Although the studios below are closely associated with the history of ITV they have in many cases operated as independent studios for a number of years. Rather than separate those periods out and put them on the ‘Independent TV Studios’ page on this site I have kept all the information about them together on this page for clarity.
This section of the website looks at each studio in turn as it relates to the history of ITV. (Yes, I know that technically TV-am and GMTV were not part of ITV but they were very much part of its history.) Each new franchise period saw ITV companies come and go and these changes affected the studios and who occupied them. Confusingly, with some studios I have dealt with all these periods in one section, in others I have separated them out. Whilst dealing with each ITV studio centre in turn it might help along the way to briefly explain how the channel came into being and how its various constituent companies came and went. Their story is very closely linked with several of the studios. There are some very good websites and books that cover this aspect of television history in detail so I shall simply summarise it here. Please note that the ITV history continues at the bottom of some of the individual studio entries so do keep scrolling down!
We are used to referring to that particular network channel simply as ‘ITV’ but when it began in September 1955 it was a complex arrangement of 4, building to 14, regional companies – each with a remit to make and broadcast programmes to its own part of the UK.
(NB – The ITV Bovingdon studio is covered in the London’s Film Studios section as it is basically a 4-waller sound stage rather than a fully equipped TV studio.)
Studios and dates listed below in the order they were created:
NB – I have where possible given the dimensions of the studios. This can be a bit of a minefield. The BBC’s studios, Fountain, Teddington, Riverside and even Pinewood TV always had their plans drawn in metric 50:1 but for some reason The London Studios (LWT) still used the 1/4 inch to the foot scale until 2014. This slight but significant difference could cause problems if a set moved from one studio to another with plans of a different scale as it might not fit!
Also, for marketing purposes the size of a studio is often quoted wall to wall. However, most of them have fire lanes running round each side so the available space for cameras and sets is somewhat smaller. Some firelanes are very narrow – others can be as much as 8 feet wide. Where possible I have quoted sizes within firelanes and in ‘metric feet’ where applicable. This curious measurement was adopted by the BBC and is 30cm in length. (If you think back to your old school rulers, they had 12 inches on one side and 30cm, which is very slightly less, on the other.) It does mean that a studio that is marked as 90 metric feet long is actually 88ft 6ins long.
Most TV studios have their length and width within the firelanes clearly marked along the walls and/or on the floor in metric feet or metres. This enables the scene crew to put the set up exactly where it was drawn on the designer’s plan. This very useful facility is never seen on film stages which, incidentally, are still measured in feet and inches.
Copyright information: As on the rest of this website – please do not use or ask permission to use any of these images in books or other publications or on TV programmes or commercially run websites. Many of the illustrations are copyrighted by their respective copyright holders according to the original copyright or publication date as printed on the artwork or publication and are reproduced here for historical reference and research purposes. If you do own the copyright to any image displayed here and wish it to be credited or removed, please contact me and I shall of course be happy to oblige.
An apology – firstly for all those errors which are almost certainly still sprinkled throughout the website. I shall do my best to put them right when I discover them or when somebody contacts me with the facts! Secondly – I am very aware that I have almost completely ignored sound in all my comments about studio equipment. It’s not that I’m not interested, rather that I am far better informed about cameras and lighting and frankly there is very little information out there about which sound mixer was installed in what studio and when. That’s my excuse anyway.
Important Copyright Information
A little word of warning to students: the written material on this site is copyright. You may not copy it and use it as your own work! Please – if you are wishing to use any written material for publication in a book, TV or radio programme or on-line, feel free to ask and I shall try to be as helpful as possible.
Do not assume that any images are free to be copied or used elsewhere. Most have been sent to me with the intention of being used only on this website and I can’t say it is OK to use them anywhere else. Some are personal photographs, others may have been copied from publications without my knowledge.
Please don’t write to me asking for permission to use the images. That permission is not mine to give. If you believe that you own the copyright to any image displayed here and wish it to be removed – or just perhaps given a credit if one is missing – I will of course be happy to oblige. Many of the illustrations are copyrighted by their respective copyright holders according to the original copyright or publication date as printed on the artwork or publication and are reproduced here simply for historical reference, educational and research purposes.