The BBC has sold Television Centre, its iconic headquarters and production complex in West London. The famous doughnut-shaped building was sold for £200 million to property developers Stanhope plc, the company behind the Tate Modern project.
Many of the BBC’s production offices have already relocated to BBC North in Salford, while others will be moving into the refurbished Broadcasting House in Central London.
BBC controller Mark Thompson said the sale was just part of the evolution of the BBC and "represents another milestone in the way the BBC is changing". It certainly reduces the property portfolio of the national broadcaster, although the BBC plans to make greater use of regional centres around the country.
For nostalgists it was the end of an era. Television Centre dates back to 1960, and was used to film many landmark BBC shows, including Top Of The Pops, Fawlty Towers, Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing and Blue Peter. It was a hive of creative activity, with many projects coming about because of chance meetings in its corridors and studios.
There have been critics of the sale, and not just for sentimental reasons. Newsnight presenter and BBC employee Jeremy Paxman was unafraid of criticising the decision. "What organisation – at a time when it has no money, allegedly – would move from cheap square footage in West London to Oxford Circus?" he asked back in February when the sale was mooted.
The BBC will continue to use Television Centre until 2015, although staff will gradually be shifted to Salford or Oxford Circus.