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Location within Greater London
|Former names||Associated-Rediffusion Studios
London Weekend Television
Lee International Film and Television Studios
Limehouse Television Studios
|Address||128 Wembley Park Drive,
A number of companies owned the site before it was purchased by Fountain in 1993. Originally a film studio complex, it was formerly the base for the ITV contractors Rediffusion (1955–68) and London Weekend Television (1968-72).
As of 2014, the studios are best known for being the venue for the live stages of ITV shows The X Factor and Britain's Got Talent. Other programmes made at Fountain include The Cube and The British Comedy Awards. Fountain Studios has also hosted Pop Idol, Test the Nation and The Kumars at No. 42.
The site was first owned by British Incorporated Pictures in 1927, but various projects were short-lived and the American Fox Film Company leased the studio for the production of their 'quota quickies' at the facility, prior to acquiring the studio outright in 1936. A change in the law in 1938 led 20th Century Fox to use other studios, but they retained ownership and Fox leased their Wembley studios to the military (during the war) and intermittently to independents.
The television studios were built by Associated-Rediffusion and opened in 1960. Their size and unique design attracted worldwide attention. Associated-Rediffusion were ITV weekday broadcasters for London. The first production was An Arabian Night with Orson Welles. Shows such as Ready Steady Go, No Hiding Place and Take Your Pick were to follow. During the 1960s the studios were home to some of the most popular programmes on the ITV network, including The Rat Catchers, Blackmail, At Last, The 1948 Show and The Frost Report. The Beatles appeared on more than one occasion at the studios.
When Associated-Rediffusion lost its weekday ITV franchise in 1968, the television studio entered a difficult period. For a time it became LWT’s broadcast base and was used to record shows such as On the Buses, Please Sir and Upstairs Downstairs. The 1970s through to the 1990s saw the demise and demolition of the film studio complex, and it declined as a television studio under many different owners.
Fountain Television started its existence as a studio and post production facility in New Malden, Surrey in 1985. After hosting shows such as Ready Steady Cook and Wizadora, the company took the opportunity to purchase the badly run down Wembley site in 1993 for redevelopment.
Studio 5 (now known as Studio A & Studio B), is 14,000 sq ft including the firelanes. This makes it the largest fully equipped television studio in Britain – 500 sq ft larger than HQ1 at MediaCityUK in Salford and 2,000 sq ft larger than Studio 1 at BBC Television Centre. Internationally, larger studios exist in Germany and in the United States, although many of these fall into the category of soundstages and are not fully equipped television studios.
By 1993 the Studios in Wembley were closed and badly run-down. Fountain undertook the daunting task of the refurbishment and by 1994 the first shows began to trickle in. Hearts of Gold with Esther Rantzen, Talking Telephone Numbers and The Day Today were amongst the first shows to use Fountain's facilities.
An unusual feature of the studios is a soundproof double door which can be lowered in 30 minutes to reconfigure the space into two separate studios, each with their own independent control facilities.
Fountain Studios is home to many popular entertainment programmes. List of shows, studio used and network broadcast on below: