Grim Up North? Will The BBC Regret Heading To Manchester?

The BBC announced yesterday that it is finally selling it’s iconic London based television studio in a bid to cut costs. It is a move that many might find hard to swallow.

The West London doughnut-shaped building has played host to a number of shows over the years, from Top of the Pops to Strictly Come Dancing, and not forgetting the famous Blue Peter garden which was famously trashed by hilarious yobs during the 80s.

But with the licence fee frozen until 2016, the bloated corporation’s hand has effectively been forced to cutting costs and move up North. The corporation has survived a bomb attack in the past, but it appears that the Coalition government have been able to achieve what the Real IRA could not in getting shot of the iconic Television Centre.

Designed on the back of an envelope in a pub in the 1960’s, the building sits on premium real estate worth upwards of £300m, and there are plans to turn the site into a block of luxury flats following it’s vacation in 2015. The BBC will now move their base of operations to Manchester, with 12 studios and 5,000 staff relocating to it’s controversial new Salford location. It is thought that a London based Broadcasting house will be kept in operation.

The Blue Peter Garden is also set to have a new home, relocating to a roof at the new offices up North. Gone will be the days of the programme’s pets being buried there, and we’re guessing cremation will be the name of the game from now on.

Scores of television viewers have been brought up watching programmes broadcast from the Wood Lane studios, with many now up in arms about the sale, some of whom are public figures who now work at the corporation. Radio 1’s loudmouth Chris Moyles said: “I just don’t get it. I hope they don’t get rid of it because it is an iconic building. I think it is a shame.”

BBC radio DJ Danny Baker called Beeb executives: “Soul-less crumbs” and “half-wits” while the TV presenter Charlie Brooker said that “It’s like they’re going to saw up the Tardis and use it for firewood”.

Despite this outcry, the idea to sell Television Centre is not a new one and was first mooted in 2007 as the corporation aimed to reduce it’s property holdings by 30%. Following the sale of the site, the BBC hope to save £20m a year, enough to pay for 30 hours of so called high-quality drama.

It’s certainly an interesting time for the organisation, which is aiming to silence critics of it’s controversial relocation to the northern half of the country. Time will tell whether or not TV output will be affected by the move, with some commentators already suggesting that guests on news and discussion programmes will not want to drive up the motorway to Manchester to appear in interviews.

Do you think that the BBC is right to sell the Television Centre? Let us know in the comments below.

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