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Steve Williams2,781 posts since 1 Aug 2008
Incidentally, and I promise this is tenuously connected to TOTP, I first heard Prefab Sprout when I was watching a video online of an old ‘A Day in the Life of Radio 1’ documentary (BTW I can't find any trace of this on Genome - was it only released on video?)


Yes, it was exclusively revealed on video to mark the station's 21st birthday.

You may notice they've cheated a bit and made it a composite "day" so things like Singled Out can be included.
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VMPhil gave kudos
Steve Williams2,781 posts since 1 Aug 2008
You'll note Paul Ciani's credit in this episode was "production", presumably as stringing together videos and repeats was not considered worthy of being credited as directing. I have read somewhere that Rod Stewart was supposed to be in the studio that week, which would have been his first appearance for fifteen years, but the asbestos put paid to that and indeed he never appeared in the studio again.

Unfortunately I was on holiday in Majorca that week and so missed all the fun (I was pissed off enough about missing the ITV Telethon), and indeed didn't even know about this episode until a few years later. It affected a lot of programmes that week, with Breakfast Time and Newsnight moving to the main news studio, Blue Peter being exiled to the garden, That's Life being dropped altogether and, famously, Doctor Who setting up a tent in the car park of BBC Elstree. TC8 was still available as it was newer and away from the rest of the studios but everything else had to use Pres B, Lime Grove or the Greenwood, by the looks of things.
james-20015,057 posts since 13 Sep 2015
Central (East) East Midlands Today
Nicky Campbell tweeted last night that it was done as live, when someone asked him if they'd instead recorded all the links in one go and put it together in in edit suite.

I think this is the final episode to come from unusual surroundings. We've had a fair few during the BBC4 run, Peter Powell out of vision (plus DLT doing the same the previous week, though BBC4 didn't show that one), Simon Bates and Olivia Newton-John in an empty studio, Tommy Vance in front of a CSO backdrop, those several weeks in 1984 with a cut down set. The nearest I can think of post-1988 is the episode from 1994 that had to go out live (at a time when the show never went out live) because of a strike the previous day when it should have been recorded, but it otherwise looked and felt the same as normal.
Steve Williams2,781 posts since 1 Aug 2008
I think this is the final episode to come from unusual surroundings. We've had a fair few during the BBC4 run, Peter Powell out of vision (plus DLT doing the same the previous week, though BBC4 didn't show that one), Simon Bates and Olivia Newton-John in an empty studio, Tommy Vance in front of a CSO backdrop, those several weeks in 1984 with a cut down set. The nearest I can think of post-1988 is the episode from 1994 that had to go out live (at a time when the show never went out live) because of a strike the previous day when it should have been recorded, but it otherwise looked and felt the same as normal.


That's true enough. There are a few live episodes in 1989 which I think were supposed to have been recorded but were broadcast live, in spring 1989 there were a lot of strikes at the Beeb. But as you say, not so's you'd notice.

In fact I'm not sure we've had any live episodes yet in 1988. Certainly in recent years there hasn't been as many as in the early eighties, circa 1983/4 it was probably live more often than that. By the time we got to 1987 it was pretty much only in Bank Holiday weeks (where the chart came out a day later and they lost a day's preparation) when it was live, and now the chart is published on Sundays, even that's not a problem (and I think the recording day has now moved to Tuesdays rather than Wednesdays). Of course, there is a live episode to come in a few weeks, with disastrous consequences.

Of course, way, way in the future, a few weeks before it ended for good in 2006, there was an episode hosted by Rufus Hound and Annie Mac at T In The Park made up of repeats and clips from the coverage, although that wasn't for any technical reasons, the show was just staggering to a close and it was a way of making a cheap episode. Of course in that era one show a month would be recorded in the same session as the previous week's episode in any case.
james-20015,057 posts since 13 Sep 2015
Central (East) East Midlands Today
You've also got the summer of 1999 where they presented it from various nightclubs around the country, but again I think this was just because they wanted to do something different rather than because of circumstance.

Also they've already shown that Wet Wet Wet performance 4 times, and we're still going to see it again on the next episode. Why they didn't show the video (even if it is uninspiring, and basically just another studio performance with some Childline clips thrown in, it's at least something different) or the Billy Bragg flip side again (though even when they did show it they still dragged out the WWW performance again straight after it) is beyond me, as that's what they'd usually do when a song had a long run at number one. It feels a bit like the Chris Cowey era a decade later when they'd keep repeating the same performances week after week because he all but banned videos.
Hatton Cross3,263 posts since 4 Jan 2003
Central (West) Midlands Today
It affected a lot of programmes that week, with Breakfast Time and Newsnight moving to the main news studio, Blue Peter being exiled to the garden, That's Life being dropped altogether and, famously, Doctor Who setting up a tent in the car park of BBC Elstree. TC8 was still available as it was newer and away from the rest of the studios but everything else had to use Pres B, Lime Grove or the Greenwood, by the looks of things.


Sorry for asking - but why was That's Life dropped? Back in 88 they would still have been using the TV theatre on Sheperds Bush Green on a Sunday evening to record the show - a good 5 minutes walk from TVC. I'd have thought that show would have been the most immune from all the disruption - or was a more important show needed, so they were 'booted out' of the theater for a few weeks?

Unless, of course they for some reason had to rehearse the show in a studio at TVC, but I'm sure I read an interview with one of Dame Esthers 'nancies', that most rehearsals were doing in the production office on a Friday afternoon, understandable when the most movement on the show, was the actual walk-on of the presenters at the start of it.
My user name might look like Hatton Cross, but it's pronounced Throatwobbler Mangrove.
Steve Williams2,781 posts since 1 Aug 2008
Sorry for asking - but why was That's Life dropped? Back in 88 they would still have been using the TV theatre on Sheperds Bush Green on a Sunday evening to record the show - a good 5 minutes walk from TVC. I'd have thought that show would have been the most immune from all the disruption - or was a more important show needed, so they were 'booted out' of the theater for a few weeks?


This is true enough, although it was dropped, because the show the following week begins with an apology about it. They showed a compilation instead and I can only assume, as you have, that presumably some other show that was planned for TVC suddenly became homeless so That's Life gave way because it was easy enough to put on a clip show instead. But I dunno.

You've also got the summer of 1999 where they presented it from various nightclubs around the country, but again I think this was just because they wanted to do something different rather than because of circumstance.


Yes, the summer tour in 1999. I always assumed that they would take the opportunity while they were away to convert the studio to widescreen or get in a new set, and that was the main reason they were doing it, but when it came back it looked exactly the same. One odd thing about the tour is that they still made the show the same way including doing umpteen pre-records so you got new performances filmed at The Dome in Birmingham popping up weeks later when they were back in Elstree.
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Hatton Cross gave kudos
buster1,767 posts since 15 Mar 2006
London London
I’ve seen a clip of Take Two from this period when Schofield is lamenting the leaky roof in their temporary surroundings - was this the Greenwood? Didn’t look like the TV Theatre.
How long did it take for all this to be resolved? Asbestos removal isn’t quick, yet it seems like most programmes weren’t affected for all that long. Was it a false alarm in some studios?
Steve Williams2,781 posts since 1 Aug 2008
Were Sport still at Lime Grove at this stage or did they need to find a temporary home?


Sport were in TC5 so they mostly used Pres B, there is a clip of a pre-Euro 88 England friendly on YouTube and Des is clearly in a tiny set at half time. Some of the other shows were done on location. What was quite convenient was there was a big summit in Moscow that week attended by Thatcher and Reagan so Breakfast Time, Newsnight and the like were able to do quite a lot of anchoring from there.

I’ve seen a clip of Take Two from this period when Schofield is lamenting the leaky roof in their temporary surroundings - was this the Greenwood? Didn’t look like the TV Theatre.
How long did it take for all this to be resolved? Asbestos removal isn’t quick, yet it seems like most programmes weren’t affected for all that long. Was it a false alarm in some studios?


Aha! That Take Two clip with the leaky roof is actually from a few weeks previously and was at TV Centre - because I remember watching it at the time, whereas I was on holiday during all the asbestos fun. But there is a clip of Take Two from the Greenwood, here...

https://twitter.com/BBCArchive/status/964109595617701888



As we'll see, Pops was back in the studio the following week, but I suppose the Beeb were lucky in that it was discovered in late May when TV Centre wasn't perhaps as busy and a lot of shows had gone on their summer breaks, they'd have had more problems if it had been in the autumn when you'd have had Going Live and all the big Saturday night shows. Presumably the biggest effect was on pre-recorded shows for later in the year which had to be rescheduled, but I think a few small-scale shows like Blue Peter remained in Lime Grove for a few weeks.