Worthy of listed status, Percy Thrower's Blue Peter garden

Mention the words "Italian sunken garden" and almost everyone who grew up in Britain in the latter part of the 20th century will immediately know what is being discussed.

The Blue Peter garden – home to a bust of Petra, the first Blue Peter pet, a plaque to its designer Percy Thrower and the grave of George the tortoise – achieved iconic status in the minds of millions of Britons.

Now this patch of greenery in west London, which is "smaller than it looks on TV" according to BBC insiders, is likely to be protected from redevelopment.

English Heritage is recommending that the core parts of the 58-year-old BBC Television Centre, on Wood Lane, should be given a grade-II listing.

The BBC is reportedly considering selling the building, but the heritage watchdog said it had "strongly urged" the Secretary for Culture, Media and Sport to recognise its "extraordinary cultural and architectural significance".

Television Centre was home to Top of the Pops, early Doctor Who, the Children in Need programmes and Terry Wogan's shows, but it was Blue Peter that became part of the national psyche.

Peter Beacham, heritage protection director for English Heritage, said: "The nation has an immense fondness for this building and what it represents for our culture. We all feel we know areas such as the Blue Peter garden and the studios, where people have watched significant moments in broadcasting over the past 50 years.

"Blue Peter is an instance of a programme that has had a great influence on the way things here have developed – stuff that was done there at Television Centre affected the way Britain has been in the second half of the 20th century."

English Heritage said that the central building itself was an example of "very good 1950s design" with "dazzling mosaics, a gilded statue of Helios and the familiar pattern of atom-like discs on the front".

The distinctive drum-shaped core of the centre, which houses the offices and main studios; the scenery workshop with its barrel-vaulted ceiling and rows of circular rooflights; and the "light and airy" canteen should all be protected, according to English Heritage.

In 2011, the BBC is moving its children's television department to Manchester and it is believed this will involved the creation of a new Blue Peter garden.

The plaque to Thrower, along with a bronze bust of Petra and the most recent time capsule are expected to be taken north, but more serious alterations to the original garden would require listed building consent if the Government agrees with English Heritage's recommendation.

The prospect of the sunken garden being covered in asphalt would horrify many. When vandals caused serious damage to the garden in 1983, there was widespread shock: plants were trampled, flagstones hauled up and various pieces of garden stonework smashed. Oil was also poured into the pond, killing several fish.

The BBC said it was "happy to discuss" any proposal for listing with English Heritage, adding that it would make its views on the historic and architectural merit of Television Centre known to the Government.

"The BBC has announced that it does not intend to occupy the whole of Television Centre after 2012, but any reference to detailed development plans is premature," it added.

Weird and wonderful listed buildings

A glorified garden shed in Horham, Suffolk, became a grade-II listed building when the Government agreed the small brick structure should be protected as the place where Benjamin Britten composed some of his later works, including Phaedra and Death in Venice.

* A scattering of small concrete buildings might seem insignificant, but Bawdsey Radar Station is a grade-II listed building nevertheless. It became operational in 1936 and was the first radar installation in the world, helping to win the Battle of Britain.

*Listing a former pie shop might sound unusual, but then so is No 41 Kingsland High Street, in Dalston, London. Now a Chinese restaurant, it was built as a stylish eel and pie shop in 1862. Intertwined eels can be seen on mirror frames, delft-style tile pictures show scenes of Thames barges and there is a frieze of fish on the cornice.

Arts and Entertainment
Loaded weapon: drugs have surprise side effects for Scarlett Johansson in Luc Besson’s ‘Lucy’
film
Arts and Entertainment
Novelist Martin Amis at The Times Cheltenham Literature Festival

books
Arts and Entertainment
Alfred Molina, left, and John Lithgow in a scene from 'Love Is Strange'

After giving gay film R-rating despite no sex or violence

film
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Williams will be given a 'meaningful remembrance' at the Emmy Awards

film
Arts and Entertainment

tv
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
'The Great British Bake Off' showcases food at its most sumptuous
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Cliff Richard performs at the Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam on 17 May 2014

music
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Educating the East End returns to Channel 4 this autumn

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch will voice Shere Khan in Andy Serkis' movie take on The Jungle Book

film
Arts and Entertainment
DJ Calvin Harris performs at the iHeartRadio Music Festival

music
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush

music
Arts and Entertainment
From left to right: Mark Crown, DJ Locksmith and Amir Amor of Rudimental performing on stage during day one of the Wireless Festival at Perry Park, Birmingham

music
Arts and Entertainment

books
Arts and Entertainment
Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014

Edinburgh
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Capaldi and Chris Addison star in political comedy The Thick of IT

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Judy Murray said she

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014

edinburgh
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Paxman has admitted he is a 'one-nation Tory' and complained that Newsnight is made by idealistic '13-year-olds' who foolishly think they can 'change the world'.

Edinburgh
Arts and Entertainment
Seoul singer G-Dragon could lead the invasion as South Korea has its sights set on Western markets
music
Arts and Entertainment
Gary Lineker at the UK Premiere of 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire'
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Bale as Batman in a scene from
film
Arts and Entertainment
Johhny Cash in 1969
musicDyess Colony, where singer grew up in Depression-era Arkansas, opens to the public
Arts and Entertainment
Army dreamers: Randy Couture, Sylvester Stallone, Dolph Lundgren and Jason Statham
film
Arts and Entertainment
The Great British Bake Off 2014 contestants
tvReview: It's not going to set the comedy world alight but it's a gentle evening watch
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

    Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

    The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
    Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

    Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

    A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
    Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

    Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

    Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
    Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

    Nick Clegg the movie

    Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
    Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

    Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

    Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
    Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

    Waxing lyrical

    Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
    Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

    Revealed (to the minute)

    The precise time when impressionism was born
    From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

    Make the most of British tomatoes

    The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
    10 best men's skincare products

    Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

    Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
    Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

    Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

    The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
    La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

    Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

    Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
    Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

    We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

    Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
    Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

    Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

    Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
    Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

    The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

    Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
    Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

    Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

    Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape