BBC Elstree welcomes home Blockbusters

BBC Studioworks has welcomed the Thames Television production to their Elstree facilities.

Bob Holness was the UK’s original host of Blockbusters for ITV.

“January marks a particularly strong start to the year across our service proposition and our studio locations. By continuing to embrace new technologies and providing consistency across our portfolio, our facilities complement each other perfectly. Combined with our flexibility and first-class customer experience, we always seek to provide an attractive proposition for clients.” – John O’Callaghan, Head of Studios and Post Production, BBC Studioworks.

At BBC Elstree Centre, Studioworks is facilitating Blockbusters for Comedy Central. Produced by Thames Television, the nostalgic game show will record 20 episodes in Studio D. The show will remain true to the original 1980s format – which ironically was produced by Central Television for its first series in the same studio complex in 1982 (Studio A).

The new version of Blockbusters will be hosted by Dara O’Briain. The original, which began life at the Central Elstree Centre before it was sold to the BBC in 1984, is based on the American series of the same name. The UK version was launched by Central on ITV in 1983 and ran for a decade on the network, with a Sky One series in 1994 – the final golden run with original host Bob Holness. The Sky One episodes later aired on ITV. From series two onwards Blockbusters was produced at ITV’s Elstree replacement Lenton Lane Studios in Nottingham.

Blockbusters was most recently revived by Challenge TV with new episodes airing in 2006. Hosted by Simon Mayo the series was produced at Sky’s studios in London. Other versions have been hosted by Michael Aspel and Lisa Tarbuck.

Simon Mayo hosted the show in the naugties.

Also over at Studio TC1 at Television Centre, Talkback’s dating game show Your Face or Mine begins a 22-episode residency across the first three months of the year. The show is another to air on Comedy Central, and fronted by Jimmy Carr and Katherine Ryan, the quiz sees couples pitted against each other to win cash prizes.

Studioworks also sees the return of four titles to Television Centre in January – Shiver Productions’ Peston for ITV in Studio TC2, So Television’s The Graham Norton Show for BBC One, Open Mike Productions’ The Last Leg and Sky and Avalon’s The Russell Howard Hour for Sky One, all in Studio TC1.

Strictly Come Dancing – The Live Tour has also returned to Studioworks’ post production facility. The project involves producing VTs for the live arena tour which consist of freshly shot interviews and archive material from the 2018 shows, amounting to over 1,700 hours of content to draw from. The work follows Strictly Coming Dancing’s four-month residency at Studioworks’ Elstree production hub for series 16 of the show.

The BBC Elstree site, as originally opened in 1961 for ITV programming by ATV Network.
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