BBC Says Goodbye to Television Centre this Week

Iconic Wood Lane building closes for redevelopment on March 31


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The BBC is saying goodbye to Television Centre in Wood Lane this week, before it closes down on March 31 for redevelopment.

It is celebrating with a special programme called Goodbye to Television Centre to be broadcast on Friday night on BBC Four, featuring a long list of stars bidding a fond farewell to the iconic Shepherd's Bush building, its home since 1960.

The final network news bulletin was broadcast last night, Sunday March 17 and the News Channel also moves out today, with the One O'Clock News becoming the first domestic news programme to go out from the BBC's new studios at Broadcasting House in Central London.

The TV news journalists will join those BBC News colleagues that have already moved into their new home - staff working on Newsnight, World TV, the news website and the BBC Red Button news pages, as well as those on radio news other than BBC Radio 5 live, which relocated to Salford.

The Television Centre site is 14 acres and was the former site of the 1908 Franco-British Exhibition. It officially opened in June 1960 and was designed by the architects Norman and Dawbarn and appears to be like a question mark in shape.

The central " inner ring" of the building and the front flank of Studio 1 are Grade II listed as special interest and these listed elements of Television Centre will be retained and enhanced, including the instantly recognisable exterior view.

The BBC put Television Centre on sale in 2013, and sold it to property developers Stanhope Plc for a total price in the order of £200m. Contracts were exchanged on Saturday July 14 2012

The sale appeared to be a win-win deal for the BBC, which still owns the freehold, and will benefit from a share in future profits. The main television studios are also being retained and refurbished for leasing out to production companies, including the BBC itself, from next year.

Stanhope and the BBC say the proposals, which were shown to local people in public exhibitions in February, are to open up and transform Television Centre into a mixed use development including office and studio space for the BBC, complementary entertainment and leisure facilities, public open space, offices, housing and a hotel.

They says that for the first time, Television Centre will be opened up to the public and the famous forecourt remodelled and enlivened by new retail, leisure and entertainment uses and access through the site providing connectivity with the local area, including Hammersmith Park.

The remaining offices are aimed at occupiers in the creative sector providing new employment opportunities and there will be a variety of public uses, including a cinema, health club, restaurants and cafes, which will benefit the local community.

David Camp, chief executive of Stanhope Plc, says: " "Stanhope is working in partnership with the BBC to deliver a publicly accessible mixed use remodelling of these iconic buildings and redevelopment of the adjoining land.

"The BBC will continue to have a significant presence at Television Centre and we will be bringing new life into the site with new public routes, spaces and uses. We will be introducing a vibrant and exciting mix of new retail, leisure, office and residential uses whilst keeping and enhancing the famous original BBC buildings and retaining key operational BBC studio and office facilities on site."

Goodbye to Television Centre, which is being filmed today, March 18 and broadcast on Friday March 22 will kick off with a concert by Madness at 7.30pm followed by the show itself. Former BBC Chairman Michael Grade will invite an array of people from the worlds of sport, acting, journalism, music and entertainment to assemble in the BBC’s Studio One in front of a studio audience, where they will talk about their favourite Television Centre memories.

Joining Michael Grade on the sofa will be a whole host of famous faces:

  • Sir David Attenborough
  • Penelope Keith
  • Ronnie Corbett
  • Sir Michael Parkinson
  • Noel Edmonds
  • Sir Terry Wogan
  • Sir David Jason
  • Zoe Ball
  • Phillip Schofield
  • Gary Lineker
  • Chris Hollins
  • Bob Harris
  • Fiona Bruce
  • Rebecca Front
  • Dara O Briain
  • Sir Bruce Forsyth
  • Peter Snow

Richard Klein, Controller of BBC Four, says: "TVC is quite simply the greatest television stage on Earth and BBC Four is going to celebrate all that is wonderful about it in a whole night of programming in March.

" What was made at TVC – the dramas, the sit-coms, the music shows, the glitzy dance and entertainment extravaganzas, the comedies, the news – everything – form part of Britain’s collective history.

"These shows, from The Two Ronnies to The Old Grey Whistle Test, from Newsnight to Grandstand, from Strictly Come Dancing to Morecambe and Wise – are lodged in our memories and Four intends to salute the passing of this era with a fond and uplifting farewell night."


March 18, 2013