BBC in Stratford move as Maida Vale closes

The BBC has announced plans for new music studios in east London, which means the famous Maida Vale studios – home to many live radio performances – will close.

It will bring an end to the corporation’s association with Maida Vale, which has played host to thousands of appearances by bands and singers on Radio 1, Radio 2 and 6 Music – including Live Lounge performances and sessions. The Radiophonic Workshop was also based there until its closure in 1998. The building in Maida Vale was first used by the BBC in the 1930s when it was home to the BBC Symphony Orchestra. During World War Two is was also a standby centre for the corporation’s radio news department.

The new facility at Stratford Waterfront, planned to open in 2022-23, will become the base for the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus and the BBC Singers, as well as being used regularly by the BBC Concert Orchestra and live music performances across BBC Radio. It will have both music recording studios and rehearsal spaces.

Tony Hall, BBC Director General, says: “We’re hugely excited about the prospect of joining the new Stratford Waterfront development. The future home of the BBC Symphony Orchestra & Chorus, BBC Singers and our rock and pop recording facilities is one of the most exciting cultural developments in London. With so many world class arts organisations on one site there will be great opportunities for partnerships and new projects – and we’re looking forward to getting involved.”

The BBC says locating its popular music recording studios in Stratford will help establish the area as a music destination. BBC Radio 1, 1Xtra, Asian Network, Radio 2, Radio 3, 6 Music and BBC Introducing will all curate and broadcast performances regularly from the site. There will also be outdoor events in Stratford’s new cultural quarter and at local venues – as well as studio workshops and events as part of the BBC Proms.

James Purnell, Director of Radio & Education, says: “This proposed new building will act as a magnet for music development in East London and will allow us to share our music facilities and expertise with local, diverse communities as well as being a much better place for our brilliant music staff to work from.”

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  1. Rupert Brun says

    I’m not holding my breath. The BBC have been “going to close Maida Vale soon” for 35 years to my certain knowledge. A previous Director General announced that a replacement for the Symphony Orchestra studio MV1 would be the first thing to be built on the White City site, the BBC’s ownership of that site has come and gone and Maida Vale is still there. As Senior Engineer, Maida Vale I worked on numerous plans to replace the facilities elsewhere and numerous plans to refurbish it, but it’s still there.

  2. Christoph Ippitson says

    All true Rupert, and what about the world class drama studio that will be lost when Maida Vale closes? Apparently drama will have to use more of the studios in the Regions, but where?? Birmingham’s drama studio is used pretty much 24/7 for the Archers, the BBC in Salford doesn’t have a drama studio of its own, but rents space from Peel Media when TV are not using it, Bristol don’t have a proper drama studio, so where is drama going to go other than the one studio in W1? Actors, production and technical staff will have to be shipped around the UK, put up in hotels, and this on top of all the other expenses. It’s a very, very short sighted decision not to replace the drama studio Mr Hall.

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