Big Ben's £29 million restoration to be shown in Channel 4 films


The restoration of world-famous landmark Big Ben is being captured in a Channel 4 documentary.

The documentary-makers are to receive "unprecedented access" to the £29 million project to repair the Elizabeth Tower, the Great Clock and the Great Bell, which is also known as Big Ben.

Three prime-time, hour-long films, with the working title Big Ben, will cover the most extensive refurbishment in the structure's 157-year history.

A general view of Elizabeth Tower, which houses Big Ben (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
A general view of Elizabeth Tower, which houses Big Ben (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

The films, to be made by ITN Productions, will be broadcast at "landmark stages" during the three-year period of restoration on the monument, carried out by a team of architects, builders and craftsmen from across the UK.

The first programme, to be broadcast next year, will feature the history of Big Ben, the people who work there and the state of the landmark, as well as those tasked with repairing it.

Sir Paul Beresford, chairman of the House of Commons administration committee, said: "We are looking forward to working with ITN Productions to document the restoration of the Elizabeth Tower, the most iconic building in the UK and an international symbol of democracy.

"While the works will necessitate a temporary closure of the tower to visitors, we hope ITN's documentary will encourage more people than ever before to take an intimate look at the most beloved clock in the world."

Restoration will take three years (Matt Dunham/AP)
Restoration will take three years (Matt Dunham/AP)

Will Smith, ITN Productions' head of factual, said: "We're delighted to be working with the House of Commons to record the epic transformation of one of the most iconic landmarks in the world.

"We'll give Channel 4 viewers a front-row seat as the scaffolding goes up on Big Ben and work begins to painstakingly restore and conserve the 157-year-old bell tower."

Lizi Wootton, Channel 4 features commissioning editor, said: "As the great clock reveals its secrets, the skill and craftsmanship of today and yesterday is going to be astonishing to watch."