The Studio

Back to: Home page | Making Of T-Bag Index

A Desert in the Studio!

I'm sorry but I'm about to tell you something that will shatter your memories and faith but...

the mystical lands in the episodes of T-Bag were all sets! I know you wouldn't have known from the realistic life-like scenery but there you go.

All of the T-Bag series and specials were filmed at the Teddington Studios now owned by the Pinewood Group (the studios were previously called the Thames studios, by the river Thames) with most of the series being filmed in the smallest studio at 43ft by 32ft, the illustrious studio 3. For more info about Studio 3 itself click here.

Filming for a series took on average 12 different days, one for each episode and two to finish of filming.

The images below show a floorplan and a 3D plan of Studio 3.

A 2D Plan A 3D Plan

Later in the series the episodes were filmed in Studio 2 and for some episodes T-Bag was filmed in the largest studio - Studio 1.

Studio 2 measures 82.88ft by 68.84ft (25m by 21m) giving the total area of 5,705.5 square feet (or 530.1 square metres) making it over twice as large as studio 3. For more info about Studio 2 itself click here.

During September 2008 there was a tour of the studio as part of the Hyperspace convention (for The Tommorow People programme which Lee Pressman and Grant Cathro wrote the revived series). I have exclusive photographs of the various areas of the studio and inside both studio 1 and studio 2 which can be seen below:

Teddington Studio Photographs

Teddington Exterior
Teddington Exterior
Teddington Front Entrance
Teddington Front Entrance
Inside Front Entrance
Inside Front Entrance
The Entrance
The Entrance
The Staircase
The Staircase
Studio 1
Studio 1
Studio 1
Studio 1
Studio 1
Studio 1
Studio 1 Gallery
Studio 1 Gallery
Studio 2 Door
Studio 2 Door
Studio 2 Open Door
Studio 2 Open Door
Studio 2 On Air Sign
Studio 2 On Air Sign
Studio 2 From the Entrance Gallery
Studio 2 From the Entrance Gallery
Inside Studio 2
Inside Studio 2
Studio 2
Studio 2
Teddington
Teddington
Side of Studio 2
Side of Studio 2
Lights, Camera, Action
Studio 2 Camera
Studio 2 Lights
Studio 2 Lights
Studio 2 Lights
Studio 2 Lights
Studio 2 Gallery Steps
Studio 2 Gallery Steps
Studio 2 Sound Editing Suite
Studio 2 Sound Editing Suite
Studio 2 Sound Editing Suite
Studio 2 Sound Editing Suite
Studio 2 Editing Suite
Studio 2 Editing Suite
Studio 2 Video Booth
Studio 2 Video Booth
Studio 2 Outside Bays
Studio 2 Outside Bays

Below is an account of the tour of the studio written by Paul, many thanks to Paul for taking the time to write this and for all his photographs.

TEDDINGTON STUDIOS TOUR

On Sunday September 28th 2008 I had the pleasure of roaming round the vaulted halls and studios of the old Thames Television lot, set in the rather inauspicious and quiet Broom Road, in Teddington, south-west London. What was I doing here? Well it was all part of a weekend of events organised for fans of the seventies Thames sci-fi show, The Tomorrow People (organised by the lovely Jackie Clark Ė many thanks), to celebrate the programmeís thirty-fifth anniversary, attended by various members of its cast and crew.

Iím not one to name-drop so Iíll say this very quickly: the writers of T.Bag were also present (having written the lionís share of episodes from the 1990s revival of the series); Lee Pressman and Grant Cathro were a lovely, enthusiastic couple of gents and both were excited to be returning after many years, to the place where literally hundreds of their scripts had been turned into television shows.

The site has been in use as a studio (for either television or film) for the last hundred years and was home, perhaps most famously, to Thames Television (formerly ABC TV) from the late fifties to the early nineties. Many well-known Thames shows, such as The Avengers, Bless this House and Man about the House, were made here. Since Thames lost its franchise at the start of 1993, various companies have taken on Teddington as a studios-for-hire, its current owners being the Pinewood Group. Since Thames relinquished it, more studios have been built on the site, adding to the three which existed during the Thames era; there are now eight studios, most of which are channel-presentation suites (hosting the likes of C-Beebies). Sadly Studio 3, in which most episodes of T.Bag (as well as the likes of Rainbow) were made, is now home to a gaming channel! Studios 1 and 2 (where various later episodes were produced) are still in regular use by various productions (such as The Green, Green Grass and Have I Got News For You).

The front entrance of the studios is a rather modest affair, belying the sprawling complex which lies behind it; at the centre of its white-washed frontage (adorned with many blue plaques, paying tributes to the likes of Benny Hill and Tommy Cooper): the glass double-doors of the front entrance. This is where the tour startedÖ

From here a maze of corridors led to the studios themselves and the various departments within. Betraying the glamour of TV, the corridor walls were bare brick, painted a drab shiny white and lined with large photographic records of the many shows that had been filmed here (most of which were from the past). Various oddities included a grand piano plonked beneath a staircase, next to a large black and white print of the test-card girl.

Our first major stop on the tour was to Studio 1, closest to the entrance, which was (in the absence of better words) vast; like a big empty warehouse painted a drab shade of dark green, and littered with various step-ladders and planks of wood. Above us and all around, a huge bank of lights hanged and the large control gallery sat way above the studio, just above the entrance. The Tomorrow People was little filmed here (as was, as far as I know, only one episode of T.Bag), so we werenít long in setting off back down the labyrinthine corridors and on to Studio 2.

As we approached and the white brick was replaced by large scuffed metal walls, I was struck by a feeling of familiarity. The various nooks and crannies outside the studio (with its yards of steel ducting), and the studio entrance itself were used as the backdrop of Bin Bagís spaceship in Episode 8 of Take Off with T.Bag and are still noticeable to this day. The bare walls of Studio 2 are also featured in a couple of the back-stage episodes of the show and once inside, it wasnít hard to imagine which parts of the studio (once painted white, of course) had been used.

Back in the day, Studio 2 played host to most of the episodes from the last three series of T.Bag. Itís a much more modest affair than Studio 1; still quite a large space, but at least half the size of its counterpart. Again the walls were painted dark green, with step-ladders and planks of wood against them, and vast banks of lights hanging above us. There was also what looked like the scaffold for audience stalls pushed to one side. However, rather than being blank this time, a plain white backdrop and floor had been set up, with various monitors playing excerpts from The Tomorrow People, and several large Thames analogue cameras on display (I wonder if any of these were the one you can spot in Episode 6 of Wonders in Letterland?!).

We were led from the studio up a metal staircase to the gallery where two suites (one video; one audio) are located. These were quite small booths with various large mixing desks (lined with buttons, switches and lights) sitting before a bank of monitors (which show views from various different cameras for a multi-camera show). Although the technology is now different and analogue media has been replaced with digital, these are still the suites where Glyn Edwards and Neville Green would have sat, directing episodes of T.Bag.

To be stood in the space where so many great shows had been filmed (especially T.Bag and The Tomorrow People) was an amazing experience and itís certainly a day Iíll never forget.