The London Studios: Home of the Stars airs later this week on ITV.
“For one last time, we explore The London Studios, a magical place that has given us hit-after-hit and has been home to many of the biggest stars we’ve ever seen. We are going to give this famous building the send-off it deserves.” – Host Dermot O’Leary
Dickie Davies, Paul O’Grady, Michael Aspel, Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield are amongst the array of stars who pay tribute to the iconic London Studios which started life as the LWT production centre for London Weekend Television back in the days when ITV was an entirely regional service.
Hosted by Dermot O’Leary, the hour long programme will take viewers on a trip down memory lane, revisiting some of the best-loved shows filmed at the famous complex which closed its studio doors earlier this year. There’s also a special reunion for WOS host Dickie Davies in the very studio the Saturday afternoon sports round-up aired from.
Dickie Davies on World of Sport.
Drama in Upstairs, Downstairs.
The careers of many household names, including host Dermot himself, began at the London Southbank studios and the programme celebrates some of the biggest shows made over the last 46 years, including footage from classic productions such as Blind Date, Metal Mickey, World of Sport, Aspel and Company, Upstairs Downstairs, On The Buses, Father Ted, Lillie, Saturday Scene as well as more recent shows such as Lorraine, This Morning and Good Morning Britain.
Other special guests sharing their personal memories include Andi Peters, Ben Elton, Bradley Walsh, Clive Anderson, Danny Baker, Davina McCall, Eamonn Holmes, Francesca Annis, Hale and Pace, Gloria Hunniford, Jonathan Ross, Lorraine Kelly, Ruth Langsford, Sally James, Stephen Mulhern and Susanna Reid.
Cilla Black hosted Surprise Surprise and Blind Date from LWT.
On The Buses came from the southbank studios later in its run.
The London Studios, also known as Kent House, were built in the days of regional ITV when each major part of the UK had its own service. London was served by two contractors: Thames Television for weekdays, and LWT for weekends. Both created their own studio spaces in the capital when they were awarded their licences in 1968. London Weekend Television built the London Studios on the south bank of the river Thames, with the complex opening in 1972. ITV vacated the site in the summer of 2017. Over its 45 years in operation the studios were home to some of ITV’s best known shows and performers including series such as Play Your Cards Right, Saturday Night Takeaway, Game for a Laugh and the Stanley Baxter comedy specials to name only a few of the 1000s of productions created at the site.
Bruce Forsyth and Play Your Cards Right was a long running LWT game show, just one of many from the centre.
Since 1993 ITV Breakfast programmes have aired from the LWT studios including GMTV and Good Morning Britain.
Plans for the 2.5 acre land had originally seen the demolition of the 24-story Kent House tower, which ITV used as its HQ, and adjoining London Studios to be replaced with a mix-use site which included flats, commercial units and a smaller base, including studios for ITV Daytime, for the broadcaster. However it was announced in October that ITV Studios would not be returning to the southbank location and new plans for the former studios would be sought.
The London Studios: Home of the Stars airs at 8pm on Saturday 29th of December on ITV, STV and UTV.
“Since the original decision to redevelop the South Bank site ITV has launched its new strategy and has successfully moved to new office space in Holborn and studios in W12. These provide excellent modern, functional and flexible working environments. TV needs to ensure that its property portfolio in London supports the new strategy by giving flexibility to continue to grow, while supporting our ambition to be an agile and increasingly digital organisation. By remaining in our current London office and studio spaces we can focus more time and resource on the areas of the business which will deliver greatest value.” – ITV Statement
Stanley Baxter created big budget entertainment specials at LWT in the 70s and 80s.