Glamour? Schlamour.

But when it is flogged off and they tear the place down and put up some godawful executive apartments (for the rich shall not live in a flat! Heaven forfend!) and my magical pass card does not give me access into them for the purposes of snooping and light burglary, I shall shed a tiny tear. Cos it is iconic, and the first time I went in I did get chills, and for one happy fleeting moment in my early twenties I worked for the BBC and therefore my life was going somewhere. And now? Meh. Another day, another post. I, personally, can't wait.

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