The Tube

I’ve just finished watching two episodes of The Tube, a documentary series about the London Underground (downloaded from the excellent UKNova Bittorrent site). The series is in the tradition of Airline: a series of “behind the scenes” vignettes, focusing on workers and their jobs and the challenges those jobs present.

Airline spends days in the life of U.K.-based airline easyJet (there’s a U.S. version of the programme that uses Southwest). The Tube is about everyday life inside the London subway system.

I find both series extremely compelling. They remind me of a series of books that I loved as a kid, published in the early 1970s, by Arthur Shay, with titles like What It’s Like to Be a Policeman, What Happens in a Car Factory and What Happens When You Travel by Plane.

I love the world of “behind the scenes.”


Chris Corrigan's picture
Chris Corrigan on November 16, 2004 - 20:36 Permalink

I’ve seen the American version of Airline a few times. It’s entertaining enough but it basically starts to look like the same story told many times over…staff scrambles to get angry passengers connected. Staff tells angry passengers that the snow delay in Waukegon means they’re spending another night in Dallas. Staff deals with drunk/high/mentally challenged passenger. Staff grab walkie talkies and get serious…after problem is solved and passengers have their lost luggage, high fives all round and the airport closes for the night.

I’d like to see them catch a terrorist or something. Or maybe put out a fire in the waiting lounge washroom. SOMETHING.

AS I only ever see the show when I’m travelling, it’s like extending the airport experience right into my hotel room…so mundane.



Jerry Casper's picture
Jerry Casper on January 9, 2007 - 01:35 Permalink

I found the Arthur Shay book What Happens in a Car Factory last year at a used book store, which happens to be about AMC, one of my favorite cars! I own 14 AMCs, 8 of which are Gremlins. Anyway, great book, still have a copy? I always like knowing what goes on behind the scenes, too, I’d love to visit all kinds of manufacturing plants to see how they make things. Airplanes, train engines, bowling balls, I’ve love to see it all. — Jerry -