This “Bird’s Eye View of Magpie” appeared in the TV Times for the week commencing 3 January 1973. The aerial photograph shows the areas the Teddington Studios used to produce the popular children’s TV show.
“We thought you might like to take a look at where Magpie (the programme – not the bird) lives, out at Teddington on the river. You can see all the familiar places here on the aerial photograph.
Thames Magpie is moored very handily for the studio, and the big tree on the corner of the car park often has camera cables draped all over it if we’re doing an item on the lock island, like the pearl fishing and the gold digging – remember?
Then there’s the invaluable football field just across the road. We’re allowed to borrow that sometimes, so Pete can be in the studio with a hovercraft at the beginning of the programme and take it out into the field for a grand demonstration run at the end.
That’s also where Pete landed the helicopter in July – which is just about the most amazing thing we’ve done to Teddington so far . . .
Of course, the items that we film outside the studio in this season are recorded earlier on the same day – there just isn’t any light left outside by 5.20 to do them “live”. But during the summer months, all the outside items are live as well (unless there’s some special reason – like the tide being wrong at 5.20).
As you can see from the photograph, Studio 3 isn’t very big – so it’s very useful to have the car park, the river, the island and the football field!
Puff lives in stables quite close by with the other Magpie pony, Bluebird. Remember him? He was given to us by a viewer who had grown too big to be able to ride him, and now he gives rides to disabled children.
Puff is feeling very proud of himself this year – he’s done all sorts of astonishing things, like pulling a 100-year-old Victorian pony chaise, and taking the Metropolitan Police Horse test.
He passed that with flying colours, but then a pony who can be at home in the Magpie studio, full of cameras and lights and cables and unexpected bangs, can be at home anywhere. About the only thing he can’t do is talk . . . yet”.
- Teddington Lock, the last (or first, depending on which way you’re going!) tidal lock on the Thames.
- Teddington Lock Island. This picture was taken at low tide, so you can see quite a lot of the beach.
- The footbridge – which is useful for putting camera cables across, but when we want to take the Thames Magpie out at high tide, we always have to lower the mast to get under it!
- Teddington Weir can be dangerous – keep away! It makes a lot of noise, and we sometimes have problems making ourselves heard for outdoor items.
- Thames Magpie
- Large tree, useful for carrying cables!
- Slipway, where everyone gets into the rowing boat or outboard dinghy to go across to the lock island (it’s quicker than the footbridge!)
- The section of the car park that we sometimes make use of in the programme.
- Studio 3, Teddington – the Magpie studio.
- Ornamental garden, where Puff was allowed to pull his Victorian pony chaise.
- That (often very useful) football field.
Footnote: Sadly, the Teddington studios were demolished in February 2016 and replaced by modern apartment blocks and other smaller houses (pictured below).