TV Cream

Cream over Britain

Babcock Power Construction Division

It’s apocryphal nowadays to assume the whole country was watching TV 25 years ago this very day, entranced as the titanic yellow pincers of Babcock Power Construction almost succeeded in failing to retrieve the Mary Rose from the bottom of the Solent.

Surely, though, the nation can’t have remained transfixed from breakfast all the way through to mid-afternoon, which, according to retrospective accounts, was as long as it actually took? Having the TV trolley permanently set up in your primary school library was one thing. Skiving off work to spend several hours in the company of Margaret Rule was quite another.

Memory suggests the whole thing was done and dusted before morning break. Reality seems to imply something quite different. And worse: according to the Today programme, they don’t even have to keep spraying the wreckage with that special sealant anymore. Another myth busted.

Can it really be that all of the retrospective nostalgic clutter which got washed up along with all those shards of Tudor nauticalism a quarter of a century ago is now, in fact, redundant? In the words of Prince Charles, “I was slightly horrified but I thought the best thing to do was to be British and not panic.”



  1. FeedbackReport

    October 12, 2007 at 8:41 am

    Never mind that oft-repeated quote from HRH Sir Prince Charles – I have a fond memory of the new coverage featuring the Heir Apparent posing with a skull he’d found on board, and muttering “gave me quite a start, this chap!”-type witticisms.

  2. Steve Williams

    October 12, 2007 at 6:58 pm

    Of course this should have happened on the Sunday, but we delayed 24 hours by, it says here, “technical problems”.

    Here’s the schedule for the day itself – – but sadly the actual programme – – does not actually have any details of when it was transmitted. Looking at the day itself, it looks like it stopped for Play School at 11am, and then was finished by 3pm for The Computer Programme to come on. Clearly it was over in time for a live link on, of course, Blue Peter.

    The RT for the scheduled raising the previous day had it turning up in dribs and drabs during the day. So maybe there was the chance to turn over for this fantastic-sounding episode of Pebble Mill at One –

  3. Milky Bar Nick

    October 14, 2007 at 7:04 pm

    “Babcock Power Construction”

    Not relations of Peggy, were they?

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