Big Ben: Saving The World's Most Famous Clock

Overview

The greatest clock tower in the world is undergoing the most extraordinary and extensive renovation in its history.

Presiding over the House of Commons, Big Ben is not only the most iconic landmark on London’s skyline but it is also a timeless piece of architecture that symbolises England's democratic heritage. It is one of the top five selfie locations in the world with very few people apart from VIPs like Michelle Obama, Prince William and Bill Gates getting the chance to see the inside of the world's most famous clock tower. 

This unique access documentary tells the extraordinary story of the restoration work currently taking place on the iconic clock tower, which has resulted in the bells being silenced for the next four years. This restoration project is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to explore the social and cultural history that the world’s most famous clock tower represents whilst charting the extraordinary craftsmanship of the people charged with the painstaking job of bringing this grand monument back to life for today and for future generations.

Anna Keay, Director of Landmark Trust, goes behind the scenes on this massive project and talks to Parliament's principal architect and the three clock-makers who have the challenging task of taking the gigantic mechanism apart for the first time in nearly 160 years. The programme also examines the history of the clock tower and reveals how it was almost never built in the first place.

Using innovative filming techniques and the finest story-telling skills, the film delves into the rich history of Elizabeth Tower and reveals how a dedicated team of architects, engineers, clock makers, stonemasons, scaffolders…to name but a few of the experts, will bring an iconic Victorian structure expertly and imaginatively into the 21st century.


Duration

  • 1 x 90'

Genre

  • Documentary
  • History
  • Science & Nature

Producer

  • ITN

Commissioning Broadcaster

  • Channel 4

Year of production

  • 2017