Lesbian Avengers studio could close

Tony Grew January 11, 2007
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BBC Television Centre, the iconic West London building that for 50 years has been the embodiment of the Corporation in the eyes of viewers, may close as part of a cost-cutting exercise.

The BBC’s desire to move production of children’s programming, sport and other departments to Manchester could sound the death knell for the Wood Green studios.

Corporation bosses are considering closing Television Centre and selling the 13-acre site when refurbishment of Broadcasting House in central London is completed in 2008.

The importance of the building to students of gay history should be apparent.

It is here that Andi Peters first sprang to the attention of a complacent nation, initially in the broom closet and then as presenter of Live and Kicking.

Television Centre is also home to the TV news studios. In 1988 a group calling themselves the Lesbian Avengers invaded the 6 O’Clock News studios as they went on-air.

In protest against Section 28, the protestors chained themselves to cameras as Sue Lawley calmly informed the viewers that, “we have rather been invaded by some people.”

Nicholas Witchell sat on one of the lesbians, and school playgrounds were abuzz with discussion of lesbian avengers for weeks afterward.

Click this link to watch the Lesbian Avengers invade the news:

It was from these studios in W12 that Boy George, Erasure, Frankie Goes to Hollywood and countless other gay performers transmitted their hypnotic music and outrageous attitudes to teenagers across the land.

The home of Top of the Pops may not outlive the programme long.

To pick one of hundreds of great shows produced at Wood Lane, camp classic Absolutely Fabulous was filmed in the vast studio TC1.

Viewers of a certain age will also be dismayed at the prospect that the hallowed ground of the Blue Peter garden might be under threat from developers.

Many were upset when vandals destroyed the garden, the work of Percy Thrower and generations of smiling, heterosexual BP presenters. Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s mum helped clear up the mess.

The building itself is finding it ever more difficult to compete in this digital age. Its 1960s design may at one time have been cutting edge, but with budgets at the BBC tight, it makes more sense to knock it down than try to fix it.

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