Good Venue Guide

12: RIVERSIDE STUDIOS, W6
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Indy Lifestyle Online
Date of Birth: 1933, 1954 and 1974.

Building: originally an engineering works built during the First World War, the ceilings are still braced with outsized iron pipes. Present occupants have stuck to their minimalist (underfunded) arts centre principles and whitewashed everything in sight.

Brief History: in 1933, Triumph and Alliance Film Companies transformed the disused engineering works into a film studio and Alec Guinness graced its portals to film Father Brown. In 1954 the BBC converted it into two television studios, kitting it out with what was reputed to be the most modern control system in the world. During the next 20 years, Doctor Who, Ready Steady Go, This Is Your Life, Playschool and Blue Peter were all made here. Abandoned by Auntie in 1974, it was rescued from anonymity by the foundation of the Riverside Arts Trust and in 1976 it opened as one of London's most progressive arts centres with a programme of theatre, jazz, film and dance. Today's TV legacy is continued by Chris Evans and co who record TFI Friday just down the river.

Strange but true: the infamous elephant episode on Blue Peter was filmed here. Royal visitors include a four-year-old Prince Andrew to the set of Playschool. Samuel Beckett is said to have frequented the cafe and to have written Happy Days over Riverside cups of coffee. In 1974 a studio technician sneaked his teenage son's band, the Sex Pistols, onto the premises for a rehearsal.

Current events: Made in Prague (Thurs to 17 Wed Dec), a celebration of Czech film, jazz, art, theatre and animation. All bookings on 0181 237 1111.

Getting there: Hammersmith tube station, then a brisk 5 min walk.

Cost of a glass of wine: pounds 1.75

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