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The Greatest Show in the Car Park

The cast and crew of The Greatest Show in the Galaxy (1988-89) in the big top set, which was erected in the car park of the BBC Elstree Centre in Borehamwood.

In the last week of May 1988, an alarming discovery was made during repair work in TC5 at BBC Television Centre – asbestos was embedded in the studios soundproof ceiling tiles and coated the trusses supporting the studio grids. The fibrous silicate mineral had lain there undisturbed for nearly 30 years, having been considered ideal for insulation, fireproofing and sound absorption in the 1950s when the complex was constructed. But by 1988, asbestos was a recognised health hazard, with prolonged inhalation of the fibres potentially resulting in fatal illness.

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Doctor Who Magazine
DWM Special 49 - In the Studio

Other Articles in this Issue

Doctor Who Magazine
Ill never forget the first time I visited Television
The production of Doctor Whos earliest episodes was threatened by a protracted debate over where the series should be recorded. In 1964, Sydney Newman took drastic measures to save the show hed helped to create…
Doctor Whos original production team had to launch the new series in a dated and inadequate facility that wasnt even designed for television production…
A draftsman from the Doctor Who art department reveals how some of the Riverside Studios sets for The Tenth Planet were recreated at Cardiffs Roath Lock…
The BBC invested heavily in electronic studios during the 1950s and 60s, but shooting on film was often a necessity for programmes like Doctor Who.
Could a 21st-century episode of Doctor Who be made under the restrictions of 1960s technology? One man made it his mission to find out…
From 1963 to 1989, Doctor Whos actors and directors had the luxury of dedicated rehearsal time prior to studio recording. The venues for these rehearsals were often far from luxurious, however…
The cast and crew of Doctor Who were delighted when the series graduated from Lime Grove to a more sophisticated studio in Hammersmith.
Doctor Whos studio scheduling has evolved from the continuous recording of as live performances to more flexible – and less nerve-racking – techniques.
Affectionately described by Terry Wogan as the “Concrete Doughnut”, Television Centre is now a Grade II-listed building. For more than two decades it was home to Doctor Who…
In the early days of Doctor Who ingenious BBC design teams squeezed alien worlds, Space Age rockets and historical settings into tiny spaces at Lime Grove and Riverside. For the more ambitious special effects sequences, however, the series had to spread its wings…
Senior camera operator Alec Wheal made a huge contribution to Doctor Who, earning the respect and admiration of the cast and his fellow crew members.
In 2004, the resurrected Doctor Who was part of a very different production landscape. Reflecting these changing times, the series was now allocated its own permanent studio space…
As part of Doctor Whos brand team from 2006 to 2017, Edward Russell has inside knowledge of all the major studios the series occupied during these years.
In 2006 Doctor Who continued production in an impressive new facility – one was that large enough to house the series spin-offs, too…
James DeHaviland was a second assistant director on Doctor Who before he became its production manager. For the last nine years hes been part of the team that helps to keep the series on schedule.
The series latest studio has played host to numerous Doctors and is currently home to production on the 2018 episodes…
Although best known to Doctor Who fans for his satirical cartoons, Dicky Howett has another intriguing connection to the series…
Dont miss any of the Doctor Who Magazine Special Editions