Archive for the ‘the tower’ Category

BBC sent to the Tower

July 13, 2007

Well at least its nice to know the Queen suffers at the lenses of the BBC like the rest of us.

BBC One chief: I won’t resign over Queen gaffe

Its impossible to believe that RDF editors didn’t know what they were doing or that the BBC didn’t check that this is what really happened (it got edited into a showreel so loads of people must have OK’d it before it was shown to journalists).

So what has this to do with the Tower? Well where to begin? Firstly when I met Angie Bass, an assistant producer on ‘The Tower’ a few years ago she tried to tell me that the program they were filming was educational. ‘So’ I replied ‘thats means it’ll be on BBC2 at 3am then?’. Blank look. I suggested that she was going to turn our estate into a piece of entertainment and exploit individuals who knew no better. Luckily so far all the people who appeared in it are keen to be on TV and good luck to them. Most of us aren’t. I wouldn’t let them into community meetings that I had any say over and walked away when I saw them filming.

So whats reality then when the cameras are around? Very little. Take the sad scene where Les (last resident in Aragon tower) leaves with all his belongings in the lift, finally stepping in with his case of clown tricks which he positions facing us so we can see the words ‘Pocket the Clown’, the scene dripping with Pathos closes with the lift doors. Perfect. Truth is the only thing in the lift that was Les’s was his suitcase. The whole thing is directed. But hey Les is an entertainer and enjoyed every minute.

Kelly and Wayne wouldn’t normally have dinner over at Canary Wharf carefully positioned next to the water so you can see Aragon in the distance. The reason that they stay after Wayne baulks at the Oyster price is that the Beeb paid for eveything and directed the scene. The word on the estate is they paid for everything including the wedding dress and a flight for her mum. Kelly is a natural though looks good and makes a great performer.

Harry the ganster? Harry the fantasist would be more correct. If Harry actually came up against the ‘Daubney Boys’ he’d end up in the river for a nine day diving trip. All scenes staged.

The publican of the John Evelyn pub? Despite being the most crap pub in the whole of Deptford it is actually twice as far from the estate as the ‘Black Horse’ – a nice, busy little pub with kareoke on Saturdays and Sky on the big screen (Millwall Pub). Or even the ‘Queen Victoria’ which is actually on the estate itself which was trading while the filming was going on (its now the Hoang Bar and is a strangely empty ‘Vietnamese Restaurant’). Fact is we don’t hear about what sort of lease he holds or how big the house in Kent is. Despite his shocking trading prognosis, guess what? A couple of years later he is still in business and his pub looks emptier than ever…go figure that one.

Leol walking up the moody alleyway (actually the upper watergate) a long way from the estate and sitting pondering his lost love? Well let’s say I thought his acting was actually very good and there may be a new career in the offing. (Mike Leigh were you watching?). Seriously though, I know Leol and would class him as ‘vulnerable’ because of his addictions and I don’t know if this is really going to help him very much. Of course the counter argument is that he has already messed up his life and so what can get worse? I haven’t had a chance to talk to him since the show began but I will endeavour to do so to see what effect its having on him.

As far I can see the only good thing that is coming out of this for the genral population of Lewishams largest estate is that the council look like they don’t really care about the estate and this much is true!!! There is a consultation on the 19th July about the Oxestalls Rd development (the site of the scrapyard) and it will be interesting to see who turns up from the council and what they have to say. Maybe we might still get something out of this yet. At least being on the tele has got to be worth more than anything the Honour Oak Park R.A.G. can manage – despite their landed WASPiness and free time for campaigning.

Even though I am a republican, on this occasion I will side her madge, who has also suffered misrepresentation like us and say that BBC producers should be ‘Sent to the Tower’ or perhaps even ‘Orf with their head of departments’!



The Tower starts Monday 25th at 10:35pm on BBC1

June 24, 2007

The first of an eight part documentary will be shown tomorrow night Monday 25th that follows the lives of some residents of the Pepys Estate. It will be interesting to see the final product from the BBC having seen them operate on the estate over the last few years. It seems from the title that they have found their ‘story’ as it was unclear to many of the people in the film exactly what it was about whilst it was being made. The producers that I talked to a couple of year ago claimed it would be an ‘educational’ film and couldn’t give any information about what the target audience would be or what channel or time slot they were aiming at. I guess this they said this so as not to try and scare residents away from them. Having talked to one of the participants Cherry yesterday I know that none of the participants have seen the episodes and signed forms waiving all rights before filming began. She was told by phone that she would be in episode 6 and that it would be ‘upsetting’ but she is looking forward to it very much. There are some links to reviews of the first episode distributed to journalists below;

One thing is certain, that the profile of the Pepys Estate for better or worse is going to shoot up in the next few weeks. Maybe we might even see some of the 11 million pounds that Lewisham Council sold the tower for come back onto the estate.

If anyone sees reviews or discussion of the program please add any links as posts in this section.