The Twentieth Century Society

Campaigning for outstanding buildings


Post War Christmas Telly….

So I was trying to switch off and relax—got myself up a Yorkshire Dale so steep that no mobile signal can reach me, been practically flooded out, had traumatic encounter with a sheep (it took one look at my daughter Tilda and plunged into a stream and drowned spectacularly—very disconcerting all round!), I found a pair of abandoned kidneys (what? whose?) on the hillside behind the house….then settled down to watch some escapist telly and what happens? Selected programme is packed full of C20 architecture…

This was the my-mother-turns-out-to-be-a-spy drama Restless.  Really good–but I kept getting distracted by the locations.  The daughter was living in Powell and Moya’s Cripps Building at St John’s College, Cambridge (it has accommodation for over 200 undergraduates, plus eight larger sets for Fellows–I guess she had one of those, but I’ve never been in one, so not sure if the interior scenes were filmed on site or somewhere else). The stairs had a particularly crucial role….

Then when the mother is lurking in her car with a sawn-off shot gun outside the house of the traitorous ex-lover, behind her was the brick lecture theatre of Denys Lasdun’s Royal College of Physicians.

There were also some good bits of Deco/Moderne—not sure exactly where they were (wondered if it was Giles Gilbert Scott’s University Library… does anyone know?–all the scenes that were supposed to be London seemed to have been filmed in Cambridge).

I guess it’s good to see C20 architecture staring in prime time Christmas viewing …and for once not as a seedy backdrop to drug-related crime!



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