Measurements are in metric feet (30cm) and relate to working area within firelanes unless there are no firelanes. I have highlighted the dates when cameras were replaced. Over the years technology has moved on. It has followed this pattern: monochrome, 4-tube colour, 3-tube colour, CCD 4:3 colour, widescreen colour, digital widescreen colour, 1080i high definition, 4K UHD. (3D was a development that followed HD – TC6 was the first studio to be fitted with this technology.) Between 2006 and 2011 BBC Studios installed HD cameras in TC1, TC8, TC4, TC6, TC3 and TC2 (in that order.) TC1 made the first stereoscopic 3D programme in the UK in the summer of 2009 using hired kit. It reopened in 2017 with 4K cameras.
|TC0||45 x 28 ft wall to wall. Originally built as TMS (television music studio). Opened in July 1989. Mural of musicians and instruments on corridor wall outside the studio indicated its origins. Closed as sound studio and converted to ‘virtual reality’ TV studio renamed TC0 probably in 1995. Record Breakers Gold and one or two other shows made here using VR. VR kit removed around 1999 and studio used for The Chris Moyles Show and then The Phone Zone – daily shows for UK Play channel. From May 2000 used for Liquid News for BBC Choice. From Feb 2002 – January 2008 was continuity studio for CBeebies channel. (CBeebies then moved to Teddington studio 4 and later to TC10). Equipped with JVC KY-29D cameras. Hardly used after CBeebies left. Occasionally booked for single camera shoots. Sometimes used as a rehearsal room. In early 2010 TC0 was taken over by BBC Research and Development Dept as their experimental studio. First 8K Ultra -HD stereoscopic test broadcast in the world carried out here in 2010. Closed in 2013.|
|TC1||100 x 87 ft. (Originally 90ft wide before audience seating installed.) Opened in April 1964 with EMI 203/6 cameras. Converted to colour with EMI 2001 cameras in 1968. During ’70s used for several operas and major dramas like I Claudius and BBC Shakespeares. LE included Black and White Minstrel Show and Morcambe and Wise Show. Closed for major refurb and asbestos removal in 1988. Re-opened in Jan 1991 with Thomson 1542 CCD cameras (first at TVC). GVG 1600 vision mixer. QII lighting console installed. 96-channel stereo sound desk installed. Control galleries completely rebuilt. New 384 seat audience rostra fitted. Acoustic wall panels all replaced. Lighting hoists all replaced. In 2000, cameras replaced with digital widescreen Thomson 1657Ds, vision mixer replaced with Sony 7000 series and lighting console changed from QII to Galaxy. In 2003 VR ‘targets’ fitted in grid for Fightbox VR series – also used for general election. In summer 2005 sound desk converted to 5.1 digital audio ready for high definition. TC1 was then used for various kinds of shows from comedy:- I’m Alan Partridge, Little Britain – to LE: – Strictly Come Dancing, How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria? – and major event programmes: – General Elections, Comic Relief, Sports Personality of the Year and Children in Need. This studio staged the live final of ITV’s Kids’ Stars in Their Eyes in March ’06 when Granada’s studios in Manchester were closed for some months due to asbestos scare. TC1 was fully equipped for high definition in August 2006 with 10 Sony HDC-1500 cameras, Sony MVS 8000 vision mixer and HD monitors in refurbished production and lighting galleries. Received a new vision matrix during the summer of 2008. Made first stereoscopic 3D programme in summer of 2009 for Sky using hired kit. The last Blue Peter from London was made here on 28th June 2011, the programme subsequently moving to MediaCity in Salford where it is based in a studio one seventh the size of TC1. (That’s progress.) This studio closed in March 2013. Most of its technical kit was moved to the George Lucas Stage at Elstree to be used by Strictly Come Dancing. Audience seating removed during 2015 – new seating block replaced it. All wall boxes and wiring were replaced. Dimmers from TC6 and TC8 were installed. All technical infrastructure was renewed including Sony HDC-4300 4K cameras. Reopened at the end of August 2017 with The Jonathan Ross Show for ITV. The Russell Howard Hour for Sky 1 followed immediately after.|
|TC2||60 x 40 ft. Opened in 1960 with Marconi Mk IV cameras. Home of weekly soap Compact and satirical comedy shows like That Was The Week That Was throughout ’60s. Not converted to colour so closed in 1969. Used for storage of audience seating units throughout ’70s. Re-opened in 1981 with five Link 125 cameras and GVG 1600 vision mixer. New lighting hoists and Kohoutek dual-source lights installed. First studio at TVC to be equipped with Galaxy lighting console. Breakfast Time and Newsnight moved here in 1987 from Lime Grove. Equipped with Thomson 1542 cameras around 1991. News dept moved to TC7 in 1997. Basic widescreen refurb in 1998 with Thomson 1657s and Sony 7000 series vision mixer. From Jan 2002 used for daily X-Change programme on CBBC channel. This programme ended in March 2006 after 2,032 shows. The studio was officially closed at the end of March as asbestos was said to have been discovered in the air conditioning system. However, it was used for one or two programmes in summer 2006 with a temporary A/C plant. It was then decided to reopen the studio after all so removal of asbestos began in August 2006. The cost of removal is said to have run into millions of pounds. It reopened in Jan 2007, temporarily as the Sport studio whilst TC5 had its asbestos treated. It became available for general programming from the summer of 2007. TC2 was an interesting addition to BBC Studios’ portfolio. They had not had a small/medium studio to offer general clients for a number of years as all three of these studios had been permanently tied up with Children’s, Sport and News. Received TC4’s 4-year-old Sony E30s in summer 2008. Fitted with a new Calrec digital sound mixer in Jan 2009. Equipped for HD using ‘fly-away’ kit and cameras hired or borrowed from other studios in September 2009 for new series of Ready Steady Cook. Had an HD refit in the summer of 2011 which involved the permanent installation of the flyaway kit the studio had been sharing with TC3. In its last years TC2 suffered from very old dimmers (probably 30 years old), many of which had become unreliable causing lights to randomly flicker. These were replaced in 2017. TC2 closed in March 2013 and reopened in September 2017 with Strictly It Takes Two. Permanently booked by ITV Daytime from Jan 2018.|
|TC3||90 x 70ft. Opened in June 1960 as drama studio (very ‘dead’ acoustic) with Marconi Mk IV cameras. It was the first studio to open at TVC. Colourised in 1969 with EMI 2001 cameras. Major refurb in 1985 – six Link 125s installed at same time as new Grass Valley 1600 24 channel vision mixer. Galaxy 2 console and 541 new dimmers installed. New lighting hoists fitted. Permanent retractable audience seating installed. Asbestos treated in 1988. Thomson 1542 CCD cameras installed in 1992. These only 4:3 PAL so work reduced during 1990s until digital widescreen refurb in 2001 for return of TOTP. Galleries also rebuilt at this time and sound facilities upgraded to be suitable for several live bands on the same show. No cameras purchased so Thomson 1657 widescreen cameras ‘borrowed’ from other studios when required on a daily basis. Sony 7000 series vision mixer installed. Red Assembly area converted into ‘Star Bar’ for use by TOTP. New Sony BVP-E30 cameras installed in 2004. Later With Jools used this studio from 2004 using HD cameras via an OB unit. Further work on asbestos removal began in the summer of 2007 leading to closure for several months. Reopened in January 2008 with new black wall panels. In 2009 first HD programme was Eggheads using ‘fly-away’ kit. Became home of Harry Hill’s TV Burp in 2009 after seven years at Teddington. Received a full HD refit in the summer of 2011 – 8 x Sony HSC-300 cameras and new Sony mixer and OLED monitors. Reopened in time for Britain’s Best Dish, which was previously recorded at TLS. TC3’s cameras moved to Elstree D in 2013. This studio closed in March 2013. All technical infrastructure renewed during refit including Sony HDC-2500 HD cameras. Reopened in October 2017 with Pointless. Permanently booked by ITV Daytime from Jan 2018.|
|TC4||90 x 71ft. Opened in Jan 1961 as LE studio with variable acoustic (‘ambisonics’) and small band room (TC4A). Initially equipped with EMI 203/4 cameras. During ’60s was favourite studio for sitcoms before TC8 was available. In 1967 was the studio used to make all but one episode of The Forsyte Saga – the last major drama shot in black and white. Colourised in 1970 with EMI 2001 cameras. £2m major refurb in 1983. Link 125s installed. GVG 1600 vision mixer fitted. Galaxy console and new dimmers installed. New lighting hoists fitted and permanent retractable audience seating installed. Grass Valley 1600 vision mixer fitted. Asbestos removed around 1988 and new acoustic wall panels fitted. Thomson 1542 CCD cameras installed in 1992. Major refurb to digital widescreen in 1995. Galleries rebuilt and new Thomson 1657 cameras installed. GVG 4000 vision mixer fitted. Galaxy Nova console installed. VR ‘targets’ installed in quarter of grid for VR shows in 1997 but hardly ever used. New Sony BVP-E30 cameras installed in 2004. New sound desk installed summer 2007. Refurbished in summer 2008 with eight Sony HDC-1500 HD cameras and Sony MVS 8000 vision mixer, HD monitors and VTRs. Sound also converted to 5.1 surround. Regular home of Friday Night With Jonathan Ross from 2001 – 2010. TC4 was used for all kinds of programmes but gameshows in particular were a regular booking during its final decade or two. Cameras and electronic infrastructure removed to go to Elstree stage 8 in Jan 2013 – programmes until closure used an OB scanner for facilities. This studio was lost in the redevelopment and closed in March 2013 along with the rest of the building. BBC S&PP were very keen for TC4 to be saved along with TC1 and TC3 and a plan was drawn up that included it but it was not to be. Money ruled.|
|TC5||60 x 40ft. Opened in Aug 1961 with EMI 203/4 cameras. During 1960s was home of schools television, although other programmes made here too – especially panel games. Last studio at TVC to be colourised with EMI 2001s around 1973. Studio mothballed for a while in mid 1980s. Re-opened in 1987 after 2-year refurb (!) and equipped with GVG 1600 vision mixer and Link 125s. Link 130s originally specified but had to be abandoned when they proved unusable so major change to camera system mid way through installation. Thomson 1657 widescreen cameras installed around 1995 along with 2 x Sony 7000 series vision mixers. Lighting gallery converted into second production gallery enabling two sport programmes to be run from different ends of the studio simultaneously (on BBC1 and BBC2). Studio divided by thick black drapes. Lighting gallery moved into old prop store and also remote camera controls fitted enabling a reduction in the size of the camera crew. ‘Virtual’ green screen sets used for several years. Old puppet theatre/video effects workshop converted into sport graphics area in 1997. Around 2001 new ‘real’ permanent set built on two levels to be used by all sport programmes. New set design in 2005. Further work on asbestos removal discovered to be necessary in 2006. This began early in 2007. Old acoustic wall panels removed and new ones fitted. Sport returned to the studio with another new set when asbestos removal was complete in summer 2007. Production Gallery 2 (and incoming/outgoing lines) converted to HD for the 2010 Winter Olympics. Six year old ex TC6 Sony E-30 cameras installed summer 2010. Vacated by Sport dept at the end of 2011. Temporarily brought back into life for US elections in Nov 2012. This studio was lost in the redevelopment.|
|TC6||92 x 70ft. In original plan was to be two studios divided by doors but this was never actually done. Opened in September 1967 as BBC’s first colour studio. Cameras were Marconi Mk VIIs but were changed in 1968 for EMI 2001s. In 1977 replaced with 3-tube Link 110s with Varotal lenses. (Very prone to blue flares!). 1988 closed for 10 weeks to encapsulate and part remove asbestos. Studio closed in July 1992 and reopened in September 1993 after major refurb as TVC’s first serial-component digital studio. The refurb took 14 months. Included in the refurb was the complete removal of all remaining asbestos in the studio, cable ways and air conditioning. Acoustic wall panels replaced. 8 x Thomson 1647 Sportcams installed. First refurbishment done under new ‘Producer Choice’ commercial regime and planned to cost a third less than previous refurbs. Many so-called non-essential things left out but some added over following few years when found to be essential after all. Gallery suite moved downstairs to ground floor after ‘new customers’ – independent production companies – requested this. (Old gallery suite on first floor became ‘red button’ interactive control room for digital TV channels.) First studio to have all colour monitors fitted in production gallery. (Previously, only the transmission and one preview monitor had been in colour.) Thomson ‘Synonym’ temporary vision mixer installed as production model not ready. Galaxy Nova installed. New Calrec Q-series sound desk with 60 channels. Thomson 9500 vision mixer fitted probably in 1994. Upgraded to digital widescreen in 1998 with Thomson 1657s. Gallery monitors replaced. TC6 was home of Saturday morning kids’ TV from 1997-2006 with Live and Kicking, The Saturday Show and Dick and Dom in Da Bungalow. Also very popular with independent production companies. Never Mind the Buzzcocks a regular booking from 1996. TC6 received TC8’s 2-year old Sony E30 cameras in August 2006. New sound desk installed summer 2007. Received HD upgrade with 8 Sony HDC-1500 cameras (including 1080/50P capability) in July/August 2010 making it the fourth fully equipped HD studio at TVC. It became the first 3D capable studio in the UK – with 3D stereoscopic monitors in the production gallery. The equipment from TC6 (but not its cameras) was used to refurbish Elstree D. The final recording was an edition of Pointless on 21st December 2012 but equipment remained in place well into 2013 due to delays in refurbishing Elstree D. This studio did not survive the redevelopment.|
|TC7||62 x 40 ft. (So 2 feet longer than TC2 and TC5). Opened in July 1965 with Marconi Mk IV black and white cameras. Colourised with EMI 2001 cameras, reopening in May 1968. It was the first studio in the UK with these cameras. Home of Play School from 1968 when it moved here from Riverside until 1988 . Refurbished in 1979 with Link 110 cameras. (The EMI 2001s were sent to the newly-opened Greenwood Theatre for another 2 years’ use.) Link 110s replaced with Link 125s from another studio in about 1992. In 1994 Thomson 1647s installed and a major refit carried out which included rebuilding and enlarging the gallery suite in preparation for it to be used for news-related programmes. Sony 7000 series vision mixer installed. TC7 was home of Swap Shop, Saturday Superstore, Going Live and early series of Live and Kicking before News dept arrived in 1997. Thomson 1657 widescreen cameras installed in 1997. New Sony BVP-E30 cameras installed in 2004. New Sony 8000 vision mixer installed over Christmas 2007. Newsround moved to Salford in autumn of 2011. Breakfast moved to Salford in April 2012. TC7 was vacated by Newsnight in October 2012 when it transferred to New Broadcasting House, W1. It continued to be used for the 6 o’Clock News until 15th March 2013. TC7 was lost in the redevelopment.|
|TC8||90 x 72 ft. Opened in the autumn of 1967 with Marconi Mk VII colour cameras which were replaced with EMI 2001s in 1968. Designed as LE studio and the only one at TVC to have retractable audience seating installed from the outset. No asbestos said to be used in its construction so only studio not to have had wall panels replaced. Only studio with ventilation ducts spread all over grid so air conditioning usually very good here. First studio with Q-File lighting console and Thyristor dimmers. In 1978 fitted with Link 110 cameras with Schneider lenses (much nicer than Varotals.) New sound desk installed in 1981. Link 125s ex TV Theatre installed in 1991 along with 16 channel GVG 1600 vision mixer also ex TV-Theatre. Mixer later replaced with 24-channel GVG 1600 ex Lime Grove. Major refurb including rebuilding of gallery suite completed in November 1994. (The visitor’s ‘well’ in front of the monitor stack in the production gallery was removed.) New widescreen Thomson 1657 cameras and Thomson 9500 vision mixer installed. This was the first digital widescreen studio at TVC. Sound desk and dimmers not replaced at this time and major headaches caused to both sound and lighting departments for several years until eventual upgrading about five years later. New Sony BVP-E30 cameras installed in 2004. Vision mixer also replaced with GVG Zodiak which a year later was moved to TC9. Sony DVS9000 vision mixer installed in 2005. Equipped with Sony HDC-1500 high definition cameras in summer 2006 and full HD vision installation completed in January 2007 including new Sony MVS 8000 vision mixer. New 5.1 sound desk installed in Jan 2008. TC8 was the favourite studio for comedy for many years and dozens of sitcoms were made here. After TC1 it had the largest working floor area when the audience seating was in use. It always was the most popular studio at TVC amongst programme makers. Miranda was the last sitcom series to be recorded in this studio in October 2012. The studio continued in use recording a gameshow – Five Minutes to a Fortune – until 26th March 2013. Its equipment was then transferred to stage 9 at Elstree. Under the redevelopment plans it was for a while considered to be kept on by Stanhope and the BBC since stage 4 (the Spur) was going to be retained – and TC8 was part of stage 4. However, it was not to be. This studio is certainly the one that is missed the most. It was razed to the ground in the late summer of 2015.|
Was at one time to be the name of a new TV Theatre to be built as the second part of stage 5. Plans abandoned in 1989.
The later TC9 was an irregular shape, about 30 x 30ft average dimensions but also had a corridor and small seating area which could be used for interviews. Converted from old make-up store on the ground floor of the Restaurant Block in 1996. Fitted with Thomson 1657 cameras which had been in use in Pres A for a year or two. Used as continuity studio for children’s programmes on BBC1 and BBC2. Converted to widescreen in late ’90s. In 2004 became continuity studio for CBBC channel and CBBC on BBC Prime. Ex-TC8 GVG Zodiak vision mixer installed in 2005. The studio no longer used for CBBC continuity from late 2006. TC9 unused for about nine months even though it was on long-term booking by Children’s dept. However, from Sep 2007 it became the new home of SMart and TMi. Old Thomsons said to have become unreliable and overdue for replacement. Studio mothballed again early in 2008 but was brought back into use in autumn 2008 for another series of TMi using TC2’s ten year old Thomson 1657s. After several more months of inactivity it was used again for TMi from September 2009 and again in 2010. Blue Peter occasionally used TC9 in 2010. Since the BP Garden was outside the door it is perhaps surprising this hadn’t happened before. Early in 2011 the studio was closed and its equipment removed.
|TC10||30 x 40 ft. Originally news studio N1 – initially used for BBC1 news bulletins – opened in 1969 with 4 x Marconi Mk VII colour cameras from AP & TC8. In 1981 replaced by Bosch KCP 60s. In the early 1990s replaced with Thomson 1647 CCD cameras. Closed in 1998 when news moved to stage 6. Renamed TC10 but not refurbished due to lack of funds. Eventually reopened with JVC KY-29D cameras in 2000 for UK Play channel to use for The Phone Zone which then became TOTP@Play daily afternoon show. This channel closed down in September 2002. From 2002 – 2004 was used as VR studio. During this period was also used to make new version of Treasure Hunt for Chatsworth. From 2004, TC10 was used for presentation and continuity for children’s programmes on BBC1 and BBC2 replacing TC9 in this role. From April 2006 daily Level Up show based here. This replaced X-Change on CBBC channel. Level Up ended its run in Sep ’06. This studio was then on long-term booking to Children’s dept and various children’s series used the studio. From summer 2010 became home of CBeebies, which returned from Teddington. Studio closed in 2012 and equipment removed. However, used for Charlie Brooker’s Weekly Wipe in Jan 2013 using ‘One Box’ flyaway kit.|
|TC11||50 x 40 ft. Originally news studio N2 – opened in 1969 with 4 x Marconi Mk VII colour cameras ex TC8. In 1981 replaced by Bosch KCP 60s. Initially used for BBC2 and weekend news bulletins. In 1985 the lobby area and props store between N1 and N2 was taken over by this studio and its size increased – although this addition had a low ceiling. This studio then became the home of BBC1’s Six and flagship Nine o’Clock News. In the early 1990s cameras replaced with Thomson 1647 CCD cameras. Closed in 1998 when news moved to stage 6. Renamed TC11 but not refurbished due to lack of funds. Opened again early in 2002 with JVC KY-29D cameras when Liquid News moved here from TC0. 60 Second News set built in the low-ceilinged end for the new BBC Three channel which replaced BBC Choice in Feb 2003. Liquid News ended in April 2004. The studio was then the home of BBC Three’s 7 o’Clock News. This was axed in December 2005. The studio was used early in 2006 as a temporary news studio whilst the main studios in Stage 6 were being refurbished. Around 2006 Sony 8000 vision mixer installed. TC11 became part of the BBC Studios portfolio again and available for general programming. Used for Strictly Come Dancing spin-off It Takes Two in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011. Sometimes used as a rehearsal room. TC11 received some of TC6’s Sony E30 cameras in the summer of 2010. 2011 Comic Relief ‘Smithy round table meeting’ sketch shot here. Studio closed in 2012 and equipment removed.|
|TC12||About 30 x 20 ft. Originally built as control room of music studio. First used as TV studio in 2004 for interactive CBBC show Nelly Nut. Later used for other CBBC shows including Sportsround. Up to 2 cameras were borrowed from TC0 as and when required. From late in 2006 became the continuity studio for CBBC using a CSO (chromakey) backing to overlay presenters on top of graphics. New presenter/puppet CBBC continuity from summer 2007. This moved to converted studio in East Tower early in 2008. Studio used by BBC R & D dept. until they moved to Salford in 2013.|
|Pres A||32 x 22 ft. Opened in 1960 as monochrome studio with EMI 201 Vidicon cameras. Originally intended as in-vision continuity studio but only used as this for a few years (until at least 1963). 3 x Marconi MkVII colour cameras installed in 1968 ex TC6. Became used as weather and trails studio. Link 110s installed around 1980. Weather left to go to new purpose-built weather centre in TVC around 1990. Thomson 1657 cameras installed around 1994. Used as continuity studio for children’s programmes until closure in 1996. Cameras moved down to TC9. Was never converted to widescreen. The studio was later converted to offices.|
|Pres B||32 x 22 ft. Opened around 1964 as monochrome studio with EMI 201 Vidicon cameras. Originally intended as in-vision continuity studio for planned second channel (BBC2) but never used for this purpose. Colour tests with 3 Peto-Scott (Philips) PC60s, then 3 different cameras in 1966. 3 x Marconi MkVII colour cameras installed in 1968 ex TC6. Used for a number of small shows including Late Night Line-Up, Points of View and Barry Norman’s Film ‘xx series. Famously, the original home of Old Grey Whistle Test. Link 110s installed around 1980. Due to fewer and fewer bookings the studio closed around the end of 1996. he studio was later converted to offices.|
If you spot any errors or can fill in any of the blanks do get in touch!
I am of course aware that there were a number of news and weather studios distributed around the building. However, these do not come under my self-imposed remit of only including studios around London that make a range of different programmes. I know I have included the old news studios N1 and N2 above but only because they then became used for general entertainment programmes when they were renamed TC10 and TC11.
However, just for the record there were in stage 6 three news studios – used for the BBC News Channel (N8), BBC World News (N9) and the regular main bulletins on BBC1 (N6) – except for the 6 o’Clock News which came from TC7. These all ended on March 15th 2013 when operations moved to New Broadcasting House. I’m told that there was no N7 as it might be confused with TC7 – therefore the BBC Club was referred to as N7 when planning a swift pint. (Rather similar to studio 6 at LWT.)
The last programmes
For some reason many people are interested to establish which was the last programme made in each of the studios. I have a copy of the final studio schedule so am pretty sure it’s right. Anyway – here goes:
TC1 – March 25, 2013 – When Miranda Met Brucie
TC2 – March 29, 2013 – Hat Trick pilot. (Do you know its name? This may have been a pencilled booking that was not taken up. Can you confirm? Prior to that was a pilot called Cashpoint on March 20 although the galleries were used for the Madness concert on March 22.)
TC3 – March 29, 2013 – Who’s Asking? (pilot)
TC4 – March 29, 2013 – CBeebies pilot. (Do you know its name? This was a single-camera shoot as the galleries had been stripped of all equipment in January. The studio was used for several shows between Jan and March using an OB truck for facilities.)
TC5 – November 6, 2012 US Election special. (Sport dept vacated the studio on November 26, 2011)
TC6 – December 21, 2012 – Pointless
TC7 – March 15, 2013 – 6 o’Clock News
TC8 -March 26, 2013 – Five Minutes to a Fortune (Last sitcom was Miranda on October 14, 2012)