|Type Television studios|
Phone +44 20 7157 5555
Architect EPR Architects
|Location Waterloo, London|
Elevation 85 m (279 ft)
Owner ITV plc
|Former names The South Bank Television Centre|
Alternative names The ITV Studios London Television Centre ITV Towers
Address Upper Ground, Lambeth, London SE1 9PP, UK
Hours Open today · Open 24 hoursTuesdayOpen 24 hoursWednesdayOpen 24 hoursThursdayOpen 24 hoursFridayOpen 24 hoursSaturdayOpen 24 hoursSundayOpen 24 hoursMondayOpen 24 hoursSuggest an edit
Similar Television Centre - London, Broadcasting House - Cardiff, The Leeds Studios, Gas Street Studios, Television Centre - Southampton
The london studios
The London Studios or The South Bank Studios (also known as The London Television Centre, ITV Towers and Kent House) in Waterloo, Central London is a television studio complex formerly owned by London Weekend Television. The studios are located in Central London and are situated on the South Bank next to The IBM Building and the Royal National Theatre. The building is set on 2.5 acres of land and is 24 floors high.
- The london studios
- Kent House Tower
- Main Studio Block
- Gabriels Wharf
- Besides studios
- ITV Studios
- Studio programming
The facilities are the main studios for ITV, along with a number of production companies including ITV Studios and Shiver based in Kent House tower, while the studios are currently home to many entertainment, game and daytime shows. These include Good Morning Britain, The Graham Norton Show, Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway and The Jonathan Ross Show. The studios are also used for other programmes from various other channels including BBC and Channel 4. 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.
On 21 February 2017 it was announced that ITV would be closing the site in 2018 for some years for large-scale redevelopment and that the new South Bank complex would result in the loss of the studios spaces.
When LWT succeeded ATV for the London weekend ITV franchise in 1968, it rented Associated-Rediffusion's old studios at Wembley (later known as The Fountain Studios) whilst plans for a new studio complex in central London were 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. The complex was owned by the National Coal Board Pension Fund Trustees and leased by the station. 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 finally bought the freehold to the now renamed London Television Centre for £56 million from what had now become Coal Pension Properties.
On social media, the building is named 'ITV Towers' since the purchase in January 2013. However, the official name of the building is The London Television Centre (with the studio business branded as 'The London Studios') with that being the logo in reception and around the building.
Kent House Tower
Kent House is a 24 story tower block, and is home to ITV PLC, and many production offices including ITV Studios and Shiver Productions. During the 1990s the Block was also home to Carlton Television and GMTV. It is seen in the titles of Good Morning Britain and Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway.
Main Studio Block
Sandwiched between the tower block and the River Thames is the main studio block, housing studios 1, 2, 3, 5 & 7, the restaurant, the takeaway bar (prior studio cafe), management offices, edit facilities, make-up and wardrobe. It was designed by London-based architecture practice Elsom Pack & Roberts.
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 Liverpool, the 3,000 square feet (280 m2) studio 8 was converted from the riverside end of the first storey.
The site houses programme production offices, edit suites, dubbing suites, VTR studio booths and graphic booths.
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 and Declan Donnelly. In 2016, the hand-prints of Ben Elton, Frances de la Tour, Derek Jacobi and Ian McKellen were added.
In 1999 through to 2017 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).
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 plc 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) and Glasgow (STV).
In 1994, Granada Group 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.
The London Studios is home to many popular game, chat and comedy entertainment programmes. List of shows, studio used and network below.