Havelock House, Belfast
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Havelock House, located on the Ormeau Road in Belfast, is the current headquarters of Wireless Group plc (formerly UTV Media). The building is home to the company's local radio service U105 and the television channel UTV, which transferred ownership to ITV plc in February 2016. It has been home of UTV since the station went on air in 1959.
Before the building was converted into a television studio complex, Havelock House was the former site of a hemstitching warehouse. During World War II, the building was the billet for troops to provide cover for Belfast's bridges. Ulster Television acquired the premises at the cost of £17,000.
Initially, the building contained one studio. A second studio was opened in the building in 1962. Construction of an extension to Havelock House began in 1992 in preparation for the station's new franchise period and its upcoming rebranding. The extension was opened on 4 June 1993, the day the station rebranded itself from Ulster Television to UTV, and the official opening of the extension was performed by former UTV newsreader, Gloria Hunniford.
For many years, Ulster Television's studio base at Havelock House was also used by television film crews around the world to process and edit film footage of "The Troubles". ITN reporters were also regularly seen reporting on the rooftop of Havelock House, including former UTV reporter John Irvine.
The local news programme UTV Live is broadcast from the building's Studio 1. Studio 2 was used for many years for production of the Kelly Show, the top rated Friday night chatshow on UTV hosted by Gerry Kelly from 1989-2005. The studio was also used for light entertainment programmes such as McKeever and May McFettridge specials. However in recent years due to cost cutting, UTV has stopped making these types of shows and thus Studio 2 has remained mostly unused.
Havelock House also houses a smaller studio with a chroma key background, from where short UTV News bulletins and continuity announcements were broadcast until October 2016. This studio, which formed part of UTV's Central Technical Area, had been in use since 2002 when it replaced Studio 3, another smaller presentation studio used for in-vision continuity and shorter news bulletins. The location of the old Central Technical Area and Studio 3 were completely renovated in January 2003 and converted into office space for UTV Internet, which moved from a leased office site in Bruce Street in March 2003.
Among other series recorded in the studios at Havelock House include Kelly, School Around the Corner, McKeever and All Mixed Up.