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BBC Television Centre

BBC TVC day

Location:
West side of Wood Lane (A219) in White City, opposite Wood Lane tube station
Address:
White City, W12 7RJ, United Kingdom
Elevation:
6m (20ft)
Completed & Inaugarated:
June 29, 1960
Renovated:
2013-15 (to be finished by 2020)
Closed:
March 31, 2013
Floor count:
8
Floor area: 5.7 hectares (14 acres)
Owner:
Stanhope plc
Cost:
£10,000,000 ($16,739,000)
Construction:
Architect:Graham Dawbarn
Architectural firm: Norman & Dawbarn
Structural engineer: Mr Marmaduke T Tudsbery
Main contractor: Higgs and Hill (superstructure), George Wimpey (foundations)

The BBC Television Centre was the headquarters of BBC Television from 1960-2013. It opened on June 29, 1960, and became one of the most largest, and readily recognisable facilities in the world. It is also known as the second-oldest operational television studio in the UK, after Granada Studios where the BBC's main commericial rival, Granada Television is based for many decades. Most of the BBC's national television and radio news output came from the Television Centre (TVC) with most recorded television output from the nearby Broadcast Centre at 201 Wood Lane, care of Red Bee Media.

It was announced on September 21, 2010 that Television Centre will be closing at 2013 and the BBC will cease broadcasting there. On 13 June 2011 the BBC announced that the Television Centre was on the market, and that it was 'inviting bid proposals from people looking for a conventional, freehold property or those interested in a joint venture', suggesting that it may yet remain connected to the BBC. Radio and TV news departments of the BBC moved to Broadcasting House in central London, the old home of BBC Radio, as part of a reorganisation. On 16 July 2012 it was announced that the complex had been sold to property developers Stanhope plc for around £200 million. BBC News moved to new facilities in Broadcasting House on 18 March 2013, but the building remained in active use with many programmes filming in the studios until it closed officially on 31 March 2013.

The buildingEdit

Circular shape:Edit

The building featured a central circular block (officially known as the Main Block, but often referred to by staff as the "doughnut") around which were studios, offices, engineering areas and the News Centre. In the centre of the main block was a statue designed by T.B. Huxley-Jones of Helios, the Greek god of the sun, to symbolise the radiation of television around the world. At the foot of the statue were two reclining figures, symbolising sound and vision, the components of television. It was originally a fountain, but owing to the building's unique shape it was too noisy for the staff in the overlooking offices, and there were problems with water leakage into the videotape area directly beneath. Even though there was a foundation stone marked 'BBC 1956' in the basement of the main building, construction began in 1951. Various extensions have been added.

Design:Edit

The overall design from the air appeared to resemble a question mark in shape. The architect, Graham Dawbarn CBE (Norman & Dawbarn), drew a question mark on an envelope (now held by the BBC Written Archives Centre) while thinking about the design of the building, and realised that it would be an ideal shape for the site. An article in The BBC Quarterly, July 1946, proposed a circular design, several years before Dawbarn drew up his plans.

The building was commissioned in 1949 with work starting in 1950. However government restrictions on building, through its loan sanction and licensing of materials, ensured that building was halted until 1953 so the BBC remodelled the former Gaumont Studios at Lime Grove, the Riverside Studios in Hammersmith and in 1953, Shepherd's Bush Empire. Work resumed in 1953 on the TVC scenery block (Stage 1) and work began in 1954 on the canteen block (Stage 2), which doubled as a rehearsal space.

Work on Stage 3, the central circular office block and studios, began in March 1955 on TC4, 5 and 2. The shells of TC1, TC6 and TC7 were constructed around the same time but they were not fitted out until a few years later. BBC Television Centre officially opened with TC3 operational on 29 June 1960.

Arthur Hayes worked on the building from 1956 to 1970 and was responsible for the creation of the iconic 'BBC Television Centre' lettering on the façade of Studio 1. The lettering was later used all over the building, even in tile work outside lift entrances. Demands from Broadcasting House meant that Hayes had less time than he had thought to design a decor for the façade, leading to him puncturing a scale foam model of the wall with drawing pins, and thus the birth of the iconic 'Atomic Dots': there are 26 across the façade of Studio 1, each one backlit and clearly visible at night.

Studios:Edit

The centre's studios were run by BBC Studios and Post Production, a wholly owned commercial subsidiary. The studios were numerous and varying in size. All studios were often abbreviated to initials, such as TC1 (Television Centre 1) for Studio 1.

The studios hosted a wide variety of TV programmes for a range of broadcasters, including Strictly Come Dancing, Harry Hill's TV Burp, Match of the Day, Later with Jools, Miranda, The Alan Titchmarsh Show, The Armstrong and Miller Show and 8 out of 10 Cats, and big complex live productions such as Children in Need and Comic Relief. Over the years they were home to some of the world's most famous TV programmes including Fawlty Towers, Monty Python's Flying Circus, Blue Peter, Absolutely Fabulous, classic Doctor Who and most of the best known BBC drama series. From the 1980s the use of the complex for such productions rapidly declined with the last major drama series to be shot there being The House of Eliott, which ended in 1994, and the last single drama recorded was Henry IV, Part 1, in 1995. This was because drama production moved almost entirely onto film or single-camera video, and Television Centre was a video-based, multi-camera production environment.

At 7 pm on 22 March 2013, a special edition of The One Show was broadcast from the front of Television Centre followed by the building's last live broadcast Madness Live: Goodbye Television Centre and special programming to mark the end of the BBC at TVC, with the official last day at the end of that month.

In April 2013 a campaign was started to keep studios TC1 to TC8 open.

List of Studios:Edit

Studio name Area Opening date Shows produced/ usage
Studio 0 117 square meters (1260 ft²) 1989
  • Liquid News
  • CBeebies in-vision continuity
  • BBC Research
Studio 1 995 square meters (10,250 ft²) April 15, 1964
Studio 2 223 square metres (2,400 ft²) late 1960
  • That Was The Week That Was
  • Blue Peter '(2007-08)
  • BBC News (until 1997)
  • BBC Sport
  • CBBC
Studio 3 594 square metres (6,390 ft²) June 29, 1960
  • First Night
Studio 4 585 square metres (6,300 ft²) January 1961
  • Friday Night With Jonathan Ross
  • Never Mind the Buzzcocks
  • Later...with Jools Holland
  • Embarrassing Bodies: Live from the Clinic
  • Harry Hill's TV Burp
  • A Question Of Sport
  • Celebrity Mastermind
  • The Alan Titchmarsh Show
  • Who Wants To Be A Millionaire
  • Room 101
  • Strictly Come Dancing
  • Noel's House Party
  • Parkinson
  • Dead Ringers
  • Little Britain
  • Clarkson
  • Record Breakers
  • Only Fools and Horses
  • Blackadder
  • The Hairy Biker's Cook Off
  • The Paul Daniel's Magic Show
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
  • The National Lottery: In It to Win It
  • The Impressions Show with Culshaw and Stephenson
  • The Forsyte Saga
  • Blue Peter
  • Yes, Prime Minister
  • Z-Cars
  • Play for Today
  • Golden Balls
  • Top of the Pops
Studio 5 223 square metres (2,400 ft²) August 1961
  • BBC Schools
  • BBC Sport (until 2012)
  • Match of the Day
  • Football Focus
  • Crimewatch
  • Jackanory
  • Grandstand
  • Ask The Family
  • Call My Bluff
  • Holiday
  • Watchdog
  • Play School
  • The Old Grey Whistle Test
Studio 6 598 square metres (6,440 ft²) July 1967
  • BBC Red Button (control room)
  • Pointless
  • Never Mind the Buzzcocks
  • Alan Carr: Chatty Man
  • The Paul O'Grady Show
  • 8 Out of 10 Cats
  • 10 O'Clock Live
  • Chris Moyles' Quiz Night
  • Sam & Mark's Big Friday Wind Up
  • Live & Kicking
  • The Saturday Show
  • Dick & Dom in da Bungalow
  • The Liver Birds
  • My Family
  • Pennies from Heaven
  • Doctor Who
  • The Good Life
  • The Goodies
  • Rentaghost
  • Blue Peter
  • Juliet Bravo
  • Bomber Harris
  • A Bit of Fry & Laurie
  • They Think It's All Over
  • Rory Bremner
  • Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps
  • Red Dwarf
Studio 7 223 square metres (2,400 ft²) 1962
  • BBC News (1997-2013)
  • Going Live!
  • Business Breakfast
  • BBC Breakfast
  • Working Lunch
  • HARDtalk
  • Newsround
  • Sportsround
  • Newsnight
  • Newsnight Review
  • Match of the Day Kickabout
  • The Andrew Marr Show
  • Breakfast with Frost
  • On The Record
  • The Politics Show
  • BBC News at Six
  • Swap Shop
  • Saturday Superstore
  • Butterflies
  • To The Manor Born
  • Play School
  • Bob's Full House
  • ChuckleVision
  • Shooting Stars
  • The Stand Up Show
  • The Late Show
  • Bodger and Badger
Studio 8 602 square metres (6,480 ft²) 1967
  • Miranda
  • Not Going Out
  • Never Mind the Buzzcocks
  • Tipping Point
  • A Question of Sport
  • Piers Morgan's Life Stories
  • Five Minutes to a Fortune
  • Pets Nation
  • Morecambe & Wise
  • The Dick Emery Show
  • Sykes
  • The Two Ronnies
  • Absolutely Fabulous
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus
  • Keeping Up Appearances
  • Are You Being Served?
  • It Ain't Half Hot Mum
  • Open All Hours
  • Citizen Smith
  • Up Pompeii
  • Porridge
  • In Sickness and in Health
  • The Les Dawson Show
  • Fawlty Towers
  • The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin
  • Not the Nine O'Clock News
  • Blankety Blank
  • Bread
  • Hi-de-Hi!
  • The Russ Abbot Show
  • Alas Smith and Jones
  • 'Allo 'Allo
  • Birds of a Feather
  • May to December
  • Just Good Friends
  • Hole in the Wall
  • Ever Decreasing Circles
  • Victoria Wood As Seen On TV
  • French and Saunders
  • One Foot in the Grave
  • Knowing Me Knowing You with Alan Partridge
  • Dinnerladies
  • Auntie's Bloomers
  • The National Lottery Draws
  • The Catherine Tate Show
Studio 9 84 square meters (900 ft²) 1955
  • CBBC
  • CBBC in-vision continuity
  • Sam & Mark's TMi Friday
  • SMart
Studio 10 111 square meters (1200 ft²)

1969 (as N1)

1999 (as TC10)

  • BBC One daytime news bulletins
  • BBC World
  • CBBC on BBC One in-vision continuity
  • CBBC on BBC Two in-vision continuity
Studio 11 186 square metres (2000 ft²)

1969 (as N2)

1999 (as TC11)

  • BBC Two daytime news bulletins
  • Domestic BBC News bulletins
  • BBC News at Six (as Six O' Clock News)
  • BBC Nine O'Clock News
  • Liquid News
  • 60 Seconds
  • The 7 O' Clock News
  • Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two
Studio 12 56 square metres (600 ft²) 2004
  • CBBC programmes
  • CBBC in-vision continuity
  • BBC Research
  • Sportsround
Pres A 65 square metres (704 ft²) 1960
  • BBC One in-vision continuity
  • CBBC
Pres B 65 square metres (704 ft²) 1964
  • BBC Two in-vision continuity
  • Points Of View
  • The Film programme
  • The Old Grey Whistle Test

News Studios (BBC News)Edit

N1 now Studio 10
  • BBC One daytime news bulletins
N2 now Studio 11
  • BBC Two daytime news bulletins
N3
  • main newsroom; now divided by glass panels
N4
  • BBC Club
N5
  • BBC Arabic Television
  • BBCi
  • Click
N6
  • BBC News at One
  • BBC News at Ten
  • BBC News
N7
N8
  • BBC World News (2008-13)
  • BBC News (temporary)
N9
  • BBC World News (until 2008)
N10
  • 60 Seconds (formerly)

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