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Dreaming the Impossible: Unbuilt Britain

Dreaming the Impossible: Unbuilt Britain

Mon Aug 12, 9-10pm, BBC4

By Yolanda Zappaterra
Episode one
Imagine a route through London that would take you across the city, sheltered under miles of handblown glass, in 15 minutes. Or a city in which cars drove along rooftops and onto ramps that would take them to underground carparks.

Thanks to architectural historian and investigator Dr Olivia Horsfall Turner, you don’t have to, for her new six-part series engagingly explores the thinking behind such ambitious, abandoned architectural schemes, including where their creators drew their inspirations, plus the technology, industrial processes and developments in material, cultural context, political geography and paths that led to their creation.

Tonight’s openers – Joseph Paxton’s giant, elongated version of his earlier Crystal Palace, projected as an 11-mile transport and communication system known as the Great Victorian Way and, more than 100 years later, modernist architect Geoffrey Jellicoe’s Motopia concept – are just two of the millions of such unrealised projects which have impacted on our modern cities; Horsfall Turner’s clear enthusiasm for such work suggests the remaining five films will be equally enthralling.

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