|Address||Crisp Road, W6 9RL
|Type||Fringe Theatre, Cinema, Television Studio|
|Production||Celebrity Juice, The Apprentice: You're Fired!, The York Realist, TNT Show, You Have Been Watching, Zambezi Express|
|Opened||1975 as Riverside Studios|
|Closed||2014 for redevelopment|
Riverside Studios was a production studio, theatre and independent cinema on the banks of the River Thames in Hammersmith, London, England, that played host to contemporary and international dramatic and dance performance, film, visual art exhibitions and television production prior to closing for redevelopment in 2014. It is planned to reopen in 2018.
In 1933, the Triumph Film Company moved into what is now Riverside Studios, a former industrial warehouse in Crisp Road, London, picturesquely located on the Thames just south of the late Victorian Hammersmith Bridge. Under the ownership of Jack Buchanan, the company produced such films as The Happiest Days of Your Life (1950) and Father Brown (1954), starring Alec Guinness. In 1954, the studios were acquired by the BBC for its television service. Series 2 to 6 of Hancock's Half Hour (1957–60) were made at what was now the BBC Riverside Studios, along with other drama and music programmes, including the science-fiction classic Quatermass and the Pit (1958–59), early episodes of the long-running Doctor Who, and the children's programme Play School. The facility was in continuous use until the early 1970s, the rooftop camera position providing one of the highlights of the annual University Boat Race each Easter Saturday.
In 1975, after the BBC moved out, a charitable trust formed by Hammersmith and Fulham Council took control of the building. Soon afterwards, two large multi-purpose spaces shaped by architect Michael Reardon from the two main sound stages, and to be used for a mixed programme of live theatre, music, dance and film, and a functional foyer area with exposed industrial-style trunking and pipework was created as an always-open meeting point at the heart of the building.
In 1976, Peter Gill was appointed Riverside's first Artistic Director and soon established the Studios as a leading London arts venue with acclaimed productions of The Cherry Orchard with Judy Parfitt, Julie Covington and Michael Elphick (1978), The Changeling with Brian Cox (1979) and Measure for Measure (1980). During the 1980s, the Centre was the venue for the highly successful Dance Umbrella seasons, and hosted a huge variety of productions from across the world - including, notably, the work of Polish theatre maestro Tadeusz Kantor. An influential gallery area also flourished, under the direction of Greg Hilty. Channel 4's opening night launch party was held at the Studios in 1982. During the 1980s, the Riverside was also home to Motley Theatre Design Course, under the directorship of Margaret Harris. Following repeated financial crises, and the directorship of David Gothard, Riverside pulled in its horns.
William Burdett-Coutts (also Artistic Director of Edinburgh's Assembly Rooms) was appointed Artistic Director of Riverside Studios in 1993. The Studios' Cinema, with an eclectic repertory programme, became firmly established as a primary revenue stream to keep the Studios open, in addition to Arts Council of Great Britain and local authority funding, and there were fewer home-grown live productions. Studios 1 and 3 were lucratively used once more in the 1990s for broadcasting, including the Chris Evans vehicle TFI Friday. CD:UK was broadcast from Riverside from 2003 until 2006. Later projects included the BBC's Mighty Truck of Stuff (2005–6) and Channel 4's T4 (2006–9) and Popworld.
In 2014, Riverside Studios started undergoing a major new redevelopment, due for completion in 2018. London developer Mount Anvil, working in conjunction with A2 Dominion, are redeveloping Riverside Studios and the adjacent Queen's Wharf building as part of a combined mixed-use development. Assael Architecture, a local and national architectural firm, have been appointed to design the new build scheme, comprising purpose-built production studios, a cinema, theatre facilities, rehearsal space, a new riverside restaurant and café/bar along with 165 apartments. As part of the redevelopment a new riverside walkway will be created to connect the Thames Path to Hammersmith Bridge.
Selected television productions
- 1000 Heartbeats
- Celebrity Juice
- Fake Reaction
- Never Mind the Buzzcocks
- Open House
- Revenge of the Egghead
- Robert's Web
- Russell Howard's Good News
- Sweat the Small Stuff
- TFI Friday
- That Sunday Night Show
- The Apprentice: You're Fired!
- The Elaine Paige Show
- The Last Leg
- TNT Show
- Top of the Pops
- Virtually Famous
- You Have Been Watching
- Weekend Kitchen with Waitrose
Selected dramatic productions
- Spectacular by Forced Entertainment (2008)
- 1800 Acres by David Myers starring Cathy Tyson (2008)
- The New Electric Ballroom by Enda Walsh (2009)
- Salvage by Diane Glancy (2009)
- Windmill Baby (winner of the Patrick White Playwrights' Award) by David Milroy and Ningali Lawford (2009)
- The Little Mermaid by Blind Tiger Theatre Company (2013)
Selected dance productions
- Stormforce by Rophin Vianney (2006)
- Havana Rumba by Toby Gough (2009)
- Dancing on Your Grave by Lea Anderson's The Cholmondeleys and The Featherstonehaughs (2009)
- Mamootot by Batsheva Dance Company (2008)
- At Swim Two Boys by Earthfall Dance (2012)
Selected comedy shows
- Rhod Gilbert: Work In Progress
- Bill Bailey: Tinselworm
- Ed Byrne: Different Class
- Wil Anderson
- Count Arthur Strong: The Man Behind the Smile
- Russell Howard's Good News & Good News Extra
The cinema screened an eclectic variety of independent and foreign language films and was also known for its double bill programmes. It played regular host to the London Taiwanese, Italian, Polish and Deep Desires & Broken Dreams Gay Film Festival amongst others.
- William Burdett-Coutts. "AboutUs". Assembly Festival. Retrieved 11 June 2015.
- "Riverside Studios - Our History". Riverside Studios. Retrieved 16 February 2015.
- "What's On: Music, Film, & Things To Do in West London - Get West London".
- Taiwan Embassy
- "Italian Film Festival in Scotland – 7 – 20 March 2014".
- Polish Film Festival
- BB6: Introducing...
- Who's Who in the Theatre 17th edition, Gale Publishing (1982) ISBN 0-8103-0235-7
- Riverside Studios – official site
- Riverside TV Studios Ltd
- The Riverside Story
- Riverside Studios history