ITV Anglia to lose network programming in Norwich
Since 1959 the former Anglia Television studios have been producing networked programmes for ITV. However with dwindling productions the broadcaster has decided to axe the studios. (Right The Time, The Place with Mike Scott and John Stapleton.)
Since 1959 the former Anglia Television studios have been producing networked programmes for ITV. However with dwindling productions the broadcaster has decided to axe the studios.
The Norwich base, famous for programmes such as drama Tales of the Unexpected and game show Sale of the Century will shut down before the summer.
Currently the regional network of ITV franchises in England and Wales are owned by ITVplc, who have been downscaling local production for over a decade. ITV Anglia currently produces factual programming for the network mainly concentrating on wildlife productions. The base was home to the long running Survival animal series.
The ‘nationalised’ ITV has seen many studio facilities closed or downscaled since Granada and Carlton merged to form ITVplc in 2004 – with large production centres in Nottingham, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Southampton all axed in recent years.
ITV Studios – ITVplcs production arm – have announced that the Norwich centre isn’t producing enough programming to sustain its future and is to close its network studios after 53 years. The regional Anglia News programming (pictured right) however will continue to be produced in the regional facilities of the complex. An ITV advertising sales department will also continue to be based in the building.
A spokeswoman for ITV Studios told local newspaper Norwich Evening News: “As part of the ITV Transformation Plan, ITV Studios is going through a period of change, including ensuring all of our operations are as efficient as possible.
“Unfortunately our production volume in Norwich is no longer at the level necessary to sustain the overheads and investment needs of this regional production office.
“This has led to the decision to close ITV Studios’ Norwich based production operation in the first half of this year. During the coming weeks we will be working with staff affected by this change to discuss potential opportunities elsewhere in the business.”
35 network staff are affected by the closure, however the company hopes to re-locate staff to other production centres which include London, Leeds and Manchester.
The Anglia Television facility, Anglia House, was officially opened in October 1959 with an internal conversion of the 1882 built Agricultural Hall. The building was leased for 75 years with a rent rate of £5,000 per year for its first seven years.
The building had been opened by Edward VII when he was Prince of Wales and had a chequered history prior to the arrival of Anglia Television. From circus shows to opera, a lecture hall for Oscar Wilde and even, for a short spell, a makeshift cinema had been housed in the old hall.
The hall was converted into three studios for Anglia, with offices and technical rooms completed just in time for its launch night on the 27th October 1959. The first programme Introducing Anglia was a pre-recorded film of regional footage shot by helicopter of the Anglia area.
Since then the studios became home to some of ITV’s best known programmes from highbrow debate with The Time, The Place with John Stapleton (pictured, above, right) to lowbrow arguments on Trisha with Trisha Goddard to Emmerdale Farm forerunner in soap opera Weavers Green, sagas such as Where The Heart Is and prestigious drama with Orson Welles’ Great Mysteries.