Lime Grove Studios

Lime Grove Studios

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Lime Grove Studios was a film studio complex built by the Gaumont Film Company
Gaumont Film Company
Gaumont Film Company is a French film production company founded in 1895 by the engineer-turned-inventor, Léon Gaumont . Gaumont is the oldest continously operating film company in the world....

 in 1915 situated in a street named Lime Grove, in
Shepherd's Bush
Shepherd's Bush
-Commerce:Commercial activity in Shepherd's Bush is now focused on the Westfield shopping centre next to Shepherd's Bush Central line station and on the many small shops which run along the northern side of the Green....

, west London, north of Hammersmith
Hammersmith
Hammersmith is an urban centre in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham in west London, England, in the United Kingdom, approximately five miles west of Charing Cross on the north bank of the River Thames...

 and described by Gaumont as "the finest studio in Great Britain and the first building ever put up in this country solely for the production of films". From 1949 to 1991 the complex was used by the BBC.

Gaumont-British Picture Corporation


In 1922, Isidore Ostrer along with his brothers Mark and Maurice, acquired control of Gaumont-British
Gaumont British
Gaumont-British Picture Corporation was the British arm of the French film company Gaumont. The company became independent of its French parent in 1922, when Isidore Ostrer acquired control of Gaumont-British....

 from its French parent. In 1932 a major redevelopment of Lime Grove Studios was completed, creating one of the best equipped studio complexes of that era. The first film produced at the remodeled studio was the Walter Forde
Walter Forde
Walter Forde was a British actor, Screenwriter and Director. Born in Bradford, Yorkshire in 1896 he directed over fifty films between 1920 and 1949.-Silent era filmography:* The Wanderer * The Handyman ...

 thriller Rome Express
Rome Express
Rome Express is a British film directed by Walter Forde and written by Sidney Gilliat and Clifford Grey. -Cast:*Esther Ralston - Asta Marvelle*Conrad Veidt - Zurta*Harold Huth - George Grant*Frank Vosper - M...

, which became one of the first British sound films to garner critical and financial success in the United States (where it was distributed by Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures
-1920:* White Youth* The Flaming Disc* Am I Dreaming?* The Dragon's Net* The Adorable Savage* Putting It Over* The Line Runners-1921:* The Fire Eater* A Battle of Wits* Dream Girl* The Millionaire...

).
The studios prospered under Gaumont-British, and in 1941 were bought by the Rank Organisation
Rank Organisation
The Rank Organisation was a British entertainment company formed during 1937 and absorbed in 1996 by The Rank Group Plc. It was the largest and most vertically-integrated film company in Britain, owning production, distribution and exhibition facilities....

 and became a home on many occasions to the Ealing comedies
Ealing Comedies
For the film Ealing Comedy, see Ealing Comedy .The Ealing Comedies were a series of film comedies produced by Ealing Studios during the period 1947 to 1957....

. The famous British film The Wicked Lady
The Wicked Lady
The Wicked Lady is a 1945 film starring Margaret Lockwood in the title role as a nobleman's wife who secretly becomes a highwayman for the excitement...

(1945) was also made at Lime Grove.

BBC studios


In 1949, the BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 bought Lime Grove Studios as a "temporary measure" – as they were to build Television Centre
BBC Television Centre
BBC Television Centre at White City in West London is the headquarters of BBC Television. Officially opened on 29 June 1960, it remains one of the largest to this day; having featured over the years as backdrop to many BBC programmes, it is one of the most readily recognisable such facilities...

 at nearby White City
White City, London
White City is a district in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, to the north of Shepherd's Bush. Today, White City is home to the BBC Television Centre and BBC White City, and Loftus Road stadium, the home of football club Queens Park Rangers FC....

 – and began converting them from film to television use, reopening them on 21 May 1950.

Lime Grove would be home to many BBC TV shows over the next forty-two years, including: Nineteen Eighty-Four
Nineteen Eighty-Four (TV programme)
Nineteen Eighty-Four is a British television adaptation of the novel of the same name by George Orwell, originally broadcast on BBC Television in December 1954. The production proved to be hugely controversial, with questions asked in Parliament and many viewer complaints over its supposed...

, Quatermass II
Quatermass II
Quatermass II is a British science-fiction serial, originally broadcast by BBC Television in the autumn of 1955. It is the second in the Quatermass series by writer Nigel Kneale, and the first of those serials to survive in its entirety in the BBC archives...

, Steptoe and Son
Steptoe and Son
Steptoe and Son is a British sitcom written by Ray Galton and Alan Simpson about two rag and bone men living in Oil Drum Lane, a fictional street in Shepherd's Bush, London. Four series were broadcast by the BBC from 1962 to 1965, followed by a second run from 1970 to 1974. Its theme tune, "Old...

, Doctor Who
Doctor Who
Doctor Who is a British science fiction television programme produced by the BBC. The programme depicts the adventures of a time-travelling humanoid alien known as the Doctor who explores the universe in a sentient time machine called the TARDIS that flies through time and space, whose exterior...

, Nationwide
Nationwide (TV series)
Nationwide was a BBC News and Current affairs television programme broadcast on BBC One each weekday following the early evening news. It followed a magazine format, combining political analysis and discussion with consumer affairs, light entertainment and sports reporting...

, Top of the Pops
Top of the Pops
Top of the Pops, also known as TOTP, is a British music chart television programme, made by the BBC and originally broadcast weekly from 1 January 1964 to 30 July 2006. After 25 December 2006 it became a radio program, now hosted by Tony Blackburn...

and the 1950s soap opera
Soap opera
A soap opera, sometimes called "soap" for short, is an ongoing, episodic work of dramatic fiction presented in serial format on radio or as television programming. The name soap opera stems from the original dramatic serials broadcast on radio that had soap manufacturers, such as Procter & Gamble,...

 The Grove Family
The Grove Family
The Grove Family is a British television soap opera, generally regarded as the first of its kind broadcast in the UK, made and transmitted by BBC Television from 1954 to 1957...

took the name of its title family from the studios, where it was made. The last live programme was The Late Show on 14 June 1991 from studio D. A children's magazine style programme Studio E was broadcast live from the studio of the same name from 1955-ca.1958 hosted by Vera McKechnie
Vera McKechnie
Vera McKechnie was one of the first presenters at the start of BBC Children's Television in the early 1950s.-Television career:She started her career when the BBC restarted TV broadcasts after the Second World War. On BBC Children’s Television she presented the programme Andy Pandy where she told...

.

In 1991, the BBC decided to consolidate its London television production at BBC Television Centre and close its other studios including Lime Grove. On 26 August 1991, a month after the studios were closed forever, the BBC transmitted a special day of programming called The Lime Grove Story featuring examples of the many programmes and films that had been made at Lime Grove in its 76 years as a place of film and television production. Television Theatre close by, near Shepherd's Bush
Shepherd's Bush
-Commerce:Commercial activity in Shepherd's Bush is now focused on the Westfield shopping centre next to Shepherd's Bush Central line station and on the many small shops which run along the northern side of the Green....

Green, closed the same year.

The studios themselves were put on the market and eventually were bought by a development company which demolished the studios in 1993 and redeveloped the area into a housing estate. The streets in the housing estate were named Gaumont Terrace and Gainsborough Court, in memory of the past owners of Lime Grove Studios.

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