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television centre

Watching last night’s various programmes marking the closure of BBC Televison Centre, it was hard not to feel emotional about the end of an era.

Since its opening in 1960, so much marvellous tv has been created there and it’s punctuated all our lives.

For me, the occasion was bittersweet.

Though I worked for the BBC for nearly a quarter of a century, I only spent three months working at TVC – in the tv news room.

But my various jobs took me there on a regular basis, and visiting was never a chore, particularly if you caught a glimpse of a show being rehearsed or recorded or found yourself next to a ‘star’ in the lift or canteen queue.

My favourite Television Centre moment was a musical one – witnessing Rick Astley’s first appearance on ‘Top of the Pops’ in August 1987 after producing his tv debut a few weeks earlier on ‘North West Tonight’ in Manchester.

‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ went on to be a number one in countries around the world, and its global momentum got a sizeable boost from those few minutes in TVC.

That was the power of the place.

The choice of Madness to perform an energetic and tight set, despite the cold and sleet, was perfect as was the ‘guest’ appearance of the wonderful Wilko Johnson.

Richard Thompson with original Faiport Convention fiddle player Dave Swarbrick in tow was another well-pitched musical choice to bring down the curtain on BBC Television Centre.

I will miss the place and what it stood for – and I don’t think I’ll be alone.

Madness Live: Goodbye Television Centre – BBC iPlayer

Richard Thompson: Goodbye Televison Centre – BBC iPlayer

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