I turned off the lights at Television Centre

Related Topics

For trivia fans, I was in the last programme ever to be filmed in BBC Television Centre. This is a fact, despite reading about 10 different Tweets from other performers claiming the same thing. As far as I can make out, their claims were only factually correct in that it might have been the last thing to be filmed in the studio they were in, but mine was the very last. I literally turned the lights off as I left. This should be very exciting, but as it was a non-broadcast puppet pilot for CBBC, it's not quite as glamorous as it could have been.

Whatever, I'm pleased it happened, as my history with TVC is a chequered one. The first time I ever went there was on a blag. I wanted to get into an early recording of a Later... with Jools Holland and had simply looked at the name of the director on the credits and then turned up and announced I was their guest. The plan failed when the director actually came to the door and personally told me to bugger off.

This set a tone for the building and me. After the success of Trigger Happy TV on Channel 4, I moved to the BBC with a three-series deal. On my first day there, I drove into the multi-storey car park and smashed into a senior BBC executive's posh car. He was not best pleased and I fear that my card was marked from then on.

Working in the building was always interesting as there was invariably something going on. Ricky Gervais used to pop into my office, flop onto the sofa, and stare at me in a disconcerting manner. Once, leaving a Later... with Jools Holland (this time I had actually been invited) I had the pleasure/terror of Amy Winehouse hitting on me. "I like you. Are you married?" she slurred suggestively. I introduced her to my not-very-happy wife who was standing right beside me and Amy shrugged her slender shoulders and tottered off on her towering heels into the White City night.

Working at the BBC was a very different thing from Channel 4. When I moved in, somebody came round and asked me how I'd like my office decorated. I asked them to paint it some sort of crimson. Three days later, a tabloid newspaper splashed a story that I was "refusing to start work until everything in his office is coloured red".

It was always fun – I sang a duet with Marianne Faithfull, met David Bowie, got stuck in a lift with Dawn French, and had a ride to Notting Hill with Sir Bruce Forsyth. In the end, though, I didn't fit in and, after a crazy two years, I got one of those two-tone boxes you only ever see when you're clearing your desk. I packed up my stuff and wandered down to the stage door where I crammed everything into the boot of my car and drove away.

Now, back on the last day of the building's working life, it was like the Mary Celeste. Everything was gone. Souvenir-hunters had nicked everything that could be moved, including all the signs, so someone had been forced to scrawl the name of the studio on the corridor walls. Bye bye, TVC. You were an institution.

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Cancer Research UK: Corporate Partnerships Volunteer Events Coordinator – London

Voluntary: Cancer Research UK: We’re looking for someone to support our award ...

Day In a Page

Read Next

Errors & Omissions: Outgunned by a lack of military knowledge

Guy Keleny
Ukip leader Nigel Farage in Tiny Tim’s tea shop while canvassing in Rochester this week  

General Election 2015: What on earth happened to Ukip?

Matthew Norman
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions