London Television Centre, the studio complex where everything from Have I Got News For You to Melvyn Bragg's South Bank Show and Loose Women has been filmed over the last 40 years, was bought by ITV yesterday – after it spent decades leasing the site.
The chief executive, Adam Crozier, paid £56m for the freehold of the 22-storey office block, which also serves as ITV's corporate HQ.
He was keen to acquire the 2.5-acre site because the broadcaster was locked into a lease which still had 56 years to run, with no break clauses allowing an early exit.
Coal Pension Properties, which sold the site, could earn an extra £6.5m if ITV carries out "any substantial redevelopment" in the next 10 years – like turning it into flats. But a source stressed there are no redevelopment plans. The studios are in the bottom of the centre, which stands between the National Theatre and the Oxo Tower in Waterloo. London Weekend Television, now part of ITV, commissioned the purpose-built complex in the early 1970s.