BBC sells Maida Vale Studios to Hans Zimmer-backed group

Famous names, including The Beatles and David Bowie, have recorded at the venue

Adele performs at Maida Vale Studios in 2011. Getty Images
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The BBC has sold its historic Maida Vale recording studios to a group which includes German composer and music producer Hans Zimmer.

Maida Vale Studios was bought by the BBC in 1933 and has staged major recordings by the likes of The Beatles, David Bowie and Dusty Springfield and in 2009 Sami Yusuf performed a special Eid Live Session at the venue.

The sale comes as the UK is facing a growing demand for studios with teams behind titles from Marvel to James Bond travelling thousands of miles to film on these shores.

Maida Vale was put on the market last year for about £10.5 million ($13.3m), amid a cash crunch at the broadcaster due to reductions in government funding.

On Monday, the BBC confirmed the site had been sold to a partnership between Working Title film studio bosses Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner, and Zimmer and his long-time business partner Stefan Kofsky.

It will continue to be used a music recording space and the new owners have pledged to create a non-profit educational hub at the site.

“Maida Vale has played such an important part in the BBC’s history and its significance in popular culture is huge," said Lorna Clarke, director of music at the BBC.

“We are so pleased to secure a sale which looks to continue the bright, vibrant future of music making in this iconic building – not only providing new studio spaces but jobs and an education facility.”

The new owners have a multimillion-pound refurbishment plan but stressed they will keep the original facade of the building.

The corporation has previously announced plans for its new BBC Music Studios in East London to house performances, recordings and rehearsals for events such as The Proms.

It said the new site is expected to open in late 2025.

“The venue has become part of the fabric of the UK’s pioneering cultural industry, from helping to nurture new and ground-breaking artists, to housing some of the world’s most legendary musicians," Mr Bevan and Mr Fellner said.

“Through our redevelopment plans we will future-proof the historic site, continuing its presence in the local community with a new education facility, whilst creating a world-class studio space for the next generation of composers, producers, editors and engineers.”

Zimmer said he first worked at the studios 45 years ago.

“I still remember the strong pull, the desire to touch the walls, as if that would somehow allow me to connect to the artists whose extraordinary music had resonated against these walls on a daily basis," he said.

“This was a place of revolutionary science in the service of art, this was a place that inspired you to give your best, where music was performed around the clock and art was taken seriously.”

The studios have also been home to the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, a pioneering electronic sound laboratory where the theme to the long-running television sci-fi drama Doctor Who was created.

But its future had been under threat since the corporation announced in 2018 that it was moving its music studios to a new base in East London.

Updated: August 15, 2023, 9:53 AM