A consortium comprising of Working Title Co-Chairmen Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner plus acclaimed movie composer Hans Zimmer and business partner Steven Kofsky is buying the BBC’s historic Maida Vale Studios.
Originally purchased by the BBC in 1933, the studios has played a seminal part in the UK’s musical history with legends including David Bowie, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin and Dusty Springfield all recording there.
Plans for the sale were confirmed last year and are part of the broadcaster’s wider relocation of its music operations to East Bank, a joint initiative with the V&A, Sadler’s Wells, UCL and UAL’s London College of Fashion.
Lorna Clarke, Director of Music at the BBC, said: “Maida Vale has played such an important part in the BBC’s history, and its significance in popular culture is huge.
“We are so pleased to secure a sale which looks to continue the bright, vibrant future of music making in this iconic building – not only providing new studio spaces but jobs and an education facility.
“We look forward to being able to continue to deliver world-class music to BBC audiences with our new tailor-made BBC Music Studios in the wonderfully rich cultural district of London’s East Bank.”
Financial terms of the sale have not been announced but the buyers say they plan to retain the original façade of the building while embarking on a multi-million pound refurbishment of its studios.
Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner said: “Maida Vale Studios has been synonymous with artistic excellence for generations. The venue has become part of the fabric of the UK’s pioneering cultural industry, from helping to nurture new and ground-breaking artists, to housing some of the world’s most legendary musicians.
“We are thrilled to be working with our old friends Hans Zimmer and Steve Kofsky on this once in a lifetime project and collectively we are determined to continue the BBC’s legacy at Maida Vale by attracting global talent to the UK.
“Through our redevelopment plans we will future proof the historic site, continuing its presence in the local community with a new education facility, whilst creating a world class studio space for the next generation of composers, producers, editors and engineers.”
Zimmer, who in addition to his Hollywood work has composed soundtracks to some of the BBC’s most iconic nature documentaries, added: “The first time I worked for the BBC at their Maida Vale Studios was 45 years ago. I was just a kid, in awe, honoured to be booked to play on one of my first sessions.
“I still remember the strong pull, the desire to touch the walls, as if that would somehow allow me to connect to the artists whose extraordinary music had resonated against these walls on a daily basis.
“This was a place of revolutionary science in the service of art, this was a place that inspired you to give your best, where music was performed around the clock and art was taken seriously. For the people by the people. This was the place that kept a struggling musician like me from giving up.
“At the same time, Tim, Eric and I started working together, making our first movies. Movies not only made in Britain with the greatest talent the country had – and still has – to offer, but movies that often provoked and had something to say about a changing Britain; that gave voice to our generation.
“Usually by making you laugh. My work with Working Title gave me my career in Hollywood, where Steve Kofsky became my partner, and he and I made sure to drag the work from as many Hollywood films as possible back to Britain.
“So now I want to close the circle: make Maida Vale Studios a place that inspires, teaches, technologically serves the arts and humanity, and gives the next generation the same opportunities I was given: to create and to never give up.”