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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.
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. 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. Video footage of the photoshoot was used in the promotional video for the song "Pigs on the Wing". The album was officially launched at an event at the power station.
The Pink Floyd image has been much referenced, parodied and paid homage to, for instance on:
Battersea Power Station was also the name of Junior's Eyes' 1969 album. Junior's Eyes went on to become David Bowie's backup band for a brief period in the late 1960s.
The power station has often been used as a shooting location or as a backdrop in music artists' promotional videos. Such uses include:
Footage from the photoshoot of the cover of Pink Floyd's Animals is used in a video for their 1977 song "Pigs on the Wing". During the song "Money" at their 2005 Live 8 performance, the power station was briefly shown when the camera panned out away from the stage.
The Jam shot the promotional video for their 1978 single "News of the World" on the roof of the power station. Photos from the shoot featuring the station also appear on the sleeve of the "Snap!" compilation album.
A scene from Bill Wyman's promotional video for his 1981 single, "Je Suis un Rock Star", shows the station in the background.
The station can be seen in several key scenes in Val Guest's 1961 doomsday black comedy The Day the Earth Caught Fire, most prominently when a dense fog rolls up the Thames
The station was the focal point of action in the film High Treason, in which a cell of saboteurs plot to destroy the station (among others) to disrupt Britain's power grid. The film has extensive interior scenes.
It has appeared numerous times in the long-running British science fiction series Doctor Who. It appeared briefly in the episode The Dalek Invasion of Earth in 1964, which saw the station in the 22nd century with two chimneys demolished, and a nearby nuclear reactor dome. It appeared again in the 2006 Doctor Who episodes "Rise of the Cybermen" and "The Age of Steel" as the base to which Londoners are drawn to be converted into Cybermen.
It appeared briefly in The Beatles' 1965 film Help!, with a caption identifying it as "a famous power station".
It can be seen near the end of the 1967 film Smashing Time, when the station appears to explode.
A stylised image of the station appears in the title sequence of Agatha Christie's Poirot, which began airing in 1989. The series was set in the late 1930s, when the power station comprised only the western half - the remainder was added in the 1950s, long after the events of the show had ended.
The power station was the location for a weather changing machine in the children's sci-fi series "The Tomorrow People" in 1994 in the episode "Monsoon Man".
In the "Knightsbridge" episode of Neil Gaiman's 1996 television series Neverwhere, the station appears as the aboveground landmark for the London Below Floating Market.
A computer generated version of the power station appeared briefly in the background of a 2006 episode of the ABC television series Lost entitled "Fire and Water", sporting an identifying sign saying "Widmore Construction". This was the first introduced of one of the show's principal antagonists, Charles Widmore.
In Alfonso Cuarón's 2006 film, Children of Men, the station appears converted as the "Ark of Art" in 2027. The building contains art treasures salvaged from nations whose governments have collapsed and preserved for a "posterity". It contains a shattered and rebuilt Michelangelo's David, and Picasso's Guernica. An inflatable pig is tethered to the exterior of the building, a reference to the Animals album cover.
In May 2007, Battersea Power Station played a central role in episode 5 of series 4 of the BBC TV series New Tricks.
In October 2007, the power station was used as a filming location for the Batman movie, The Dark Knight. The station's stripped, empty interior was used as a setting for a burnt out warehouse.
The Power Station was used in a 1992 advert for Burger King acting as a filming location for a movie.
Other uses in culture
The "Power Plant" structures in the 1996 PC game Command & Conquer: Red Alert closely resemble the power station. 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.
In recent years, the building has played host to concerts and to performances by the Cirque du Soleil. In 2000, the company voiced plans to permanently convert the building into an "urban circus".
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.
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".
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.
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.
For his Us + Them Tour, former Pink Floyd band member Roger Waters had a mechanized Battersea recreated over the floor audience. The model was rigged with smokestacks that released mist to simulate smoke and the sides were actually video screens with a multitude of imagery projected onto them.