BBC to leave its famous Maida Vale studios
Everyone from The Beatles and Beyonce to David Bowie and Jimi Hendrix have recorded sessions at the west London studios.
The BBC is leaving its famous Maida Vale studios to move to a new development in east London.
Everyone from The Beatles and Beyonce to David Bowie and Jimi Hendrix have made their mark at the west London studios.
Built in 1909 and originally home to a rollerskating club, the site became home to the BBC Symphony Orchestra in the 1930s.
It was also home to John Peel’s BBC Radio 1 Peel Sessions, while the Doctor Who theme tune was created there.
BBC director general Tony Hall said in a note to staff: “I understand how much our musical heritage at Maida Vale means to us, to artists and to audiences.
“We haven’t taken this decision lightly. But we’re determined to ensure that live music remains at the heart of the BBC and moving to this new development gives us the opportunity to do just that.”
The BBC will build new music studios in Stratford’s Olympic Park, as part of the development that includes the V&A, Sadler’s Wells and the London College of Fashion.
The new site will incorporate recording and rehearsal studios, a purpose-built base for the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus and BBC Singers and be used regularly by the BBC Concert Orchestra.
Funded by the licence fee, with costs not revealed, the new venue will allow the BBC to record and broadcast more live music, it said.
It is understood that redeveloping the Maida Vale studios, which contains asbestos, was considered and the Olympic Park site was deemed better value for money.
BBC Radio 1, 1Xtra, Asian Network, Radio 2, Radio 3, 6Music and BBC Introducing will all broadcast performances regularly from the East London venue.
Radio 1 Controller Ben Cooper said in a note to staff that the “state-of-the-art new home” will be shared “with the local community in East London”.
“All the music stations have been involved for many years in trying to find a solution to how we provide world class music recording studios for classical, rock and pop artists,” he said.
“Lots of different ideas have been investigated, considered and costed.”
The broadcaster expects to be using the new studios by 2022 to 2023.
The Maida Vale site in West London was a standby centre for the BBC radio news service during the Second World War, and featured featured Bing Crosby’s last recording session.
A BBC spokesman said: “This isn’t happening for four years – we’ll have loads of bands in between now and then and we’ll be celebrating the wonderful heritage of the Maida Vale years nearer the time we’re due to move out.”