The BBC has sold its legendary Maida Vale recording studios to a partnership between Working Title Co-Chairmen Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner, composer Hans Zimmer and music producer Steven Kofsky.
Bought by the BBC in 1933, Maida Vale Studios has seen the likes of David Bowie, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin and Dusty Springfield record in the building, and has become a home for the BBC Performing Groups.
The sale of Maida Vale comes after plans were announced in 2018 that the BBC will move its music studios and performing groups to a new, purpose-built recording and studio space in East London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The new BBC Music Studios in East Bank are set to open in late 2025.
The new purchasers have agreed that Maida Vale’s legacy as a centre for pioneering music-making will continue, with plans to keep the original façade of the building and to preserve the ethos of Maida Vale.
Initial plans also state that the building will remain as a studio space, with a multi-million pound refurbishment plan for its existing studios. There will also be the creation of a not-for-profit educational facility, and a long-term commitment to providing local jobs, innovation and investment.
Bevan and Fellner said: “Maida Vale Studios has been synonymous with artistic excellence for generations. 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.
“We are thrilled to be working with our old friends Hans Zimmer and Steve Kofsky on this once in a lifetime project and collectively we are determined to continue the BBC’s legacy at Maida Vale by attracting global talent to the UK. 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: “The first time I worked for the BBC at their Maida Vale Studios was 45 years ago. I was just a kid, in awe, honoured to be booked to play on one of my first sessions. 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. 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. For the people by the people. This was the place that kept a struggling musician like me from giving up.
“At the same time, Tim, Eric and I started working together, making our first movies. Movies not only made in Britain with the greatest talent the country had - and still has - to offer, but movies that often provoked and had something to say about a changing Britain; that gave voice to our generation. Usually by making you laugh. My work with Working Title gave me my career in Hollywood, where Steve Kofsky became my partner, and he and I made sure to drag the work from as many Hollywood films as possible back to Britain. So now I want to close the circle: make Maida Vale Studios a place that inspires, teaches, technologically serves the arts and humanity, and gives the next generation the same opportunities I was given: to create and to never give up.”
Lorna Clarke, Director of Music at the BBC, said: “Maida Vale has played such an important part in the BBC’s history, and its significance in popular culture is huge. 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.