There are as many opinions about the BBC as there are people who watch and listen to it, which is how it should be.
One of the organisation’s most potent strengths is its provocation. Everyone is forever piling in with a view over what the Beeb is doing right and what it is doing wrong, and there can be no finer proof of the corporation’s relevance.
Because everybody owns the Beeb, there’s always somebody feeling threatened or irked when their point of view is currently out of favour. And for every person who cares about what the BBC once was, there is another who cares about what it could still become.
The wisdom or otherwise of the BBC’s decision to sell Television Centre has set friend against foe or, in TV Cream’s case, friend against friend (yikes!).
However there’s one thing we can all agree upon: Television Centre was once the greatest building in the world. Whether it still deserves that title is almost beside the point. The place long ago became more than just loading bays and lighting rigs. It ceased being merely a building, great or otherwise, almost as soon as it opened for business.
Instead [adopts Adam Curtis-esque arch tone] it became a symbol – a symbol of golden ages or grotesque wages, of wiped tapes or black-and-white japes, of live-to-air spectacle or louche pairs of spectacles.
Television Centre hasn’t meant anything new for ages. It has only ever symbolised things that were old – some good, some bad.
It ought to go on being a symbol, not least as both a lesson and a warning from history.
Something should be done to ensure the site remains within the UK’s central nervous system, even if it is just as a museum – a symbol of how things used to be, and therefore how they can be again.
Here endeth the lesson. Take a bow, Television Centre!