Tom Scott: 10 Of The Vlogger's Best London Videos

Tom Scott: 10 Of The Vlogger's Best London Videos
A man crouches on mesh suspended high above the inside of the Royal Albert Hall
Don't look down - Tom Scott perches high above the Royal Albert Hall. Sweaty palms not pictured. Image: Tom Scott

YouTuber Tom Scott recently announced the retirement of his Things You Might Not Know channel, after a decade of posting riveting videos about everything from bulletproof presidential trains, to creating an unlicensed hovercraft pub. Here are 10 of the best videos he made in, and about, London.

Breaking the news: Tom Scott and Matt Gray bonehead the budget

An early day pony-tailed Tom Scott dashes around London on budget day 2009, vying to sneak in the shot of as many live new broadcasts as he can before EOD. It's a contest between him and his friend Matt Gray (who's armed with a car), and as broadcasters become wise to the pair, they must adapt to stay in shot. Good silly hijinks.

The Thames Barrier must never fail. Here's why it doesn't

In this reassuring video, the intrepid vlogger discovers how the Thames Barrier and the people who run it aren't mucking about when it comes to keeping London dry; the Barrier, we learn, has multiple backup modes which take all kinds of scenarios into account — and even when a ship smacked into it in 1997, the Barrier only suffered some scratched paintwork and a broken ladder. (The ship itself sank).

The sightlines of London

In this video, which should probably have been titled 'why is the Cheesegrater shaped like that?', we get a crash course in the famous sightlines protecting views of St Paul's Cathedral from every which way — learning how they were introduced in the 1930s, thanks to buildings that we certainly wouldn't consider lofty today.

This is the most interesting roof in London

The Royal Albert Hall features a roof walk that makes Up at the O2 look like, well a stroll in the park. In a torrent of nervous laughter (and presumably sweaty palms), Scott girds his loins — and everything else — to find the only thing separating him and a dramatic plunge into the orchestra pit below is a thin carpet of mesh. It doesn't help that the director of health and safety starts bouncing up and down. (We've also been there and done this one.)

Lies on the London Underground

In this vintage (and tbf not exquisite quality) video, Tom Scott pals up with Matt Parker to put a handful of tube shortcuts into practise — including a surprisingly short walk from Lancaster Gate to Paddington, which is far breezier than the route suggested by disingenuous tube signage. This is the kind of two-and-a-half minute video that could save hours of your life.

Why is London's cable car so damn high?

More high things now, as the erudite vlogger explains the lofty precedent set by the QEII Bridge — and the fact that the dangleway acquiesces to these rules with a serious botch job. As if a scheme implemented by Boris Johnson could ever be a botch job...

There's a £100,000 coin buried under this London building

"I'm not saying this is definitely the plot for a British Ocean's Eleven-style heist caper..." starts Tom Scott (he always did have the knack for a juicy intro), before spinning a yarn about a penny that's worth over £100,000 buried beneath a central London building. And what a building it is! Someone write this film caper please.

The fake-British ghost town in China: Thames Town

A rare guest video, in which Collin reports from 'Thames Town', an ersatz London/England complete with red phone boxes, cobbled streets, Victorian terraces, and a glut of coffee shops. The only problem being that most of Thames Town is actually abandoned... Still, that doesn't keep the tourists away.

Five things you can't do on British television

Scott travels to Crystal — home of the iconic, and eminently tall, Crystal Palace transmitting station — as the backdrop to this fascinating video, in which he combs through five things you can't do on British TV (including hypnosis), before showing us how broadcasters simply shrug off these rules, and do it anyway.

The London Railway of the Dead

All aboard the 'Death Railway'! Avid Londonist readers will already know about Waterloo's Necropolis Railway, but did you know that, if it wasn't for the second world war, we might still be shuttling train-hearses full of dead Londoners to Surrey?

Last Updated 09 January 2024

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