The London Studios

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File:The London Studios ITV.jpg
The studios as seen from the London Eye in 2011
File:The London Studios entrance.jpg
The reception entrance as seen in April 2013

The London Studios (now known as ITV Towers) in Waterloo, Central London is a television studio complex formerly owned by London Weekend Television. The studios are located in Central London and is situated on the South Bank next to The IBM Building and the Royal National Theatre.

Since January 2013, the studio complex has been owned by ITV plc, which bought the freehold for £56 million from the former landlord Coal Pension Properties. The building serves as ITV plc's corporate headquarters. The facilities are the main studios for ITV, with some programmes from various other channels including BBC and Channel 4 also using the studios.

The studios are currently home to many entertainment, game and daytime shows. These include Daybreak, The Graham Norton Show, Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway and The Jonathan Ross Show. The Met Office weather studios which provide national weather forecasts are also based at The London Studios, as well as ITV Creative who promote programmes on the ITV network.

Production companies ITV Studios and Shiver are currently based in Kent House at The London Studios

The building is set on 2.5 acres of land and is 22 floors high.

History

When LWT succeeded ATV for the London weekend ITV franchise in 1968, it bought Associated-Rediffusion's old studios at Wembley (now known as The Fountain Studios). These studios were originally film studios and dated back from the 1920s. Although successfully converted for TV in the 1950s, the new LWT wanted its own, new, modern studios and so designs were soon drawn up.

The site for the development was chosen beside the new Royal National Theatre on the South Bank of the River Thames. It was purchased in 1969 and construction work, awarded to Higgs and Hill, commenced in 1970 with the centre opening for transmission in 1972, although it was not fully operational until 1974. It was originally called The South Bank Television Centre (a name that lasted until the early 1990s) and at the time was the most advanced television centre in Europe.

On 28 January 2013 ITV plc bought The London Television Centre, its own headquarters, for £56 million. ITV now refer to the building as 'ITV Towers' since the purchase in January 2013 on social media. The official name of the building is The London Television Centre (with the studio business branded as 'The London Studios') however, with that being the logo in reception and around the building.

The building

File:TLS studio 7.jpg
View of Studio 7 (on the floor above the brightly lit room) from the bar at The London Studios

Kent House Tower

The studios are easily recognisable by the distinctive 21 storey black and white layered tower named Kent House. The 16th floor is used by ITV Studios and Shiver Productions.

Main Studio Block

Sandwiched between the tower block and the River Thames is the main studio block, housing studios 1, 2 and 3, the restaurant, the studio cafe, offices, make-up and wardrobe. It was designed by London based architecture practice Elsom Pack & Roberts.

Gabriel's Wharf

On the east side of the site, there is a neighbouring building called Gabriel's Wharf. Previously belonging to Younger's Brewery, this three-storey building was added later to the site as a scenery store. When This Morning moved from its studio in Liverpool, Template:Convert from the first storey on the riverside was converted into studio 8.

Besides studios

The site houses programme production offices, edit suites, dubbing suites, VTR studio booths and graphic booths.

Audiences

Audiences are used in many productions at The London Studios. The audience are instructed to queue to the left hand side of the studios near to the reception entrance and under a cover where they will be escorted into one of the studios once security checked. There are two waterproof TV screens with the live ITV programmes shown on them. There are several hand-prints displayed in the audience waiting area with hand-prints of presenters including Vernon Kay, Al Murray, Melvyn Bragg, Lorraine Kelly, Paul O'Grady, Graham Norton, Stephen Fry, Fern Britton, Phillip Schofield, Davina McCall, Des Lynam, Fiona Phillips, Eamonn Holmes, Alan Carr, Justin Lee Collins, Gabby Logan, Anthony McPartlin & Declan Donnelly.

Studios

There have been a total of nine different studios during the complex's lifespan, but currently there are six. It should also be noted that there are weather studios producing the ITV national, and some of the network's regional forecasts (these are now at Gray's Inn Road).

  • Studio 1 - Template:Convert - The largest studio on the complex. This studio is home to programmes such as All Star Family Fortunes, All Star Mr & Mrs, The Graham Norton Show, Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway and Text Santa. The studio has a permanent fixed balcony seating area, which along with movable seating, the studio can accommodate audiences of up to 638. This makes the studio popular for large audience based shows. Studio 1 was upgraded to HD in December 2009.
  • Studio 2 - Template:Convert - The second largest on the complex houses shows such as Piers Morgan's Life Stories, The Alan Titchmarsh Show, Let's Do Lunch with Gino & Mel, Have I Got News for You and It'll Be Alright on the Night. The studio can accommodate large audiences of up to 462. The studio can also be used as a bare shell as the audience seating structure can be moved out. Studio 2 was upgraded to HD in the summer of 2009.
  • Studio 3 - Template:Convert - This studio currently houses daily chatshow Loose Women and ITV Breakfast programmes Daybreak and Lorraine. The studio can accommodate audiences of up to 150. The studio also has an "in-the-round" seating feature with up to 108 audience capacity, with the presenters and set in the middle with the audiences seated around them. Studio 3 was upgraded to HD in the summer of 2012.
  • Studio 4 - Located in the tower block, LWT’s in-vision continuity was broadcast from here until out-of-vision continuity was introduced, when studio 4 was closed. It has since been converted back to offices.
  • Studio 5 - Template:Convert - Based at the bottom of Kent House. This studio was previously used by GMTV between the years 1993 and 2010.
  • Studio 6 - There has never been a 'Studio 6' on the complex. There is however a bar and restaurant in Gabriel's Wharf next door named 'Studio Six'.
  • Studio 7 - Template:Convert - Located in the studio block on the river's bank, this studio presents panoramic views over the London skyline, including St. Paul’s Cathedral, through its floor-to-ceiling windows. Studio 7 was home to the London News Network’s local news bulletins from 1993 until 2004. It was built in 1993 for the newly created London News Network, a company which provided local news for the ITV Network in London. Prior to 1993, LWT, the London weekend ITV franchisee, had produced news bulletins for London on Friday evenings, Saturdays and Sundays from studio 10, whilst Thames Television had provided its own news during the rest of the week from its own studios. The new partnership between the new London weekday licensee Carlton and LWT meant one news bulletin would be seen all week, 'London Tonight'. After the Carlton and Granada merger to form ITV plc however, LNN was disbanded and Independent Television News took over the contract. London Tonight is now produced in their studios on Grays Inn Road. It was then used as the home of ITV Sport and also for Loose Women, I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! NOW!, Strictly Come Dancing - It Takes Two, and various specials for Canadian television. ITV's breakfast programme Daybreak used the studio from 6 September 2010 to 31 August 2012. For the launch of Daybreak, the studio was converted to high-definition. It has continued to be used by ITV Sport, most recently for its coverage of IPL Cricket on ITV4.
  • Studio 8 - Template:Convert - This studio is located besides the main complex in the building known as Gabriel’s Wharf. Daytime show This Morning has occupied this studio since the show moved to London from Liverpool in 1996. It has 3 large windows overlooking the Thames which appear silver from the outside, restricting people being able to see in from the outside and reducing glare inside.
  • Studio 9 - This small studio was used when ITV2 used in-vision announcers and was located next to studio 7. It is now used for the studio's tapeless recording system allowing editors to edit programmes shortly after they have been recorded.
  • Studio 10 - Studio 10 was on the 10th floor of the tower and was used for London’s weekend and Friday evening’s local news (produced originally by LWT) as well as Crime Monthly before studio 7 was built. This studio was equipped with Philips cameras and a show entitled Talk TV was output from here for Talk Digital Channel before the Studio was converted into offices in 2003. The studio is visible from the South Bank by looking towards the tower with your back facing St. Paul's Cathedral and noting the studio’s windows (which are slightly blue and clearer in comparison to the other windows).

ITV

The studios were originally built by the London weekend ITV franchise holder, London Weekend Television (LWT). In 1993 Carlton Television won the London weekday franchise from Thames Television, but unlike Thames, Carlton didn’t have any of their own studios or property. Carlton therefore rented space in the tower from 1993 for their own post production and continuity facilities. The rental agreement continued until 2002 when an agreement was reached for Carlton to be permanently based within space used by LWT; in the intervening years LWT had been taken over by Granada Television and a close relationship had developed between Granada and Carlton. This led to consolidation within the ITV network and an agreement for the two to work together as ITV London.

Since 2002, all the ITV plc-owned regions' continuity before national programmes has been presented from the London Studios, as well as continuity before regional programmes in the following regions: Meridian, Westcountry, HTV West, Anglia, the unofficial ITV Thames Valley region and since 2006 HTV Wales, although between 2002-2006 the Welsh stations continuity was recorded and sent electronically to London. The complex also houses the continuity of ITV plc's digital channels ITV2, ITV3, ITV4 and CITV. The site also handled the playout of all the above until 2007, when the service was outsourced to Technicolor Network Services (TNS) (now part of Ericsson). The play-out is now run from Ericsson's broadcast centre in Chiswick.

Ericsson now provides network feeds to transmission centres in Leeds (home of the Northern Transmission Centre, which was also originally taken over by TNS as part of the outsourcing deal), Glasgow (STV), Belfast (UTV) and St. Helier (ITV Channel Television - which also receives a feed of ITV Meridian).

ITV Studios

Template:Main In 1994, Granada Television took over LWT, thus acquiring the building. When ITV franchises were permitted to take one another over in the 1990s (which had previously been restricted), Carlton and Granada, between the two companies, eventually owned all the franchises in England and Wales. By the time the two companies merged in 2004, all of Carlton’s studios had either been sold, or were surplus to requirement, so were sold soon after. Although the parent companies merged, and are now one (called ITV plc), Granada Television Ltd still exists as a subsidiary of ITV plc, and owns all ITV plc’s studios (wholly in Leeds and London, and formerly as a joint venture with BBC Studios & Post Production in Manchester).

Today the studios produce the bulk of original ITV Studios’ programmes, but anyone can hire the studios, meaning the studios are often seen on other channels’ programmes.

Other events

  • On 28 October 2011, The World's Biggest Bra was hung from the Kent House Tower in aid of the Breast Cancer Campaign, this also featured in the live episode of Loose Women.
  • On Christmas Eve in 2011, the Text Santa logo and mascots were projected onto the 'Kent House' Tower.

Ant & Dec

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  • In 2006, Ant & Dec abseiled down the side of the studios, as part of their Saturday Night Takeaway show.
  • In 2013, as part of their Saturday Night Takeaway challenges, Ant & Dec climbed across a flag pole, at the top of the tower, as part of their Saturday Night Takeaway show. They also played golf outside the studios by the South Bank.

Daybreak

Template:Main The Daybreak weather was formerly presented on the terrace outside the studios.

Studio programming

The London Studios is home to many popular game, chat and comedy entertainment programmes. List of shows, studio used and network below.

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Programme Channel Studio Years Status Notes
Alan Carr: Chatty Man Channel 4 1 2009— Template:Yes This programme can be housed in Studio 2
Text Santa ITV 1 2011— Template:Yes
Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway ITV 1 2002-2009, 2013— Template:Yes
The Jonathan Ross Show ITV 1 2011— Template:Yes
Amazing Greys ITV 1 2014— Template:Yes
All Star Family Fortunes ITV 1 2006— Template:Yes Original Family Fortunes produced by ATV/Central/Carlton in Birmingham and Nottingham (1980-2002)
Alexander Armstrong's Big Ask Dave 1 2011— Template:Yes
QI BBC Two 1 2003— Template:Yes This programme can be housed in Studio 2
The Graham Norton Show BBC One 1 2007— Template:Yes The original Channel 4 series So Graham Norton and V Graham Norton were also recorded here
Surprise, Surprise ITV 1 1984-1997, 2012— Template:Yes
An Audience with... ITV 1 1978— Template:Yes
ITV Music Specials ITV 1 2008— Template:Yes
Catchphrase ITV 2 2013— Template:Yes Originally produced by TVS at Maidstone Studios (1986–93), then by Action Time/Carlton (1994-2002) in Maidstone and later Nottingham
Piers Morgan's Life Stories ITV 2 2010— Template:Yes Formerly recorded at Teddington Studios and the now closed BBC Television Centre
Let's Do Lunch With Gino and Mel ITV 2 2011— Template:Yes Sometimes recorded in Studio 1 when 2 is fully booked
The Alan Titchmarsh Show ITV 2 2011— Template:Yes This programme was formerly recorded at BBC Television Centre
Have I Got News for You BBC One 2 1990— Template:Yes
It'll Be Alright on the Night ITV 2 1977— Template:Yes
The Paul O'Grady Show ITV/Channel 4 2 2004-2009 & 2013- Template:Yes
Daybreak ITV 3 2010— Template:Yes Shared studio with Lorraine
Lorraine ITV 3 2010— Template:Yes Shared studio with Daybreak
Loose Women ITV 3 1999— Template:Yes Shared studio with Daybreak and Lorraine
Sunday Side Up ITV 7 2013— Template:Yes Shared studio with Sunday Scoop
Sunday Scoop ITV 7 2013— Template:Yes Shared studio with Sunday Side Up
This Morning ITV 8 1996— Template:Yes Originally broadcast from Granada's regional centre at Albert Dock, Liverpool (1988–96)
Take on the Twisters ITV Unknown 2013— Template:Yes
Mock The Week BBC Two Unknown 2013— Template:Yes This programme was formerly recorded at BBC Television Centre
Born to Shine ITV 1 2011 Template:No
Big Star's Little Star ITV 2 2013— Template:Yes Has moved to Fountain Studios in 2014
The Biggest Loser ITV 1 2011 Template:No Whilst regular editions were filmed at Stanford Hall, the final of series 4 was recorded here
The Chase ITV 1 or 2 2010-13 Template:No The first series was filmed at Granada Studios. Since 2013, the show has been recorded at Teddington Studios. But celebrity editions are still recorded here
Holding Out For A Hero ITV 2 2011 Template:No
Pride of Britain Awards ITV 1 2000-2010 Template:No The programme is currently recorded at Grosvenor House
All Star Mr & Mrs ITV 1 2008-10, 2012-13 14 Template:Yes Has moved to Fountain Studios in 2014
The Krypton Factor ITV 1 2010 Template:No The original run of the series (1977–95) and the first revived series in 2009 were produced at Granada Studios in Manchester
Paul O'Grady Live ITV 1 2010-2011 Template:No
Popstar to Operastar ITV 1 2010-2011 Template:No
Who Dares, Sings! ITV 1 2008 Template:No
The Charlotte Church Show Channel 4 1 2006-2008 Template:No
The Six O'Clock Show ITV 1 1982-1988 Template:No
Al Murray's Happy Hour ITV 1 2007-2008 Template:No
The Big Big Talent Show ITV 1 Template:No
Blind Date ITV 1 1985-2003 Template:No
The British Comedy Awards ITV 1 1991-2009 Template:No Now broadcast on Channel 4 from Fountain Studios in Wembley
The Dame Edna Treatment ITV 1 2007 Template:No
Don't Forget Your Toothbrush Channel 4 1 & 2 1994-1995 Template:No Also made at Teddington Studios
Fantastic Facts ITV 1 1993 Template:No
The Sunday Night Project Channel 4 1 2005-2009 Template:No
Hale & Pace ITV 1 1988-1998 Template:No
Parkinson BBC One/ITV 1 Various Template:No ITV version of the programme only; the revived BBC series was made at Television Centre
Richard Hammond's 5 O'Clock Show ITV 1 2006 Template:No
Saturday Live Again ITV 1 Template:No
Saturday Night Divas ITV 1 Template:No
Sticky Moments Channel 4 1 1989-1990 Template:No
Clive Anderson Talks Back/Clive Anderson All Talk Channel 4/BBC One 2 Template:No
Tipping Point ITV 2 2012 Template:No Episodes were recorded here for series 1, episodes in series 2 were recorded at BBC Television Centre, although due to the studios closure in 2013, episodes will now be recorded at Wimbledon Studios.
Don't Forget the Lyrics! Sky One 2 2008 Template:No Also made at Granada Studios in Manchester
Late Show with David Letterman CBS 2 Template:No
6ixth Sense Living TV 2 Template:No
The Colour of Money ITV 2 2009 Template:No
Balls of Steel Channel 4 2 2005-2008 Template:No
Father Ted Channel 4 2 1995-1998 Template:No
The Sharon Osbourne Show ITV 2 2006 Template:No
Time Gentlemen Please Sky One 2 Template:No
Upstairs, Downstairs ITV 2 & 5 Template:No Transferred from LWT's original Wembley studios
Junior Eurovision ITV2 5 Template:No
SMTV Live ITV 2 1998-2003 Template:No
CD:UK ITV 2 1998-2003 Template:No Moved to Riverside Studios in Hammersmith after SMTV Live ended
Christian O'Connell's Sunday Service Sky One 2 Template:No
Tonightly Channel 4 3 2008 Template:No
The 11 O'Clock Show Channel 4 3 1998-2000 Template:No
Jonathan Dimbleby ITV 3 1995-2005 Template:No Also occasionally broadcast (as required) from Yorkshire Television, Tyne Tees Television and Granada Studios
Katie & Peter: Unleashed ITV2 3 2007 Template:No
Light Lunch Channel 4 3 1996-99 Template:No
Russell Harty ITV 3 Template:No
The South Bank Show ITV 3 1978-2010 Template:No Series now produced independently for Sky Arts
Today with Des and Mel ITV 3 2004-2006 Template:No Originally broadcast from Teddington Studios (2002–04)
Your Face or Mine? Channel 4/E4 3 2002-2003 Template:No
GMTV GMTV 5 1993-2010 Template:No
The Fluffy Club ITV Breakfast/CITV 5 1993-2010 Template:No
Wakey! Wakey! ITV Breakfast/CITV 5 Template:No
Toonattik ITV Breakfast/CITV 5 2005-2011 Template:No
Dickie Davies' World of Sport ITV 5 Template:No Transferred from LWT's original Wembley studios
Saturday Scene ITV 5 Template:No
The Big Match ITV 5 Template:No
I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! Now ITV2 7 Template:No
I'm a Celebrity...Exclusive ITV2 7 Template:No
London Tonight London News Network 7 1993-2004 Template:No Moved to ITN headquarters in Grays Inn Road
Beat TV ITV2 7 2012 Template:No
On the Buses ITV Unknown 1973 Template:No Transferred from LWT's original Wembley studios
Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two BBC Two 7 Template:No
World Cuppa ITV4 7 2006 Template:No
Crime Monthly ITV 10 1991-93 Template:No
Police 5 ITV 10 & 5 Template:No
6 O'Clock Live ITV 10 1990-92 Template:No
Close to Home ITV 2 1989-1990 Template:No
Tom and Vicky CITV The Animation Studio Template:No
The Treacle People CITV The Animation Studio 1996-97 Template:No
The Jordan Show ITV 3 Template:No
Whose Line Is It Anyway? Channel 4 2 1988-1997 Template:No

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References

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External links

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