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Greenlit: The Brits Who Built the Modern World, BBC4

The Brits Who Built The Modern World (3 x 60′) – The definitive story of five of the most successful and globally recognised British architects of all time: Richard Rogers, Norman Foster, Nicholas Grimshaw, Michael Hopkins and Terry Farrell.

The series will gives insights into how their youthful dreams of building a better world turned architecture into one of Britain’s strongest cultural exports, and will feature exclusive interviews with the five men and their collaborators.

  • Sir Terry Farrell: “I had no idea I was building MI6. I was told it was a government headquarters; I guessed – wrongly- it was for the Department of the Environment. I put trees on the top specifically because I thought it was for the Department of the Environment.”
  • Sir Michael Hopkins: “At school I did absolutely no work at all. I bunked off on my bike when other boys were playing games. That’s when I started becoming aware of buildings and enjoying them.”
  • Lord Foster of Thames Bank: “No new projects were coming in, and we were pretty desperate. We invested heavily in the competition for the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank. If we hadn’t won it, I don’t know – maybe we’d have survived, maybe not.”
  • Sir Nicholas Grimshaw: “I was responding to the times I lived in. Flower power and ‘make love not war’ and a general feeling of freedom in society – is there a kind of architecture that reflects that?”
  • Lord Rogers of Riverside: “I remember sitting under a tree on Hampstead Heath, crying, and thinking ‘I’ll never be an architect’.”

This series reveals the dramatic stories behind some of their most iconic creations, in Britain and across the world. Among them: the Pompidou Centre, Lloyd’s of London, ‘the Gherkin’, Beijing Airport, MI6’s headquarters and the London Olympic Velodrome – all of which, along with many others, have been freshly filmed for this series.

The series is produced in partnership with the Open University and also produced in partnership with a Royal Institute of British Architects exhibition.

Channel: BBC4 / Open University

Producer: Oxford Film and Television / produced in partnership with a Royal Institute of British Architects exhibition

TX: TBC

Source: BBC press release

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