as a TV studio: 1978 – 1992
as a sound facility: probably early ’70s to 1978. 1992 – present.
Rich James tells me that he worked for De Lane Lea in 1974 and the studio in the basement at No. 75 was at that time being used as a Foley dubbing studio. He doesn’t recall any TV equipment being around at that time. He does remember that the dubbing mixer was called Ted. Good old Ted. According to Wikipedia it was also used around this time as an orchestral recording studio.
In 1978 it began use as a TV studio owned by Trilion. The owners of Trilion, Norman and Barry Sheffield, had a connection with De Lane Lea. They had been using a studio in Brewer Street for a couple of years for commercials and pop videos but it was very small. They therefore took over the sound studio in the basement here and converted it into a TV studio. Trilion also equipped it with BT lines so they could do live shows from here.
Neil Wilson recalls that this studio was much bigger than the Brewer St one. He says it was basically a 4-waller although it did have a lighting grid. OB trucks were used for facilities. Each truck was a 2-camera unit so for 4 cameras they had to use two trucks. Both studios were kept on and an OB truck often moved between the studios when required.
Andrew Hewkin tells me that he can’t remember any details but it had a cyclorama and smooth TV floor that was often repainted for different shows. Kevin Townsend has kindly written to me. He often worked in the studio from 1989 on some shows for Sky. One regular booking was Sky By Day – a magazine programme hosted by Tony Blackburn and Jenny Handley and directed by Phil Bishop. It went out between 10.00 and 11.30 on weekdays. There were usually a few post recordings after transmission and then the studio was turned round in the afternoon for The Frank Bough Interview, which went out on Sky News between 7pm and 8pm. This show was directed by Bob Marsland but the camera crew worked on both shows – who had to kill four or five hours every afternoon in the local pub – or far more likely they visited London’s many museums and art galleries. Of course they did.
Trilion folded in December 1992 so it is likely that the studio closed then. Neil Wilson can (just about) remember some wild reunion parties here till around 1990.
The studio then reverted to a sound recording facility once again for De Lane Lea and they are still based here. The ex-TV studio is now apparently the biggest dubbing theatre in London and is called studio 1 by them. De Lane Lea’s website states that studio 1 is 17m x 9m which is approximately 56ft by 30ft. The building contains 6 dubbing studios in total. The company specialises in Foley and ADR – many TV dramas and well-known feature films have had sound post production work done here over the years.
In November 2012 this facility was purchased by Warner Bros to be used for post production supporting their film studios in Leavesden. It is now called ‘ WB De Lane Lea ‘.
In case you were wondering (of course you were), the company was named after Major Jaques De Lane Lea – a French intelligence attaché for the British Government who founded the business in 1947 to dub English films into French. Well I never.
I visited this studio myself in 2004. My son (who was 10 at the time) was cast as the call-boy in the highly acclaimed film Stage Beauty, directed by Richard Eyre. He had a few lines and had to go to this dubbing theatre to do a bit of ADR (‘Automated Dialogue Replacement’ or possibly ‘Additional Dialogue Recording’ or maybe even the ‘European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road’ according to Wikipedia. If you are American – ‘looping’). Like a pro he took only 2 takes to get it right which was a shame as I was enjoying being there and watching how they did it. The clip was played on the screen with an audible and visible countdown to the beginning of the dialogue which of course had to be spoken in perfect sync with the pictures. Fascinating.
Incidentally, it seems that Good Earth Studio at number 59 was renamed Dean Street Studios but that is not to be confused with this studio, which is located at number 75 – or indeed the Intertel studio which was at number 66.