Maida Vale

MAIDA VALE

Welcome to our section about the BBC Maida Vale Studios

Maida Vale Studios

120-129 Delaware Rd

London

W9 2LG

 

The Maida Vale studios, based on Delaware Road in London, are used by the BBC for various radio output, both music and drama. The site was previously also the home to the BBC Radiophonic Orchestra

 

The studios were build in 1909 and started their life as the Maida Vale Roller Skating Palace and Club. The site was a substantial building with its own orchestra balcany and a seating capacity of 2,650. The original use did not last long, three months in fact before the building was in use by a number of other businesses.

 

By the 1930s the expanding BBC were looking for additional premesis, initally to house the BBC Symphony Orchestra. In 1933 during a period of 15 months the site was taken back to a shell and rebuilt, preserving the original archways. The site would also become of importance during the second world war where it was used as a stanby area for BBC radio news and the building was damaged during the blitz requiring extensive repairs.

 

 

The studios are extensive having seven music and radio drama studios, it is still used by the BBC Symphony Orchestra for performances and recordings, it can hold an audience of 220, a choir of over 100 with over 150 musicians. Maida vale would also become known as the home of John Peel Radio 1 Peel Sessions.


 

THE STUDIOS AT MAIDA VALE

MV1 - the largest classical music studio in the UK, has room for 150 musicians, 100 choir members and an audience capacity of 200. It is used by the BBC Symphony Orchestra and formally the BBC Radio Orchestra. The studio is equiped with a Studer D950 digital desk

 

MV2 - Used for rehersals after having been stripped of equipment some years previous

 

MV3 - Similar in size to the large studio MV2 has been used for a number of Radio 2 programmes. The studio has a plaque dedicated to Bing Crosby who made his last recording in that studio in 1977. It was also once home to the BBC Radio Orchestra. The studio is equipped with a SSL 9000J Series analogue desk

 

MV4 - has a vocal booth and balcany, is smaller than MV1, MV2 and MV3 and was home to the John Peel Sessions and later BBC  Radio 1 Sessions. It has the same desk as MV3.

 

MV5 - used for Live Lounge

 

MV6 - used as a radio drama studio for a number of BBC radio dramas on BBC Radio 3 and BBC Radio 4

 

MV7 - lies empty having been another radio drama studio

 

 

MAIDA VALE - 1960s

These shots of Maida Vale come from a documentary about the BBC Radiophonic Workshop which we will come onto shortly

 

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  BBC Broadcasting House
1960s
BBC Television

 

THE BBC RADIOPHONIC WORKSHOP

One of the most significant inhabitants of the Maida Vale studios was that of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. The Radiophonic Workshop created many different sounds to be used both on radio and television using a variety of different instuments and methods.

The team, lead by Ron Granger and Delia Derbyshire also created the iconic theme to Doctor Who along with a number of other theme tunes. Many of the early sound effects on Doctor Who including those associated with the show like the sounds of the flying TARDIS were created here at Maida Vale.

The Radiophonic Workshop was based at Maida Vale from its inception in 1958 until its closure in 1998.

 

BBC RADIOPHONIC WORKSHOP -  1968

Delia Derbyshire in the BBC Radiophonic workshop at Maida Vale in the 1960s

 

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  Delia Derbyshire at the Maida Vale Studios
1960s
BBC Television

 

RADIOPHONIC WORKSHOP - 1960s

More images of the Radiophonic Workshop in the 1960s

 

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  BBC Radiophonic Workshop
1960s
BBC Television
 

RADIOPHONIC WORKSHOP AND DOCTOR WHO - 1960s

The theme to Doctor Who and the original sound effects came from the work of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop

 

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  BBC Radiophonic Workshop
1960s
BBC Television
 

 

RADIOPHONIC WORKSHOP - 1993

By the 1990s the technology has moved on a fair bit in the workshop however some of the same faces remain

 

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  BBC Radiophonic Workshop
1993
BBC Television
 

BBC RADIOPHONIC WORKSHOP CLOSURE -  1998

In 1998 the Radiophonic Workshop was closed and their workspace stripped of equipment marking the end of an era. The space previously occupied by the workshop was replaced with a small TV studio mainly used for the Film series, along with audio archiving and office facilities.

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  Former BBC Radiophonic Workshop Space
1998
BBC Worldwide

THE CLOSURE OF MAIDA VALE

The studios have been the subect of rumours of closure over the years as they require substantial work and constant maintanence, due to its residentail location there are also restrictions on the hours of operations and access. In 2007 the corporation said it was unsutiable and would be sold to property developers in a bid to cut costs.

 

 

On the 5th June 2018 the BBC announced that the studios would close by the year 2023 and the remaining activities on the site relocating to Stratford despitre much critism of the decision.


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