They’ve done Big Brother – but what other TV sets should the National Trust preserve?

As the National Trust opens the Big Brother house to the public, we discuss other TV locations worthy of the Trust's attention

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The Big Brother House today became a Great British institution as the National Trust opened the fabled Elstree location to the public.

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Describing the set as a “special place” the Trust’s director Ivo Dawney said of the momentous decision. “It says something about the epoch we’re living through.”

With this in mind, we consider some more iconic TV locations the Trust could add to its roster. 

The TARDIS:

Or not, actually – it’s unlikely the National Trust could lock it down for long enough to allow tourists to flood through its doors, poke around the console room, and be chastened by a Trust volunteer for touching a priceless Gallifreyan artwork. But we’d love to dream.

The Blue Peter set:

The show you recently voted to include in your ultimate night of TV has educated more children than a reluctant traipse with Gran round a stately home in the half term holidays ever could. Sorry, Gran. The vintage episodes were filmed at BBC Television Centre and Sunderland University were smart enough to snap it up to use for their media students. The current filming location – Salford – does not quite have the same history alas.

221b Baker Street:

Or rather, 187 North Gower Street, the London exterior filming location, and a studio set in Cardiff. Specifics aside, the National Trust is all about the history, and this little flat has hosted a sword fight, a visit from the world’s first consulting criminal and a human head loitering in the fridge. If more country houses had those kind of stories to offer, those half term educationally-minded trudges might have been a little more exciting. 

The Coronation Street Cobbles:

Yes, the National Trust might already own Chartwell, the family home of Winston Churchill, and Woolsthorpe Manor, the grounds which might have sprouted Newton’s famous apple. But the cobbled streets of Corrie have seen murder, arson, romance, a viaduct collapse, kidnapping, another viaduct collapse, yet more murder…What’s one prime minister and one tiny scientific theory alongside all of that? 

Downton Abbey:

No, not Highclere Castle, which isn’t a National Trust property but might as well be. We think the historical appeal lies in the kitchen. Around that crowded table tensions have brewed, secrets have spilled, and culinary history was made as Mrs Patmore grappled with an electric whisk. These are surely the stories worthy of the kind of sanctified preservation normally afforded to Mrs Patmore’s finest Gooseberry jams. 

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That Bar in Only Fools and Horses:

The bar through which Del Boy took his legendary tumble has accrued two layers of historical significance: the older generations will never forget the moment they witnessed comedy history, and the younger generations will never forget the amount of times their parents refused to stop talking about it/embarrassingly attempted to recreate it after a pub lunch.