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End of an era: The iconic home of BBC TV for 50 years goes up for sale


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The home of BBC TV for 50 years goes up for sale: Television Centre could raise £300m for Beeb



By Daily Mail Reporter


Last updated at 7:43 AM on 14th June 2011



The BBC has put its landmark Television Centre up for sale after 50 years at the iconic London site.


The Corporation said it is looking for a deal which will 'maximise the value' for itself and for licence fee-payers - and that could be as much as £300million.


The 14-acre site in White City, West London, is currently home to around 5,000 employees but will be empty by 2015 after staff have moved to other sites including MediaCity in Salford and Broadcasting House.





article-2003163-0C8C4E6000000578-500_634x396.jpg On sale: The BBC's Television Centre home in West London is on the market and could cost potential buyers as much as £300million


article-2003163-0C8C4E1400000578-613_634x381.jpg Famous outline: The main circular building, known to staff as the doughnut, was given Grade II listed status by English Heritage in 2009





It has vowed to leave 'no stone unturned' in a search for a buyer buy said it will not sell unless it gets value for money.


'The BBC is seeking expressions of interest from the market for either a conventional, freehold property sale or alternative proposals possibly based around a joint venture partnership,' said a BBC spokesman.


'The key objective for any sale or partnership is to maximise the value of the site to the BBC and licence fee-payers.'

The BBC originally announced it wanted to sell the building, which opened in 1960, in 2007.



article-2003163-08FC6FFA000005DC-965_634x516.jpg Famous history: Doctor Who is among the programmes filmed there, but it has also been home to the Monty Python's Flying Circus and Fawlty Towers


article-2003163-0023AAF100000258-756_634x784.jpg Moving on: The BBC garden - being tended here by Peter Purves, Valerie Singleton and John Noakes - is at the Television Centre site




Television history: The life of a world famous studios



article-2003163-0C8C4E0C00000578-101_296x148.jpg • Its construction was announced by Norman Collins, the then-Controller of the BBC Television Service, on Friday, April 1, 1949.


• It was supposed to be six acres - but turned out to be twice as big - and to cost £9m.

• From the air the building has a 'question mark' shape. The architect, Graham Dawbarn CBE, had been handed a 50-page brief and retreated to a pub to consider his task. He doodled a question mark on an envelope and realised that it was the ideal shape.


• In the middle of the 'doughnut' is a sculpture of Helios, the Greek god of the sun. Designed by TB Huxley-Jones, and erected in 1960, it represents the radiation of television light around the world. Two reclining figures at the bottom are sound and vision, the two components of television.

• It officially opened on June 29, 1960, one of the world's first buildings designed specifically for the making and transmission of TV.


• The first programme broadcast was First Night with David Nixon in Studio Three.


• Power cuts were relatively familiar but one such cut caused the launch night of BBC Two, on April 20, 1964, to be cancelled; programmes began the next day instead.


• At half past midnight on Sunday, March 4, 2001, the Real IRA detonated a car bomb outside the building. No-one was killed.

• The BBC News Centre, which transmits almost all of the Corporation's national TV and radio news, opened there in 1998.


• The building was given Grade II listing on June 17, 2009, by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.


• It was at Television Centre on October 22, 2009, that BNP leader Nick Griffin appeared on Question Time, which saw protesters storm the BBC's reception.



The main circular building, known to staff as the doughnut, was given Grade II listed status by English Heritage in 2009 and could complicate the deal as it would limit what its new owners could do.


The BBC said it had enough time and space around the sale to ensure it was not forced into taking a lower price than wanted.

Among the shows recorded in its studios are Fawlty Towers, Monty Python's Flying Circus, Blue Peter, Doctor Who and Strictly Come Dancing.


The site is also home to the Blue Peter garden, which will be relocated to a studio roof at the Salford site.

Richard Deverell, W12 programme director, said: 'Television Centre has played an extraordinary and central role in the history of the BBC, which will not be forgotten.


'Our primary aim of the sale is to maximise the value to the BBC and licence fee-payer whilst ensuring the teams and operations based there are successfully relocated.'

The BBC, which currently owns 585,000sq metres of property in Britain across 483 locations, wants to cut its property holdings by 30 per cent.


However, it has also said it would consider joint-venture proposals that could leave it with some presence at the site while the suggestion of a BBC museum has also been mooted.

The Corporation has handed the marketing of the sale to property consultants Lambert Smith Hampton, and has invited potential buyers to register interest by July 1.

A leading commercial property agents - who declined to be named - said the building was likely to cost around £200million.


Recent improvements to the area's transport links and the vast nearby Westfield shopping centre made the site particularly attractive to local and foreign residential developers, they said.


However, if the BBC chooses a joint venture going forward, that would significantly cut the value of the property, according to one agent.


'The value of an employer in a media business is very much lower than the value of residential development, so if there are people that want to enter into a joint venture, and if they are in the media world, that will inevitably reduce the price,' the agent said.


'That would be an interesting dilemma for the BBC because they will have a choice between the highest price and the most politically favoured combination of uses.'


article-2003163-09702C8E000005DC-648_634x414.jpg Incentive for buyers: Television Centre's proximity to the Westfield Shopping Centre and its transport links make it attractive to property developers



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How the hell can such a force of business which basically demands a large yearly subscription fee from everyone in the country, as well as being huge globally, end up in such turmoil? There's loads of cuts on TV programs too.


There must be a serious mis-management of funds going on there, I remember during Euro 2008 they spent quite a few million on making a stand that they could put up so that Lineker and co. could sit with a more appropriate background of the city they were at outside one stadium, that kind of thing was not going to happen 2 years later.

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Guest howyousawtheworld

It's such a shame that the BBC TV centre is up for sale. How can there be so much disregard for history from such a corporation? Apparently it's being done to save £20m a year. From the very same people who give it's stars pretty obscene pay packets. Cut their wages and save tv centre.


Such a bad bad call.

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