Fountain Studios

Fountain Studios

Fountain Studios
Location within Greater London
Former names Associated-Rediffusion Studios
London Weekend Television
Lee International Film and Television Studios
Limehouse Television Studios
General information
Type Television studios
Address 128 Wembley Park Drive,
Country United Kingdom
Coordinates 51°33′40″N 0°16′54″W / 51.5612°N 0.2818°W / 51.5612; -0.2818Coordinates: 51°33′40″N 0°16′54″W / 51.5612°N 0.2818°W / 51.5612; -0.2818

Fountain Studios is an independently owned television studio located in Wembley Park, Wembley, north-west London, close to Wembley Park underground station. The company is part of the Avesco Group plc.

A number of companies owned the site before it was purchased by Fountain in 1993. Originally a film studio complex, it was formerly the base for the ITV contractors Rediffusion from 1955 to 1968, and London Weekend Television from 1968 to 1972.

More recently, the studios are best known for being the venue for the live stages of ITV shows The X Factor and Britain's Got Talent. Other programmes made at Fountain include The Cube and The British Comedy Awards. Fountain Studios has also hosted Pop Idol, Test the Nation and The Kumars at No. 42.

In January 2016, it was confirmed that the studios have been sold for £16 million to a property developer and will be demolished.[1][2]

The last shows to be broadcasted live (and recorded) at the studios were The X Factor and The Xtra Factor on 4 December 2016.


In 1927, Ralph J. Pugh and Rupert Mason founded British Incorporated Pictures with the intention of creating an American-style studio complex in the former British Empire Exhibition's Palace of Engineering. They bought a lease at Wembley in June 1927, though it was for the Lucullus Garden Club Restaurant site, not the Palace of Engineering.[3][4][5] Their financial backing fell through and in May 1928 the lease was sold to Victor Sheridan. Sheridan announced that £500,000 was to be spent on developing the biggest and best-equipped studio centre in Europe. Sheridan sold his lease to British Talking Pictures a few months later. In September 1928, British Talking Pictures formed a subsidiary, British Sound Film Productions, to make films at Wembley. Wembley Studios was Britain's first purpose-built sound studios. Its three sound stages were officially opened in September 1929. Perhaps because of a major fire, the studio was never as successful as had been hoped. They were taken over by the American Fox Film Company,[6] who leased the site and then bought it outright in 1936.[3][7]

Fox used the studio for the production of their 'quota quickies'. A change in the law in 1938 led 20th Century Fox to use other studios, but it retained ownership. During the war the studios were leased to the military (the Army Kinematograph Service and RAF Film Unit), with intermittent rental to independents.[3][8] Ealing Studios filmed Ships with Wings at Wembley in 1941.[9] There was a fire at the studios in 1943.[3]

In the 1950s the studios were used by Mercia Film Productions, who made feature films, and Rayant Pictures, who made shorts and adverts.[10] The last film made at Wembley was Ealing Studios' The Ship That Died of Shame.[3]

Wembley Film Studio was taken over by Associated-Rediffusion, ITV’s weekday broadcasters for London, in 1955. New television studios were built by Associated-Rediffusion and opened in 1960. Their size and unique design attracted worldwide attention. Associated-Rediffusion was the ITV weekday broadcaster for London. The first production was An Arabian Night with Orson Welles. Shows such as Ready Steady Go!, No Hiding Place and Take Your Pick were to follow. During the 1960s the studios were home to some of the most popular programmes on the ITV network, including The Rat Catchers, Blackmail, At Last, The 1948 Show and The Frost Report. The Beatles appeared on more than one occasion at the studios.

When Associated-Rediffusion lost its weekday ITV franchise in 1968, the television studios entered a difficult period. For a time they became LWT’s broadcast base and were used to record shows such as On the Buses, Please Sir and Upstairs Downstairs. The 1970s through to the 1990s saw the demise and demolition of the film studio complex and the decline of the television studios under many different owners.

Fountain Television started its existence as a studio and post-production facility in New Malden, Surrey in 1985. After hosting shows such as Ready Steady Cook and Wizadora, the company took the opportunity to purchase the badly run-down Wembley site in 1993 for redevelopment.

Studio 5 (now known as Studio A & Studio B), is 14,000 sq ft including the firelanes. This makes it the largest fully equipped television studio in the UK – 500 sq ft larger than HQ1 at MediaCityUK in Salford and 2,000 sq ft larger than Studio 1 at BBC Television Centre. Internationally, larger studios exist in Germany and in the United States, although many of these fall into the category of soundstages and are not fully equipped television studios.

Fountain undertook the daunting task of the refurbishment and by 1994 the first shows began to trickle in. Hearts of Gold with Esther Rantzen, Talking Telephone Numbers and The Day Today were amongst the first shows to use Fountain's facilities.

An unusual feature of the studios is a soundproof double door which can be lowered in 30 minutes to reconfigure the space into two separate studios, each with its own independent control facilities.

Many high-profile productions are still produced at Fountain Studios; these include The X Factor, Play to the Whistle, 1000 Heartbeats and Britain's Got Talent.

Notable programmes

Fountain Studios is home to many popular entertainment programmes. List of shows, studio used and network broadcast on below:

Years Programme Channel Series
2016 Tipping Point: Lucky Stars ITV 1 series
Debatable BBC Two 1 series
Taskmaster Dave 2 series
Dara Ó Briain's Go 8 Bit Dave 1 series
2015–2016 Play to the Whistle ITV 2 series
Rebound ITV 2 series
2015 1000 Heartbeats ITV 2 series
Home Win ITV Pilot episode
2014–2016 Big Star's Little Star ITV 3 series
2014 Alan Davies Après-Ski BBC Two 1 series
All Star Mr & Mrs ITV 1 series
Decimate BBC One 2 series
Stoptober advertisment ITV N/A
2013 Amazing Greys ITV 1 series
Stepping Out ITV 1 series
Andrew Lloyd Webber: 40 Musical Years ITV One-off programme
Reflex BBC One 1 series
2012 That Dog Can Dance ITV One-off programme
My Man Can ITV 1 series (not broadcast)
Superstar ITV 1 series
Let's Get Gold ITV 1 series
The Midnight Beast - Live! E4 One-off programme
Marco Pierre White's Kitchen Wars Channel 5 1 series
2012–2013 The Voice UK: Battle Rounds BBC One 2 series
2011–2014 British Comedy Awards Channel 4 4 episodes
2011 A Night with Beyoncé ITV One-off programme
Red or Black? ITV 1 series
The Cube-La Sfida Italia1
Penn & Teller: Fool Us ITV 1 series
The Cube–Besiege den Würfel! RTL
Ant & Dec's Push the Button ITV 1 series
2010 Must Be The Music Sky1 1 series
Over the Rainbow BBC One 1 series
The Cube USA NBC Pilot episode
2010–2011 Al Moukaab Saudi TV
2009–2015 The Cube ITV 9 series
2009 Britain's Best Brain Channel 5 1 series
Sell Me the Answer Sky1 1 series
The Susan Boyle Story ITV One-off programme
Al Murray's Multiple Personality Disorder ITV 1 series
2008 Duel ITV 1 series
Clone BBC Three 1 series
2007–2016 Britain's Got More Talent ITV2 10 series
Britain's Got Talent ITV 10 series
2007 Bremner, Bird and Fortune Channel 4
2006 1 vs. 100 BBC One 1 series
Petrolheads BBC Two
2006–2007 PokerFace ITV 1 series
School's Out BBC One
2004–2016 The Xtra Factor ITV2 13 series
The X Factor ITV 13 series
2003 Lenny Henry in Pieces BBC One
19 Keys Channel 5
2003–2004 World Idol ITV
2002–2007 Test the Nation BBC One
2001–2003 Pop Idol ITV
2001–2006 The Kumars at No. 42 BBC Two
1999–2004 Winning Lines BBC One
1998 Friends NBC
1994–1997 Talking Telephone Numbers ITV
1988–1996 Hearts of Gold BBC One


  1. Rebecca Lewis (16 January 2016). "Fountain Studios home to The X Factor and Britain's Got Talent sold for £16m - Metro News". Metro.
  2. Nathan Spendelow (14 January 2016). "Britain's Got Talent and X Factor studios in Wembley set to close". getwestlondon.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 rediffusion "An incomplete history of London's television studios" Check |url= value (help).
  4. Rachael Low (13 September 2013). History of British Film (Volume 4): The History of the British Film 1918 - 1929. Routledge. pp. 227–. ISBN 978-1-136-20634-4.
  5. "Inside Wembley Studios – Part 1 - Studios - Transdiffusion". Retrieved 2016-07-18.
  6. Fox Film Company at the Internet Movie Database
  7. Wood, Linda. "British Films 1927 - 1939" (PDF). British Film Institute. pp. 6, 9.
  8. Patricia Warren British Film Studios: An Illustrated History, London: B.T. Batsford, 2001, p.182-84
  9. team, Code8. "On screen - WEMBLEY PARK". Retrieved 2016-07-18.
  10. "Full text of "Kinematograph Year Book 1954"". Retrieved 2016-07-18.

External links

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