The future of BBC Television Centre has been secured after the central ring and Studio One of the White City complex were awarded Grade II listed status. With much of the Beeb's production apparatus upping sticks to Manchester in the coming years, the Corp had been keen to flog it to developers for a new life as luxury flats, cultural heritage and period features be damned. But following a request from English Heritage, the 1960s-built building, whose question mark-shaped design was (if you believe the anecdote) scribbled on the back of an envelope by architect Graham Dawbarn, is now protected. Not that being listed alone ensures a bright future: Alexandra Palace, where the first broadcasts in British history took place, has suffered an undignified retirement playing host to pop acts and ice skaters, and as television becomes more fragmented and the Beeb's license fee comes under threat, it's tempting to wonder if future generations will regard the Centre much as young people nowadays see Battersea Power Station — an intriguing relic of a bygone technology.
Last Updated 10 July 2009