A Matter for the Public Record
Whilst other people ponder the intelligent questions about Margaret, BBC TWO/HD’s drama about Thatcher’s fall from power, I’m here to debate the frivolities. Such as: is the House of Commons set used in the programme the longest-serving set in UK television history?
The famous set was first created for First Among Equals, Granada’s 1986 adaptation of Jeffrey Archer’s novel. It was then used in everything from The New Statesman to State of Play, and also formed part of the Granada Studios Tour; I saw it myself back in the late 90s. (Paul Abbott reveals on the commentary for State of Play that he bought the set himself for use in the show, as it was about to be destroyed and he didn’t think the BBC would move fast enough to save it.) And here it is, popping up again in Margaret - 23 years after it was first constructed. The fact that it stands up today in glorious HD proves how brilliantly it was made in the first place, although no doubt it’s had the odd bit of restoration across the years.
So the question is: is this the longest serving set in British TV history? Of course, there’s the soaps - but the Rover’s Return used now almost certainly isn’t the same set used back in 1986, is it?