The Route Masters: Running London's Roads

Series 1 - 1. Gridlock

Radio Times
Review by:
Alison Graham

The last major London road was built in 1984; the average speed of London rush hour traffic is six miles per hour, exactly what it was in 1890. When anything goes wrong the capital’s dense road network can become gridlocked within minutes. This busy, absorbing series takes us behind the scenes to meet the men and women who have to react to every emergency, from a simple car breakdown to a helicopter crash, to keep London moving.

We spend time with the cheery crew who have to keep the Blackwall Tunnel in London, said to be the most important mile of roadway in the capital, free and unencumbered. Elsewhere, we go out with a duo who have to patch up potholes and eavesdrop as a lady pedestrian remonstrates: “You haven’t done a very good job! It’s like icing a cake!” And we are in the thick of the aftermath of January’s Vauxhall helicopter tragedy.

About this programme

1/6. Documentary telling the stories of the people who keep London's transport network operating - from night-bus drivers and road maintenance staff to the controllers overseeing it all. The first episode reveals a city constantly on the verge of gridlock - and it falls to Transport for London staff to try to keep the system working. Tow-truck driver Sean has to deal with a pregnant motorist who can't face driving through the Blackwall tunnel, while central control room operator Chris must cope with multiple accidents blocking the roads on a Friday night.

Cast and crew


Frankie Fathers
David Hodgkinson
Frankie Fathers