As a little bit of a production fanatic, I was saddened to hear of the news that ITV is to move out of their current home in just over a week, leaving behind years of history. The London Studios, which first opened for transmission in 1972 as The South Bank Television centre, is to now be redeveloped over the period of five years.
The closure and redevelopment will instantly wipe away years of television history, instead making way for residential properties, offices and eventually limited studio space for the main ITV Daytime programmes such as Good Morning Britain and This Morning to return.
The ten studios located at the Waterloo complex have more recently been home to high-rating ITV programmes such as Peston on Sunday, Lorraine, Loose Women and Piers Morgan’s Life Stories, to name a few. In the past, though, the studios have been home to comedy duo ‘Hale & Pace’, Sitcom ‘Close to home’ and television drama ‘Upstairs, Downstairs.’
ITV had decided to close their current studio locations, moving most of their productions to the Television Centre and into the onsite, recently rebranded, BBC Studio Works in White City… yes, the old BBC Television Centre. I should also mention that since the BBC sold the property to Stanhope plc. for around £200million in 2012, this site has also been redeveloped as residential properties and office space. Although, at the time, the BBC explained that the sale of Television Centre was to be a “full-scale disposal” it has since leased back parts of the building.
As of April 2016, only studios TC1, TC2 and TC3 remain at Television Centre and, although leased by the BBC, these will now be home to ITV Daytime programmes for the next five years, at least. All very confusing, it may seem.
Although all of ITV daytime will be moving out of the London Studios and there will also, no doubt, be a complete reshuffle of location for the staff, we could hope to see a refresh for some of the programmes. For example, Good Morning Britain series producer, Erron Gordon, has already confirmed a refresh of the morning news programme, which is somehow quite exciting for people like me. What will happen to the various other productions that currently take place at the London Studios, though, remains private for now.
Whilst I may have failed to mention television programmes that are of interest to any of you and although the refreshed productions of many of these programmes will continue elsewhere for the time being, the fact that the iconic London Studio’s tower will be torn down is sure to have saddened many production enthusiasts such as myself.