The BBC Television Centre in west London was designed by architect Graham Dawbarn, built by Higgs & Hill, and officially opened on 29 June 1960. A gilded bronze figure of Ariel or Helios, the all-seeing Sun God of Greek mythology, sculpted by T B Huxley-Jones, adorns the central courtyard.
On 17 June 2009 the Department for Culture, Media and Sport decided to list at Grade II the Central Ring ("doughnut") of the building and Studio 1 (TC1), noting in particular the John Piper mosaic, central drum with its mosaic tiles, the Huxley-Jones gilded statue of Helios, full-height glazing of the stair and original clock in the Central Ring. The 'atomic dots' and name of Studio 1, along with the cantilevered porch on its exterior were noted as important architectural features of that building. The Department did not consider the other buildings, including all other studios, scenery block and canteen of sufficient special interest to warrant listing them, and specifically excluded them.
The BBC Television Centre is where most of BBC Television's famous programmes were made -- including 'The Black and White Minstrel Show', 'Dixon of Dock Green', 'Z Cars', 'Doctor Who', 'Fawlty Towers', 'Strictly Come Dancing', 'The Forsyte Saga', 'Monty Python’s Flying Circus', 'Blue Peter', 'Absolutely Fabulous' and thousands more iconic programmes over a fifty year period. The Labour Government's architecture minister Barbara Follett noted that "It has been a torture chamber for politicians, and an endless source of first-class entertainment for the nation -- sometimes both at the same time."
The BBC is scheduled to quit the Television Centre in 2013.