The London Studios

The London Studios

The London Studios seen from Waterloo Bridge in 2013
Location within Greater London
Former names The South Bank Television Centre
Alternative names The ITV Studios
London Television Centre
ITV Towers
General information
Type Television studios
Location Waterloo, London
Address 58-72 Upper Ground,
London, Greater London,
United Kingdom[1]
Country England
Coordinates 51°30′26″N 0°06′45″W / 51.50733°N 0.11237°W / 51.50733; -0.11237Coordinates: 51°30′26″N 0°06′45″W / 51.50733°N 0.11237°W / 51.50733; -0.11237
Elevation 85 m (279 ft)
Current tenants ITV, BBC, Channel 4, Al Jazeera, Met Office
Construction started 1969
Completed 1972
Owner ITV plc
Technical details
Floor count 24
Floor area 2.5 acres
Design and construction
Architect EPR Architects
Structural engineer Clarke Nicholls and Marcel, Civil and Structural Engineers
Main contractor Higgs and Hill
The studios as seen from the London Eye in 2011
The reception entrance as seen in April 2013

The London Studios or The South Bank Studios (also known as The London Television Centre, ITV Towers and Kent House) in Waterloo, Central London is a television studio complex formerly owned by London Weekend Television. The studios are located in Central London and are situated on the South Bank next to The IBM Building and the Royal National Theatre. The building is set on 2.5 acres of land and is 24 floors high.

The facilities are 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 are currently home to many entertainment, game and daytime shows. These include Good Morning Britain, The Graham Norton Show, Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway and The Jonathan Ross Show. The studios are also used for other programmes from various other channels including BBC and Channel 4. The Met Office weather studios which provide national weather forecasts are also based at The London Studios, as well as ITV Creative who promote programmes on the ITV network.


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

The site for the development was chosen beside the new Royal National Theatre on the South Bank of the River Thames. It was purchased in 1969 and construction work, awarded to Higgs and Hill, commenced in 1970 with the centre opening for transmission in 1972, although it was not fully operational until 1974. The complex was owned by the National Coal Board Pension Fund Trustees 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 to the now renamed London Television Centre for £56 million from what had now become Coal Pension Properties.[2][3][4][5]

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

The building

Kent House Tower

Kent House is a 24 story tower block, and is 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 is seen in the titles of Good Morning Britain and Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway.

Main Studio Block

Sandwiched between the tower block and the River Thames is the main studio block, housing studios 1, 2 and 3, the restaurant, the studio cafe, offices, make-up and wardrobe. It was designed by London-based architecture practice Elsom Pack & Roberts.

Gabriel's Wharf

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.

Besides studios

The site houses programme production offices, edit suites, dubbing suites, VTR studio booths and graphic booths.


Audiences are used in many productions at The London Studios. The audience are instructed to queue to the left hand side of the studios near to the reception entrance and under a cover where they will be escorted into one of the studios once security checked. There are two waterproof TV screens with the live ITV programmes shown on them. There are several hand-prints displayed in the audience waiting area with hand-prints of presenters including Vernon Kay, Al Murray, Melvyn Bragg, Lorraine Kelly, Paul O'Grady, Graham Norton, Stephen Fry, Fern Britton, Phillip Schofield, Davina McCall, Des Lynam, Fiona Phillips, Eamonn Holmes, Alan Carr, Justin Lee Collins, Gabby Logan, Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly. In 2016, the hand-prints of Ben Elton, Frances de la Tour, Derek Jacobi and Ian McKellen were added.


There have been a total of nine different studios during the complex's lifespan, but currently there are six. It should also be noted that there are weather studios producing the ITV national, and some of the network's regional forecasts (these are now at Gray's Inn Road).


The studios were originally built by the London weekend ITV franchise holder, London Weekend Television (LWT). In 1993 Carlton Television won the London weekday franchise from Thames Television, but unlike Thames, Carlton didn’t have any of their own studios or property. Carlton therefore rented space in the tower from 1993 for their own post production and continuity facilities. The rental agreement 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 unofficial ITV Thames Valley region and since 2006 HTV Wales, although between 2002-2006 the Welsh stations continuity was recorded and sent electronically to London. The complex also houses 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), Glasgow (STV), Belfast (UTV) and St. Helier (ITV Channel Television - which also receives a feed of ITV Meridian).

ITV Studios

Main article: ITV Studios

In 1994, Granada Group took over LWT, thus acquiring 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 requirement, 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).

Today the studios produce the bulk of original ITV Studios' programmes, but anyone can hire the studios, meaning the studios are often seen on other channels' programmes.

Studio programming

The London Studios is home to many popular game, chat and comedy entertainment programmes. List of shows, studio used and network below.


Programme Channel Studio Years Status Notes
Surprise Surprise ITV 1 1984–2001, 2012— On air
Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway ITV 1 2002–2009, 2013— On air
QI BBC Two 1 2003— On air Can be housed in Studio 2
The Graham Norton Show BBC One 1 2007— On air
ITV Specials ITV 1 2008— On air
All Star Mr & Mrs ITV 1 2008–2010, 2012–2013, 2015— On air Previously recorded at Fountain Studios (2014)
Alan Carr: Chatty Man Channel 4 1 2009— On air Can be housed in Studio 2
The Jonathan Ross Show ITV 1 2011— On air Can be housed in Studio 2
The Chase: Celebrity Specials ITV 1 2011— On air Celebrity editions only; daytime series is recorded at Elstree Studios
Mock The Week BBC Two 1 2013— On air Previously recorded at BBC Television Centre (2005–2012)
Walliams and Friend BBC One 1 2015, 2016— On air
It's Not Me, It's You Channel 5 1 2016— On air
Meet the Parents ITV 1 2016— On air
Go for It! ITV 1 2016— On air
This Time Next Year ITV 1 2016— On air Began recording in 2015
The Next Great Magician ITV 1 2016— On air
David Walliams Celebrates Dame Shirley Bassey BBC One 1 2016 On air
Blankety Blank ITV 1 2016 On air Christmas special
The Big Fat Quiz of the Year Channel 4 1 or 2 2014— On air
Vicious ITV 1 or 2 2014–2016 On air
Catherine Tate's Nan BBC One 1 or 2 2015— On air
Decimate BBC One 1 or 2 2015— On air
Sex Box Channel 4 1 or 2 2016— On air
Cash Trapped ITV 1 or 2 2016— On air
Alan Carr's 12 Stars of Christmas Channel 4 1 or 2 2016— On air
It'll Be Alright on the Night ITV 2 1977— On air
Have I Got News for You BBC One 2 1990— On air
Piers Morgan's Life Stories ITV 2 2010— On air Previously recorded at Teddington Studios (2010–2011) and BBC Television Centre (2009, 2013)
The Last Leg Channel 4 2 2012— On air Spin-off The Last Leg of the Year is also recorded here
Catchphrase ITV 2 2013, 2016— On air Previously recorded at Maidstone Studios (2014–2015)
The Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice BBC Two 2 2014— On air
Safeword ITV2 2 2015— On air
The Apprentice: You're Fired BBC Two 2 2015— On air
Upstart Crow BBC Two 2 2016— On air
Peston on Sunday ITV 3 2016— On air
Loose Women ITV 3 1999— On air
Lorraine ITV 3 2010— On air
Champions League Highlights ITV 3 20??— On air
Good Morning Britain ITV 5 2014— On air
Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two BBC Two 7 2004— On air
This Morning ITV 8 1996— On air Previously recorded at Albert Dock, Liverpool (1988–1996)


Programme Channel Studio Years Status Notes
All Star Family Fortunes ITV 1 2006–2015 Off air
Fantastic Facts ITV 1 1993 Off air
The Sunday Night Project Channel 4 1 2005–2009 Off air
Hale & Pace ITV 1 1988–1998 Off air
The British Soap Awards ITV 1 2012 Off air
Born to Shine ITV 1 2011 Off air
Alexander Armstrong's Big Ask Dave 1 2011–2013 Off air
Text Santa ITV 1 2011–2015 Off air
The Biggest Loser ITV 1 2011 Off air One episode was recorded here
Pride of Britain Awards ITV 1 2000–2010 Off air Previously recorded at Dorchester Hotel (1999). Later recorded at Grosvenor House (2011—)
The Krypton Factor ITV 1 2010 Off air Previously recorded at Granada Studios (1977–2009)
Paul O'Grady Live ITV 1 2010–2011 Off air
Popstar to Operastar ITV 1 2010–2011 Off air
Who Dares, Sings! ITV 1 2008 Off air
Amazing Greys ITV 1 2014 Off air
The Charlotte Church Show Channel 4 1 2006–2008 Off air
The Six O'Clock Show ITV 1 1982–1988 Off air
Parkinson BBC One/ITV 1 Various Off air ITV version of the programme only; the revived BBC series was made at Television Centre
Richard Hammond's 5 O'Clock Show ITV 1 2006 Off air
Saturday Live Again ITV 1 Off air
Saturday Night Divas ITV 1 Off air
Sticky Moments Channel 4 1 1989–1990 Off air
Al Murray's Happy Hour ITV 1 2007–2008 Off air
The Big Big Talent Show ITV 1 1996–1997 Off air
An Audience with... ITV 1 1978–2012 Off air
Blind Date ITV 1 1985–2003 Off air
The British Comedy Awards ITV 1 1991–2009 Off air Now broadcast on Channel 4 from Fountain Studios in Wembley
The Dame Edna Treatment ITV 1 2007 Off air
Tipping Point: Lucky Stars ITV 1 2014 Off air Previously recorded at Wimbledon Studios (2013) and later recorded at Fountain Studios (2016)
Adele at the BBC BBC One 1 or 2 2015 Off air
Jack Dee's Referendum Help Desk BBC Two 1 or 2 2016 Off air
Don't Forget Your Toothbrush Channel 4 1 & 2 1994–1995 Off air Also recorded at Teddington Studios
The Chase ITV 1 or 2 2010–2013 Off air Previously recorded at Granada Studios (2009). Later recorded at Teddington Studios (2013–2014) and Elstree Studios (2014—). Celebrity editions are still recorded here.
Holding Out for a Hero ITV 2 2011 Off air
Let's Do Lunch/Christmas with Gino & Mel ITV 2 2011–2014 Off air Occasionally housed in Studio 1
The Agenda ITV 2 2016 Off air 2 episodes were recorded here. The show is usually recorded at The Hospital Club
Take On the Twisters ITV 2 2013 Off air
The Alan Titchmarsh Show ITV 2 2011–2014 Off air Previously recorded at BBC Television Centre (2007–2010)
The Michael McIntyre Chat Show BBC One 2 2014 Off air
Celebrity Squares ITV 2 2014–2015 Off air
Gift Wrapped ITV 2 2014 Off air
Birds of a Feather ITV 2 2013 (aired in 2014) Off air Later recorded at Pinewood Studios (2014—)
The Paul O'Grady Show ITV/Channel 4 2 2004–2009, 2013–2015 Off air Daytime chat show
The 21st Question ITV 2 2014 Off air
Clive Anderson Talks Back/Clive Anderson All Talk Channel 4/BBC One 2 Off air
Tipping Point ITV 2 2012 Off air Later recorded at BBC Television Centre (2013), Wimbledon Studios (2013–2014), Twickenham Studios (2015–2016) and Fountain Studios (2016)
Pick Me! ITV 2 2015 Off air Daytime game show
Big Star's Little Star ITV 2 2013 Off air Game show; moved to Fountain Studios in 2014
Don't Forget the Lyrics! Sky1 2 2008 Off air Also made at Granada Studios in Manchester
Late Show with David Letterman CBS 2 Off air Week of programs were done there in May 1995.
6ixth Sense Living TV 2 2002–2003 Off air
Whose Line Is It Anyway? Channel 4 2 1994–1997 Off air
The Colour of Money ITV 2 2009 Off air
Balls of Steel Channel 4 2 2005–2008 Off air
Father Ted Channel 4 2 1995–1998 Off air
SMTV Live ITV 2 1998–2003 Off air
CD:UK ITV 2 1998–2003 Off air Later recorded at Riverside Studios
Christian O'Connell's Sunday Service Sky1 2 Off air
The Sharon Osbourne Show ITV 2 2006 Off air
Time Gentlemen Please Sky One 2 2000–2002 Off air
Upstairs, Downstairs ITV 2 & 5 1971–1975 Off air Transferred from LWT's original Fountain Studios
Close to Home ITV 2 1989–1990 Off air
The Jordan Show ITV 3 Off air
Tonightly Channel 4 3 2008 Off air
The 11 O'Clock Show Channel 4 3 1998–2000 Off air
Jonathan Dimbleby ITV 3 1995–2005 Off air Also occasionally broadcast (as required) from Yorkshire Television, Tyne Tees Television and Granada Studios
Katie & Peter: Unleashed ITV2 3 2007 Off air
Light Lunch Channel 4 3 1996-99 Off air
Russell Harty ITV 3 Off air
The South Bank Show ITV 3 1978–2010 Off air Series now produced independently for Sky Arts
Today with Des and Mel ITV 3 2004–2006 Off air Originally broadcast from Teddington Studios (2002–04)
Your Face or Mine? Channel 4/E4 3 2002–2003 Off air
Daybreak ITV 3 and 7 2010–2014 Off air
Junior Eurovision ITV2 5 Off air
GMTV GMTV 5 1993–2010 Off air From July - September 2010, GMTV relocated to Studio 3 in preparation for Daybreak
GMTV with Lorraine GMTV 5 1993–2010 Off air From July - September 2010, GMTV with Lorraine relocated to Studio 3 in preparation for Daybreak
The Fluffy Club ITV Breakfast/CITV 5 1993–2010 Off air
Wakey! Wakey! ITV Breakfast/CITV 5 Off air
Toonattik ITV Breakfast/CITV 5 2005–2010 Off air
World of Sport ITV 5 Off air Transferred from LWT's original Wembley studios
Police 5 ITV 5 & 10 Off air
Saturday Scene ITV 5 Off air
The Big Match ITV 5 Off air
World Cuppa ITV4 7 2006 Off air
I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! Now ITV2 7 Off air
I'm a Celebrity...Exclusive ITV2 7 Off air
London Tonight London News Network 7 1993–2004 Off air Moved to ITN headquarters in Grays Inn Road
Beat TV ITV2 7 2012 Off air
Sunday Scoop ITV 7 2013 Off air
Sunday Side Up ITV 7 2013 Off air
Friday Download CBBC 7 2014–2015 Off air
Crime Monthly ITV 10 1991–1993 Off air
6 O'Clock Live ITV 10 1989–1992 Off air
Spotless! ITV Unknown 2016 Off air One-off Saturday night game show
So Graham Norton Channel 4 Unknown 1998–2002 Off air
V Graham Norton Channel 4 Unknown 2002–2003 Off air
On the Buses ITV Unknown 1973 Off air Transferred from LWT's original Wembley studios
Sale of the Century Sky 1 Unknown 1989–1992 Off air


External links

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