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BBC chief backs education centre plan for Alexandra Palace’s TV studios

The new images show how the theatre at Alexandra Palace will look. The new images show how the theatre at Alexandra Palace will look.

Thursday, March 13, 2014
9:00 AM

The BBC’s director general has thrown his support behind the plans to transform Alexandra Palace’s television studios into an interactive education centre.

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How the team behind Alexandra Palace's regneration hope it will look.How the team behind Alexandra Palace's regneration hope it will look.

Tony Hall, who took over as head of the corporation last year, welcomed the plans for the proposed centre, which will use digital imagery and historic artefacts important to the tale of broadcasting at the Palace and beyond.

The BBC studios at Ally Pally were the venue for the world’s first high definition public television broadcast in 1936.

“The BBC’s time at Alexandra Palace was revolutionary,” Mr Hall said.

“I am pleased that this remarkable period, when the BBC led the world in pioneering a new medium which has had such an impact on everyone’s lives, will be showcased at the very site where broadcast history was made.”

His comments came as the Palace unveiled Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios (FCBS) as its lead designers for the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) supported regneration project – as well as two stunning new images of what they hope the Victorian venue will look like once work is complete.

Among other things, the award-winning architects – who are also behind the new Southbank Centre plans – will be working alongside the BBC, and other partners like the Science Museum and the National Media Museum, to ensure a “complementary approach” to telling the tale of early entertainment.

“Our great challenge is to reinterpret and sympathetically bring together the Palace’s Victorian ideal of mass entertainment and make it relevant for users for the next 100 years,” FCBS lead architect Andy Theobald said.

“We are convinced that the only way to do this is through using modern technology, audience participation and a future-facing programme of events which welcome people from all communities to enjoy this wonderful place.”

Ally Pally chief executive Duncan Wilson said he was “thrilled” to get FCBS on board, adding: “FCBS’s track record in delivering innovative and sustainable designs in a historic context is exciting and I am very much looking forward to working with them to realise our vision for the revival of Alexandra Palace’s Victorian theatre and the television studios which first broadcast to the public back in 1936.”

Matt Cooke, chairman of the Alexandra Park and Palace Charitable Trust, said: “In the coming few years Alexandra Palace will become the site of one of the most exciting heritage projects in Europe. These new facilities will also allow for the growth of Alexandra Palace’s very successful events programme into new areas.”

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