Below is a time lapse of the former ATV and Central Tv studios being demolished to make way for Arena Central. Many Tv classics where filmed here to include Tiswas, Crossroads, Bullseye, Blockbusters and Spitting Image plus regional news programmes ATV today.
The studios off Broad Street, are being demolished to make way for the city’s massive new Arena Central development. The first phase of the construction will see hundreds of new apartments and offices created on the prime nine-acre site. Adjoining office block Alpha Tower was also part of the former television complex but will remain in place because it is a listed building.
The ATV Centre was opened by Princess Alexandra in 1970 as the most advanced television production facility in Europe, in readiness for the colour television revolution. The huge state-of-the-art building replaced ATV’s old Aston studios, which were sold. ATV also had studios at Elstree, Hertfordshire, but a 1981 franchise review forced it to shift its entire operation to the Midlands. The company kept its Birmingham studios, added a new East Midlands Television Centre in Nottingham, and sold Elstree to the BBC for £7million. Elstree then became the set for EastEnders. As part of that major restructuring, ATV was rebranded Central Independent Television from January 1982 and the ATV Centre was renamed Central House. At that time, Alpha Tower was sold off as office space. Central continued making several ATV shows such as Crossroads and Bullseye, revamped ATV Today into Central News and introduced a number of brand new programmes – those made in Birmingham included Boon, one series of Blockbusters and the first series of Spitting Image.
The Birmingham studios finally closed in 1997 as Central moved its operation to smaller studios in Gas Street. There have been several other classic TV shows with links to ATV and Central over the years. Celebrity Squares was made at Elstree but viewers of Bob Monkhouse’s game show were given the Birmingham studio address on screen because the enquiries office was based in Brum. Also produced by ATV but filmed at Elstree were Family Fortunes, The Muppet Show, Pipkins (including the character Pig who had a Black Country accent) and the supernatural series Sapphire and Steel starring Joanna Lumley and David McCallum.
In addition, ATV was the channel that broadcast Gerry and Sylvia Anderon’s sci-fi puppet shows Stingray, Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet and Joe 90. Many of the puppets – including Lady Penelope’s chauffeur Parker in Thunderbirds – were made in Birmingham by John Blundall although the programmes were all put together in the Andersons’ own studios at Slough in Berkshire.
Check out the time lapse video below to show the demolition of such and iconic building;