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Battersea Power Station in popular culture

Battersea Power Station viewed from the north bank of the River Thames at Pimlico, November 1986

Battersea Power Station has been featured in many forms of media and culture: it can be seen on several album covers by rock and pop groups, in a number of music videos, and has appeared in many films and television programmes in its more than 70-year history.

Contents

MusicEdit

Album artworkEdit

 
Battersea Power Station with an inflatable pig in the 2011 campaign to reissue Animals.

Author of a book on Battersea Power Station Peter Watts thinks one of the main reasons for the building's worldwide recognition is due to it having appeared on the cover of Pink Floyd's 1977 album, Animals. Developed by long-time Floyd collaborators design studio Hipgnosis, the album sleeve featured photography, taken in early December 1976, of the power station with the group's inflatable pink pig, named Algie, floating above it.[1] The inflatable was made in Germany by Ballon Fabrik (aka the Zeppelin Airship company), to the design of Australian artist Jeffrey Shaw. The 30-foot (9-metre)-long pig was tethered between two of the power station's southern chimneys. During the shoot, it broke loose from its moorings and, to the astonishment of the pilots of approaching planes, rose into the flight path of Heathrow Airport. Police helicopters tracked its course, until it landed in Kent.[2] Video footage of the photoshoot was used in the promotional video for the song "Pigs on the Wing".[3] The album was officially launched at an event at the power station.[2]

The Pink Floyd image has been much referenced, parodied and paid homage to, for instance on:

The station can also be seen on various other pieces of album artwork, including:

Music videosEdit

The power station has often been used as a shooting location or as a backdrop in music artists' promotional videos. Such uses include:

LyricsEdit

The power station is also written about, or mentioned in, various songs.

Television and filmEdit

Other uses in cultureEdit

  • The "Power Plant" structures in the 1996 PC game Command & Conquer: Red Alert closely resemble the power station.[55] Both are similar, with the ordinary power plant structure having two towers and the advanced power plant having four towers, the structures resembling the Battersea plant in its various stages.
  • The station is featured in the 1999 video game, Grand Theft Auto: London 1969.[56]
  • A brown version of the power station can be seen in the 2001 video game Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies, in the mission "Invincible Fleet".[57]
  • In recent years, the building has played host to concerts and to performances by the Cirque du Soleil.[58] In 2000, the company voiced plans to permanently convert the building into an "urban circus".[59]
  • In 2004, photographer Vera Lutter used the station in several pieces of her work. She created the photographs by turning shipping containers into giant pinhole cameras and placing them in front of the building for several days.[60]
  • Between 8 October and 5 November 2006, the Serpentine Gallery took up residence in the power station for the exhibition China Power Station: Part I. It displayed the work of "an extraordinary and vibrant new generation of Chinese artists and architects".[61]
  • In 2007, replicating the pig from Pink Floyd, promoters flew a giant inflatable SpiderPig to promote the release of The Simpsons Movie that year.[62]
  • On 23 and 24 October 2008, the station was used for the Channel 4 Freeze event. The event included a snow jump and music performances.[63]
  • The 2009 video game Colin McRae: Dirt 2 allows the player to race through the disused power station.[64] The power station is also featured in the 2011 game Dirt 3, and in Dirt: Showdown.[65]
  • The 2009 BBC Radio 4 radio play, The Mouse House, features a storyline centred around Battersea Power Station.[66]
  • Since 22 August 2009, the station has been used as a venue on the Red Bull X-Fighters season.[67]
  • On 13 April 2010 the station site was used as the venue for the manifesto launch of the Conservative Party led by David Cameron during the general election campaign for the UK Parliament at Westminster.[48] Between 6 and 7 May 2010, the station site was used by Sky News in their coverage of the election.[68]
  • The station was featured on the cover of the novel Dead Air, by Iain Banks.
  • On 28 February 2011, Helen Skelton presenter of the BBC children's television show Blue Peter, successfully managed a high wire walk between two of Battersea power station's chimneys.[69][70]
  • In the introductory video of the ceremony of London 2012 Olympic Games, there is an aerial shot from the chimneys.
  • In 2012, mobile network operator EE constructed a projector screen between two of the station's chimneys to show a 4D film to launch their new 4G network, the first one in the UK.
  • In October 2018, the book "The Battersea Power Station - Alles Battersea" by Monika Hermeneit appeared as paperback and as an ebook.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

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