GLOBE art critic Peter Grant previews a new BBC1 documentary about Tate Liverpool which features some special Wirral guests.

When I was invited to talk about this inspirational gallery at the Albert Dock in a celebratory film I said 'yes' straight away.

It is a jewel in Merseyside's crown.

I was filmed talking about how important the Tate - which opened in 1988 - is to Liverpool’s ever growing cultural status now that it is celebrating 30 years of age.

Blink and you might miss me in this film by accomplished Geordie GED Clarke, but you will hear me at the start of the programme and you will see a lot more of New Ferry-based arts handler Ken Simons.

Ken enjoyed a 30-year career at the Tate resulting with a unique showcase of his favourite works.

Also talking animatedly about art are year seven pupils from Wirral's Upton Hall Girls School.

At a special screening at the Tate - on his 66th birthday - the self-confessed irreverent arts presenter Alexei Sayle told me he was 'very interested in hearing what the girls from Upton had to say' about a recent exhibition.

The proud school has highlighted the film on their website and twitter.

The 30-minute production also sees interviews with writer Frank Cottrell-Boyce and one-time Minister for Merseyside – Lord Heseltine who recalls how he helped the Tate come about in the aftermath of the Toxteth riots to help the city with its renaissance.

Alexei, a former art student, also talks to members of the public as well as current Tate staff who are all enthusiastic about the gallery with its vast array of exhibitions - many of them inter-active.

The gallery was England's first public gallery of modern and contemporary art.

Since its opening it has seen 18 million people pass through its doors other contributors include Sgt Pepper cover designer Sir Peter Blake, Tate director Maria Balshaw and the Wirral Globe.

Alexei is a supporter of the gallery and has been a frequent visitor to the iconic building.

He told the Globe: "I hope the viewer will get to share my sense of what a great and precious institution it is." 

Tate Liverpool at 30 BBC 1 (North West) Wednesday, August 15 (7.30pm) - also be available on BBC i player