The Tube (2012 TV series)

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This article is about the 2012 BBC television series. For the 2003 ITV series, see The Tube (2003 TV series).
The Tube
BBC The Tube 2012 Titlecard.png
Format Documentary
Created by Rowan Deacon
Narrated by Julian Barratt
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 1
No. of episodes 6
Running time 60 minutes
Production company(s) Blast! Films
Original channel BBC Two
Picture format 1080i (HDTV)
Original run 20 February 2012 – present

The Tube is a 2012 documentary television series produced by Blast! Films for the BBC. It follows the staff and passengers of the London Underground as it underwent the biggest upgrade in its history.[1] It premiered on BBC Two on 20 February 2012 for a six-week run. According to Blast! Films' twitter, there is no plan for a second series.[2]


Series 1[edit]

Episode Title Original air-date UK viewers (million)[3]
1 Weekend 20 February 2012[4] 2.061
2 Revenue 27 February 2012 2.188
3 Emergency Response 5 March 2012 2.030
4 Upgrading the Tube 12 March 2012 2.237
5 Rush Hour 19 March 2012 2.173
6 Overnight 26 March 2012 2.249

Episode 1 (Weekend) highlighted the difficulties of undertaking major renewal of the tracks without disrupting the weekday service, and the handling of an incident at Leicester Square tube station where a woman was pushed onto the electrified tracks.[5]

Episode 2 (Revenue) looked at the work of ticket inspectors and others working to track down the estimated 60,000 people who use the system each day without paying for a ticket, which costs the Underground some £20 million in lost revenue each year.[6]

Episode 3 (Emergency Response) looked at the trauma caused to drivers when passengers fall or jump in front of a train. It also looked at the work of the emergency response unit at Bank and Euston Station where in both cases, the passengers were fatally injured and the types of incident that they have to deal with, and the stresses put on the system by the Notting Hill Carnival.[7]

Episode 4 (Upgrading the Tube) looked at reliability issues following the introduction of new trains on the Victoria line and the knock-on effects caused by the failure of a newly installed signal. It also looked at the work of a station supervisor at Tottenham Court Road as he tried to ensure that customers kept moving during an upgrade to the station which will increase its size by a factor of six.[8]

Episode 5 (Rush Hour) covered Bank station, where five passengers suffered from fainting or injury during a single rush hour shift, and problems on the Jubilee line when a failure of the power supply almost disrupted the evening peak services. It also showed the use of a hawk called Toyah to clear train sheds of pigeons.[9]

Episode 6 (Overnight), the final episode, aired on 26 March 2012,[4] featured the work of cleaners, who work during the four-hour period each night when the power is switched of, to clean the stations and remove lint and fibres from the tracks to reduce the risk of fire. Other stories included the work of a pest controller at Hounslow Central, and a visit to the disused Down Street tube station by a member of the emergency response team.[10]


Grace Dent of The Guardian called it "fantastic three-part (sic) exploration of London Underground, which offered many remarkable moments". She felt that the way in which the programme was billed made it look less interesting than it turned out to be. She was appalled at the behaviour shown by some of the customers portrayed in the episodes, and impressed by the way that staff were shown dealing with such abuse.[11] Christopher Hooton came to a similar conclusion, when he wrote in the Metro: "Surprisingly then, The Tube was actually a pretty entertaining and enlightening hour."[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "BBC Two to take viewers underground in new observational documentary series". BBC. Retrieved 5 January 2013. 
  2. ^ No plans for a new series in the near future Blast! Films on Twitter. 14 April 2014. Retrieved 1 June 2014.
  3. ^ "Weekly top programmes overview". Broadcasters Audience Research Board. 
  4. ^ a b "Episode Guide". BBC. Retrieved 5 January 2013. 
  5. ^ "Episode 1". BBC. Retrieved 5 January 2013. 
  6. ^ "Episode 2". BBC. Retrieved 5 January 2013. 
  7. ^ "Episode 3". BBC. Retrieved 5 January 2013. 
  8. ^ "Episode 4". BBC. Retrieved 5 January 2013. 
  9. ^ "Episode 5". BBC. Retrieved 5 January 2013. 
  10. ^ "Episode 6". BBC. Retrieved 5 January 2013. 
  11. ^ Dent, Grace (3 March 2012). "Grace Dent's TV OD: The Tube". The Guardian. 
  12. ^ Hooton, Christopher (20 February 2012). "The Tube made you feel guilty for cursing red signals". The Metro. 

External links[edit]