Big Ben is a global icon and one of the most photographed buildings in the world. Its four great clock faces have watched over six monarchs, welcomed in 29 prime ministers and survived two World Wars. Through it all, the bells kept ringing, celebrating nearly 160 New Years. But what the public don’t see is that the Great Clock is in a chronic state of disrepair and in danger of grinding to a halt.
Now, Big Ben is to be controversially silenced for four years, while tens of millions of pounds is spent on restoration. As the conservation work swings into action, architectural historian Anna Keay has exclusive behind-the-scenes access, getting the lowdown from Parliament’s principal architect and following the three clockmakers who have the momentous task of taking apart the giant mechanism for the first time in its history. Anna uncovers how Big Ben was almost never built and asks why now, more than ever, it is so important to our national pride.
Prod/Dir: Jenny Dames
Exec Prods: Bernie Kay, Will Smith
Prod Co: ITN
Big Ben: Saving The World’s Most Famous Clock airs Sunday 12 November 2017 on Channel 4 from 9.00pm-10.00pm