TV: It’s time to go Nationwide

Esther on the box

Esther Rantzen (marvel at her as she was in the 1960s above) was one of a handful of TV yesteryear celebrities who shared their recollections of working on tabloid-style magazine TV programme Nationwide in the shamelessly self-indulgent documentary “It’s time to go .. Nationwide” recently. 

I remember Nationwide although didn’t realise how long it had gone on before I started consuming it. Being a relatively spring chicken, I hadn’t appreciated it actually started out in black and white or that it was produced at the Lime Grove studios in London once owned by the BBC. 

There’s plenty of footage of life at Lime Grove in the programme. Cramped surroundings, ridiculous look corridors designed to confuse visitors and occupants alike, an appalling canteen (according to former Nationwide presenter John Stapleton at any rate) and … horror of horrors, people smoking in the production office. 

It’s a completely different world, one laden with glamour guaranteed to seduce broadcasting history junkie who finds names like Lime Grove, Alexander Palace and Bush House evocative. It’s exterior was hideous and even I can see that working conditions were pretty awful – no surprise it was knocked down – and yet it’s exactly this kind of BBC history which gets me ridiculously excited. 

Watch it via the BBC iPlayer whilst it’s still available or check in at BBC Programmes to see when it’s next on.

There’s always the  blurry footage of Lime Grove below before it was demolished to salivate over in case those other two options fail to register a modicum of interest. </p>


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