Oct 19 2007

More moves in the TV neighbourhood

As we know by now, the Nine Network has put its 50-year-old studios in Sydney and Melbourne on the market – but it seems that it is not only Nine that is selling up its history to raise a few dollars into the bank account…


The BBC‘s iconic Television Centre, located in London’s west, has been the national broadcaster’s studio base for over 50 years and the corporation has been given approval by the BBC Trust to sell the premises, expected to be worth hundreds of millions of pounds.

The decision to sell is part of BBC’s widespread cost-cutting program which will also see staff numbers slashed and a reduction in the number of new productions being commissioned. The cuts are a response to the national broadcaster’s anticipated reduction of income from household licence fees.

BBC purchased 13 acres of land at Shepherd’s Bush, west of London in 1949 and after some delays commenced construction of the building in 1951. The Television Centre was officially opened in 1960 but had hosted some television production when the complex was still partially-completed. The building’s unusual design was inspired by architect Graham Dawbarn who recalled that he drew the triangular shape of the site on the back of an envelope and inside the shape drew a question mark – and realised that the question mark would be the design of the building. The envelope is now kept in BBC’s archives.

The Television Centre, now comprising twelve studios, was home to many famous BBC programs including Top Of The Pops, Blue Peter, The Goodies, Dr Who, The Two Ronnies, Absolutely Fabulous, Keeping Up Appearances, The Catherine Tate Show and Little Britain. The studio facilities have also been used for some programs for rival networks Channel 4 and ITV.

Sources: Media Guardian, Unofficial history of BBC Television Centre, bbc.co.uk

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