Jump to content

The London Studios

Coordinates: 51°30′26″N 0°06′45″W / 51.50733°N 0.11237°W / 51.50733; -0.11237
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Redirected from London Studios)

The London Studios
The London Studios is located in London Borough of Lambeth
The London Studios
The London Studios is located in Greater London
The London Studios
Location in Greater London
Former namesThe South Bank Television Centre
Alternative namesThe ITV Studios
London Television Centre
ITV Towers
LWT Tower
General information
TypeTelevision studios
LocationLambeth, London
AddressUpper Ground,
SE1 9LT[1]
Coordinates51°30′26″N 0°06′45″W / 51.50733°N 0.11237°W / 51.50733; -0.11237
Elevation85 m (279 ft)
Construction started1969
ClosedStudios closed 30 April 2018
OwnerITV plc (2013–2019)
Mitsubishi Estate London (2019–)[2][3]
Technical details
Floor count24
Floor area2.5 acres
Design and construction
Architect(s)EPR Architects
Structural engineerClarke Nicholls and Marcel, Civil and Structural Engineers
Main contractorHiggs and Hill

The London Studios (also known as The South Bank Studios, The London Television Centre, ITV Tower, Kent House and LWT Tower) in Lambeth, Central London was a television studio complex owned by ITV plc and originally built for London Weekend Television. The studios were located in Central London, on the South Bank next to the IBM Building and the Royal National Theatre. The building was set on 2.5 acres of land and was 24 floors high. The London Studios closed on 30 April 2018. Many ITV programmes now come from Television Centre in White City, London.

The facilities were the main studios for ITV, along with a number of production companies including ITV Studios and Shiver based in Kent House tower, while the studios were home to many entertainment, game and daytime shows. These included Good Morning Britain, The Graham Norton Show, Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway and The Jonathan Ross Show. The studios were also used for other programmes from various other channels including BBC Television and Channel 4. ITV Creative, which promotes programmes on the ITV network, was also based at the London Studios.


When LWT succeeded ATV as the London weekend ITV franchisee in 1968, it rented Associated-Rediffusion's old studios at Wembley (later known as The Fountain Studios) while plans for a new studio complex in central London were drawn up.

The chosen site stood beside the then new Royal National Theatre on the South Bank of the River Thames. It was bought in 1969, and construction work, awarded to Higgs and Hill, began in 1970. The centre opened for transmission in 1972, though it was not fully operational until 1974. The complex was owned by the pension fund of the National Coal Board and leased by the station. It was originally called The South Bank Television Centre (a name that lasted until the early 1990s) and at the time was the most advanced television centre in Europe.

On 28 January 2013 ITV plc finally bought the freehold of the now renamed London Television Centre for £56 million from what had become Coal Pension Properties.[4][5][6]

On social media, the building is named 'ITV Towers' since the purchase in January 2013. The official name of the building is The London Television Centre (with the studio business branded as 'The London Studios'), that being the logo in reception and around the building.

The site closed in April 2018 for demolition. Initially, ITV intended to redevelop the site with three smaller studios, but in October 2018 it announced it would not be returning to the South Bank, and the whole site would be redeveloped into premium housing.[7]

In November 2019, it was announced that ITV had reached an agreement to sell The London Studios for £145.6 million to Mitsubishi Estate London.[3][2] New plans for the redevelopment of the site into a commercial development were revealed in February 2021.[8]

The building[edit]

Kent House Tower[edit]

Kent House Tower

Kent House is a 24-storey tower block, and was home to ITV plc and many production offices including ITV Studios and Shiver Productions. During the 1990s the block was also home to Carlton Television and GMTV. It was seen in the titles of Good Morning Britain and Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway. The tower housed programme production offices, edit suites, dubbing suites, VTR studio booths and graphic booths.

Main Studio Block[edit]

Building entrance

Sandwiched between Kent House Tower and the River Thames is the main studio block, housing studios 1, 2, 3, 5 and 7, the restaurant, the takeaway bar (prior studio cafe), management offices, edit facilities, make-up and wardrobe. It was designed by London-based architecture practice Elsom Pack & Roberts.

Gabriel's Wharf[edit]

On the east side of the site, there is a neighbouring building called Gabriel's Wharf. Previously belonging to Younger's Brewery, this three-storey building was added later to the site as a scenery store. When This Morning moved from Liverpool, the 3,000 square feet (280 m2) studio 8 was converted from the riverside end of the first storey. This area was on lease[9] from Coin Street Community Builders to ITV until 2018, when they left the premises.


There were a total of nine different studios during the complex's lifespan. By the time of closure there were six. There were weather studios producing the ITV national, and some of the network's regional forecasts at ITN's headquarters in Gray's Inn Road.

  • Studio 1 – 8,350 sq ft (776 m2) – The largest studio on the complex. This studio was home to programmes such as All Star Family Fortunes, All Star Mr & Mrs, The Graham Norton Show, Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway and Text Santa. The studio had a permanent fixed balcony seating area which, along with movable seating, could accommodate audiences of up to 638. This made the studio popular for large audience based shows. Studio 1 was upgraded to HD in December 2009.
  • Studio 2 – 7,271 sq ft (675.5 m2) – The second largest on the complex housed shows such as Piers Morgan's Life Stories, The Alan Titchmarsh Show, Let's Do Lunch with Gino & Mel, Have I Got News for You and It'll Be Alright on the Night. The studio could accommodate large audiences of up to 462. The studio could also be used as a bare shell as the audience seating structure could be moved out. Studio 2 was upgraded to HD in the summer of 2009.
  • Studio 3 – 3,136 sq ft (291.3 m2) – This studio housed daily chatshow Loose Women, political chat show Peston on Sunday and ITV Breakfast programme Lorraine. The studio could accommodate audiences of up to 150. The studio also had an "in-the-round" seating feature with up to 108 audience capacity, with the presenters and set in the middle with the audiences seated around them. It briefly became the home of GMTV from July to September 2010 before the launch of Daybreak. This studio then became the home for Daybreak between September 2012 and April 2014. Studio 3 was upgraded to HD in the summer of 2012.
  • Studio 4 – Located in the tower block, LWT’s in-vision continuity was broadcast from here until out-of-vision continuity was introduced, when studio 4 was closed. It was then converted back to offices.
  • Studio 5 – 2,268 sq ft (210.7 m2) – Based at the bottom of Kent House. This studio was previously used by GMTV from January 1993 to July 2010 (before it temporarily moved to Studio 3), The Big Match from 1972 to 1992 and World of Sport from 1972 to 1985. From April 2014, Good Morning Britain began using this studio.
  • Studio 6 – There has never been a 'Studio 6' on the complex. There is however a bar and restaurant in Gabriel's Wharf next door named 'Studio Six'.
  • Studio 7 – 2,050 sq ft (190 m2) – Located in the studio block on the river's bank, this studio presented panoramic views over the London skyline, including St. Paul’s Cathedral, through its floor-to-ceiling windows. Studio 7 was home to the London News Network’s local news bulletins from 1993 until 2004. It was built in 1993 for the newly created London News Network, a company which provided local news for the ITV Network in London. Prior to 1993, LWT, the London weekend ITV franchisee, had produced news bulletins for London on Friday evenings, Saturdays and Sundays from studio 10, whilst Thames Television had provided its own news during the rest of the week from its own studios. The new partnership between the new London weekday licensee Carlton and LWT meant one news bulletin would be seen all week, London Tonight. After the Carlton and Granada merger to form ITV plc however, LNN was disbanded and Independent Television News took over the contract. London Tonight is now produced in their studios on Grays Inn Road. It was then used as the home of ITV Sport and also for Loose Women, I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! NOW!, Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two, and various specials for Canadian television. ITV's breakfast programme Daybreak used the studio from 6 September 2010 to 31 August 2012. For the launch of Daybreak, the studio was converted to high-definition. It continued to be used by ITV Sport, most recently for its coverage of IPL Cricket on ITV4, as well as use for CBBC's Friday Download.
  • Studio 8 – 2,958 sq ft (274.8 m2) – This studio was located beside the main complex in the building known as Gabriel’s Wharf. Daytime show This Morning occupied this studio after the show moved to London from Liverpool in 1996. It had four large one-way mirrored windows overlooking the Thames which appeared silver from the outside, restricting people being able to see in from the outside and reducing glare inside.
  • Studio 9 – This small studio was used when ITV2 used in-vision announcers and was located next to studio 7. It was used for the studio's tapeless recording system allowing editors to edit programmes shortly after they were recorded.
  • Studio 10 – Studio 10 was on the 10th floor of the tower and was used for London’s weekend and Friday evening’s local news (produced originally by LWT) as well as Crime Monthly before studio 7 was built. This studio was equipped with Phillips cameras and a show entitled Talk TV was output from here for Talk Digital Channel before the studio was converted into offices in 2003. The studio was visible from the South Bank by looking towards the tower with your back facing St. Paul's Cathedral and noting the studio’s windows (which are slightly blue and clearer in comparison to the other windows).


The studios were originally built by the London weekend ITV franchise holder, London Weekend Television (LWT). In 1991, Carlton Television won the London weekday franchise from Thames Television, but unlike Thames, Carlton had no studios of its own. Carlton rented space from The London Studios from 1993 for its own post-production and continuity facilities. This arrangement continued until 2002, when an agreement was reached for Carlton to be permanently based within space used by LWT; in the intervening years LWT had been taken over by Granada plc, and a close relationship had developed between Granada and Carlton. This led to consolidation within the ITV network and an agreement for the two to work together as ITV London.

Since 2002, all the ITV plc-owned regions' continuity before national programmes has been presented from the London Studios, as well as continuity before regional programmes in the following regions: Meridian, Westcountry, HTV West, Anglia, the non-franchise ITV Thames Valley region and since 2006 HTV Wales, although between 2002 and 2006 the Welsh station's continuity was recorded and sent electronically to London. The complex also housed the continuity of ITV plc's digital channels ITV2, ITV3, ITV4 and CITV. The site also handled the playout of all the above until 2007, when the service was outsourced to Technicolor Network Services (TNS) (now part of Ericsson). The play-out is now run from Ericsson's broadcast centre in Chiswick.

Ericsson now provides network feeds to transmission centres in Leeds (home of the Northern Transmission Centre, which was also originally taken over by TNS as part of the outsourcing deal) and Glasgow (STV).

ITV Studios[edit]

In 1994, Granada Group took over LWT and acquired the building. When ITV franchises were permitted to take one another over in the 1990s (which had previously been restricted), Carlton and Granada, between the two companies, eventually owned all the franchises in England and Wales. By the time the two companies merged in 2004, all of Carlton's studios had either been sold, or were surplus to requirements, so were sold soon after. Although the parent companies merged, and are now one (called ITV plc), Granada Television Ltd still exists as a subsidiary of ITV plc, and owns all ITV plc's studios (wholly in Leeds and London, and formerly as a joint venture with BBC Studios & Post Production in Manchester).

The studios produced the bulk of original ITV Studios' programmes, but anyone could hire the studios, so the studios were often seen on other channels' programmes.

Notable programmes[edit]

The London Studios was home to many popular programmes. List of shows, studio used and network broadcast on below:

Years Programme Channel Studio
1972–1992 LWT in-vision continuity LWT Studio 4
1972–1975 Upstairs, Downstairs ITV Studio 2
1972–1992 The Big Match Studio 5
1972–1985 World of Sport
1977–2016 It'll Be Alright On The Night Studio 2
1978–2010 The South Bank Show Studio 5
1978–2012 An Audience With... Studio 1
1980–1987, 1994–1999, 2002–2003 Play Your Cards Right
1981–1985 Game for a Laugh
1982–1988 The 6 O'Clock Show LWT
1984–2001, 2003, 2012–15 Surprise Surprise ITV
1985–2003, 2017–2018 Blind Date ITV and Channel 5 Studios 1 & 2
1988–1998 Hale and Pace ITV Studio 1
1989–1992 News & Six O'Clock Live LWT Studio 10
1989–1991 Sale of the Century Sky One Studio 1
1989–1994 Desmond's Channel 4 Unknown
1990–2018 Have I Got News for You BBC Two and BBC One Studio 2
1991–2009 British Comedy Awards ITV Studio 1
1993–2010 GMTV Studio 5
1993–2004 LNN programmes Carlton & LWT Studio 7
1994–1995 Don't Forget Your Toothbrush Channel 4 Studio 1
1995–1998 Father Ted Channel 4
1995–2005 Jonathan Dimbleby ITV Studio 3
1996–1999 Michael Barrymore's Strike It Rich Studio 1
1996–2018 This Morning Studio 8
1998-2002 My Kind of Music Studio 1
1998–2003 SMTV Live Studio 2
1999–2018 Loose Women Studio 3
2000–2010 Pride of Britain Awards Unknown
2001–2002, 2016 Blankety Blank Studio 1
2002–2009, 2013–2018 Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway
2002 I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! The Reunion
2003–2018 QI BBC Two
2004–2005, 2007–2009, 2013–2015 The Paul O'Grady Show ITV and Channel 4 Studio 2
2005–2007 Gameshow Marathon ITV Studio 1
2005 Avenue of the Stars: 50 Years of ITV
2006–2015 All Star Family Fortunes
2007–2018 The Graham Norton Show BBC One
2007 That's What I Call Television ITV
This Is Your Life
2010 The Krypton Factor
The 5 O'Clock Show Channel 4 Studio 3
2010–2018 Lorraine ITV
2010–2014 Daybreak Studios 3 & 7
2010–2011 Paul O'Grady Live Studio 1
2010, 2012 The British Soap Awards
2010–2013 (daytime), 2011–2018 (celebrity) The Chase
2011–2016 The Jonathan Ross Show
2011–2015 Text Santa
2011–2014 The Alan Titchmarsh Show Studio 2
Let's Do Lunch with Gino & Mel
2012–2018 Piers Morgan's Life Stories
The Last Leg Channel 4
2012–2013, 2015 The One and Only... ITV Studio 1
2012 Dale's Great Getaway
2013, 2016–2017 Catchphrase Studio 2
2013–2016 Strictly: It Takes Two BBC Two Studio 7
2014–2015 Celebrity Squares ITV Studio 2
2014–2015 Miranda BBC One
2014–2018 The Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice BBC Two and Channel 4
Good Morning Britain ITV Studio 5
2015 Pick Me! Studio 2
Get Your Act Together Studio 1
2016 Go for It Studios 1 & 2
Naked Attraction Channel 4 Unknown
2016–2018 Unspun with Matt Forde Dave Studio 2
Peston on Sunday ITV Studio 3
2017 Babushka Studio 1
Don't Ask Me Ask Britain Studio 2
The Fake News Show Channel 4
2017–2018 Harry Hill's Alien Fun Capsule ITV
CelebAbility ITV2 Unknown


  1. ^ "Contact us". www.itvplc.com. Retrieved 14 March 2020.
  2. ^ a b "ITV confirms South Bank studios sale". TVBEurope. 8 November 2019. Retrieved 8 November 2019.
  3. ^ a b "ITV sells off London Television Centre". Televisual. 8 November 2019. Retrieved 8 November 2019.
  4. ^ "Dozens of possible bidders for ITV studios". The Independent. London. 16 December 2012. Archived from the original on 18 June 2022.
  5. ^ "ITV buys its London headquarters for £56 million". Property Mall. 28 January 2013. Retrieved 28 January 2013.
  6. ^ "ITV buys London HQ" (Press release). ITV plc. 28 January 2013. Archived from the original on 13 June 2013. Retrieved 28 January 2013.
  7. ^ Sweney, Mark (9 October 2018). "ITV to sell South Bank studios". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 11 January 2019.
  8. ^ Jessel, Ella (18 February 2021). "Make reveals plans to redevelop ITV's former South Bank HQ".
  9. ^ "Gabriel's Wharf". Coin Street Community Builders. Retrieved 11 March 2019.

External links[edit]