City Road 

1 May 2007 0 tbs.pm/3523 Article text released under the Creative Commons Attribution license Media copyrighted Report an error in this article

It was a former pair of disused warehouses in City Road, Newcastle, that housed Tyne Tees Television from launch until 2005.

Exterior of City Road studios just before closure

Exterior of City Road, just before closure in 2005

Chosen due to their close location to the telephone switching centre in Carliol Square, the two furniture warehouses (linked by a wooden shed), were purchased to convert into their studio and office complex.

Tyne Tees presentation control in 1967

The buildings were completely gutted before being rebuilt with three studios, control rooms, scenery docks as well as the necessary offices, canteen, switchboards and control centres.

The largest studio, known as Studio 1 featured space for an audience, and was built for live entertainment programming including the ‘One o’Clock Show’ – a live daily light entertainment programme aimed at housewives and broadcast at 1pm until March 1964.

Next door was the smaller studio 2, used for smaller programmes and the early ad-mag programmes. To save money, studio 2 shared its sound and camera equipment with the OB unit.

Studio 3 was much smaller, initially used for interviews, the news and some continuity, although for most of Tyne Tees’s live, this would come from Studio 4.

In 1981, a brand new studio was built in an extension at City Road to help Tyne Tees cope with the extra studio space required to host its productions for Channel 4.

Floor plan of studio 5
Floor plan of studio 5. See larger version

Designed by Richard (now Lord) Rogers, the extension was actually built with the neighbouring Egypt Cottage pub sandwiched between the new building, and the original. It was a steeply sloping sight and required its own entrance way, which was built with a glazed arcade.

Within two years, the entrance way itself would find fame of its own, lending its name to Tyne Tees’s seminal music programme, The Tube, which ran on Channel 4 until 1987.

The Tube entrance
Entrance way to Studio 5 – probably best known for featuring in the opening titles of The Tube in the 1980s.

Studio 4 went out of action in 1996, and changes in production techniques dwindle at the turn of the new century, and the number of shows with an audience declined, with the last noticeable production being a four week stint hosting Countdown in 2001. By 2005, new owners ITV plc decided to close the building and move Tyne Tees to new, smaller facilities in Gateshead instead.

Any mention of studios can’t go on without mentioning the two original Studio 5s – namely the Egypt Cottage pub and the Rose and Crown, between which the station staff would visit. The studio 5 crown varied over the years as staff allegiance changed between the two.

For some time afterwards the buildings continue to be in use, with Studio 5 now being occupied by a local church, and the main buildings housing a number of small business. However the main buildings and indeed the nearby Egypt Cottage pub, came under threat of demolition, as part of a redevelopment plan for the area. The bulldozers moved in in January 2010.

 

Andrew Bowden

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