Erm… what?

Interesting Television Centre fact no. 1: Studio 1 is the biggest and most expensive studio in television centre. For the early series of Red Dwarf, there was no budget for any set after the production team hired it for filming so they had the hapless space team running around the exposed lighting rigs and gangways, which worked brilliantly (and cheaply) for convincing us they were on board a massive spaceship.

  1. Red Dwarf has never been shot at BBC Television Centre. The first three series were shot in Manchester, and Series IV onwards were shot in Shepperton.
  2. Studio 1 is, as they say, bloody massive. It’s mostly used for big, live (or as-live) light entertainment showpieces such as Strictly Come Dancing and the like – not modestly-budgeted sit-coms.
  3. What Production Manager in their right mind would book a massive studio if it took out their entire budget?
  4. There was NO BUDGET FOR ANY SET? So the bunk room, drive room, captain’s office, officers’ quarters, hologram projection suite and all the rest were just part of the lighting rig, were they?
  5. STUPID.

OK, it’s true that they did use lighting rigs and other bits of studio to fill in for corridors, and yes it was very effective and brilliant. But this ‘fact’ is just complete and utter bollocks. Where did it come from? How much exaggeration and apocrypha is required for this to rise to the surface? And who, after more than three seconds’ thought, would believe it to be true?

There’s a thin line between poor research and simply making stuff up.

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8 Responses to Erm… what?

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  1. G&T Admin

    I really liked Londonist until they made such a stupid statement…

  2. Almost worth registering to point out that they are the most stupidly stupidest stupids in the history of stupid.

  3. I do love how the ceiling of Starbug is just the studio lighting rig…and I never noticed until it was pointed out in the commentaries.

  4. G&T Admin

    I fucking *love* the corridor set in V. There’s some beautiful shots in The Inquisitor with the camera pointing straight up to the ceiling, and it looks magnificent. It gives a real sense of space – for free! And oddly enough, despite the fact that you know damn well that it’s a TV studio, it never once breaks the reality of the show.

    Incidentally, TC1 has been *occasionally* used for sitcom – this excellent site says that I’m Alan Partridge used it (it’d make sense, with Series 1 and the big travel tavern set), and I think I recall David Croft saying in his autobiography that he occasionally used it for his sitcoms – but didn’t like it because it was too large, and so didn’t generate the correct atmosphere. Which is absolutely correct – as Ian says, it’s mainly used these days for light entertainment shows. Why the fuck you’d think Dwarf was shot there is beyond me, unless you think that TC1 is the only TV studio in the country…

    Interestingly enough, the studio used to be used for drama productions, before they all went location/single-camera (which I think is a mistake, and there should be room for *all* different types of drama productions, but I digress) – I, Claudius was shot in TC1. You haven’t got the problems of it generating the wrong atmosphere for comedy, and the size was useful if you had a large number and/or large-sized sets. Doctor Who was sometimes shot there as well, for that matter.

  5. How much exaggeration and apocrypha is required for this to rise to the surface?

    Well the BBC submarine was used for the ocean grey walls.

  6. If Doctor Who was being made at TV Centre (can you imagine???) they might have wanted to use Studio 1 for various big sets. But the expense and time restrictions would probably make it so impractical. It wouldn’t be long before the BBC were telling them to get out so they could setup stuff like Strictly Fuck Off: The Fuck Off.

    Is there any more news about the BBC moving out of TV Centre?

  7. G&T Admin

    The only reason I can think of for Londonist’s mistake is that they got confused with Studio 1 in Manchester; which I presume was used for Dwarf before Shepperton. God knows where they got the ‘no set’ idea, though, as that really makes no sense! It’s odd, because you’d think if they were familiar enough with TV production to make that kind of statement, they’d think it through and realise they were talking bollocks…

  8. The deleted scene from The End where Lister gives his eulogy to Kochanski was filmed in my bathroom. FACT.

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