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BBC Television Centre: Misc


Dr Who

Up to date as of January 31, 2010

From TARDIS Index File, the free Doctor Who reference.

This article is written from the Real World point of view. TARDIS
David Tennant outside TVC in 2007

BBC Television Centre is a television production facility in Shepherd's Bush in the London borough of Hammersmith and Fulham. It is located within walking distance of the former site of Lime Grove Studios and close to Riverside Studios. It is one of the oldest buildings in the world specially built for television production, and dates to 1960.

Although most intimately connected to the color era of the original series of Doctor Who, it has been used to record at least parts of stories of each of the first nine Doctors, except the Eighth, and has been the subject of an episode of Doctor Who Confidential directed and hosted by David Tennant.

It is unlikely that the studios will have much future impact upon Doctor Who, as the BBC plan to sell it by 2012.


Site History

TVC's famous central fountain
Moffat and Tennant in TC8
Briggs, Edwards and Tennant in the Blue Peter Garden

Building commenced on Television Centre almost at the dawn of the television age in Britain. Groundbreaking was in 1951, and the building was officially opened in 1960. At the time it was possessed of a highly innovative design that allowed all its studios to be essentially interchangeable. Even the exterior was remarkable, as it deliberately formed the shape of a question mark.[1] Numerous upgrades to the site allowed it to maintain its utility as a producer of drama into the 1990s. However, as the whole basis of the design had assumed multi-camera, video recording, TV Centre suddenly became useless when most dramas switched to single camera set-ups. The BBC Wales version of Doctor Who, for instance, simply could not be filmed at Television Centre due to this inherent design element. In the mid-1990s, it switched its focus from drama to news and other forms of non-fictional entertainment that still use multiple cameras. However, a 2007 assessment determined that, even with the change of emphasis, the facilities were still under-used. As a result, a decision was taken to sell off the property in an effort to make better use of the BBC's assets.

Alternate name

Television Centre is sometimes referred to as "Shepherd's Bush" by BBC employees, perhaps because it is the usual penchant for studios to have simple geographic names, like "Ealing", "Lime Grove", or "Teddington". This would have been especially appropriate during the period Television Centre was being most heavily used by Doctor Who, as it was merely the center of a whole cluster of buildings in Shepherd's Bush that the BBC used in various capacities to produce their content. This tradition has been maintained in the BBC Wales production of Doctor Who, in which the "BBC Studios" are frequently called "Upper Boat", in deference to their location.

As recording studio

See List of stories recorded at BBC Television Centre

As location

The front doors of Television Centre doubled as the entrance to the World Ecology Bureau in The Seeds of Doom.

As documentary subject

Television Centre was the subject of David Tennant's documentary, "Do You Remember the First Time?", aired as episode 10 of the third series of Doctor Who Confidential. Extensive historical and modern footage of the building was featured, including a cursory examination of which episodes of classic Doctor Who were filmed in which specific studios. For most of the "walkabout" tour of the complex, Tennant was accompanied by writer and future Doctor Who showrunner, Steven Moffat.

It also serves as the backdrop to some of Jon Pertwee's narration of The Pertwee Years, a direct-to-video retrospective on his era in Doctor Who.

In other media

Beep the Meep's ship punctures the side of Television Centre

Television Centre is the location of an Eighth Doctor comic, "TV Action!", in which the Eighth Doctor and Izzy Sinclair chase Beep the Meep into an alternate universe. There, they land on 12th October 1979 just outside what is presumably the "real" Television Centre. A mad chase through various studios ensues, but Beep has mistaken Tom Baker for the real Fourth Doctor. Beep wishes to extract revenge against Baker for the events of the Fourth Doctor strip, "The Star Beast", but in the end, the actor's tendency to ramble subdues the alien long enough to allow Izzy to overload Beep's Black Star drive, ending the adventure. Much of Television Centre is reasonably accurately portrayed, with the main entrance, central fountain, Blue Peter garden, and circular studio space being recognizably captured by artist Roger Langridge.


  1. The "question mark" design is readily apparent in this copyrighted Google satellite imagery
Wikipedia has a more detailed and comprehensive article on

This article uses material from the "BBC Television Centre" article on the Dr Who wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


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