South Bank loses major player

London’s increasingly miserable arts centre is losing its media neighbour.

ITV announced this morning it will not redevelop its headquarters and is leaving the South Bank forever.

Big loss of footfall and prestige.


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  • Is it that much of a loss ?
    That building is where stuff like Cilla Black’s ‘Blind Date’ was filmed.

    • Huge number of fine programmes made there (including the South Bank Show and a lot of ITV and BBC studio productions in entertainment and comedy).

      But I still don’t understand why Norman thinks it’ll be a big loss of footfall. For whom? It was mainly an office building (and there are plenty of those around); studio audiences were always ticketed, so went there specifically.

      ITV moving its base will have no effect whatsoever on the arts centre part of the Southbank.

  • I don’t think South Bank is miserable. The Royal Festival Hall offers a host of wonderful concerts and is still adding new attractions (recently announced 5 year arrangement with The Gewandhaus).

    There are the other halls and the area around seems popular and busy with a good atmosphere.

    • When we went to the South Bank to hear Bruckner’s 7th a month ago we were served sub-par chardonnay in plastic cups. It was like being at a frat party, and stood in complete contrast to the wonderful complexity and sonority of the music we were there to hear.

      I have nothing against modernism in architecture necessarily, but how anyone can think the South Bank and the RFH in its present state has a ‘good atmosphere’ or any degree of sophistication is beyond me.

      • What I mean is that there were young family groups, students, friends and “good natured” people of all sorts who were relaxing and enjoying themselves. I would say that was good to see!

      • Further to my comment –

        I advise you not to take main meals and drink at South Bank which has some outlets that are fine for sandwiches, snacks etc. There are some very good dining and drinks venues within a 20 minutes walk.

        If you want a first class venue for sound, style and atmosphere then I recommend Symphony Hall in Birmingham. It is one of the best in Europe and the concerts and music on offer are first rate.

      • I can’t comment on the quality of the wine. I don’t know why it would have been served in a plastic cup. I have definitely seen proper wine glasses at the Southbank bars. I wouldn’t judge a concert hall on the basis of the wine they served me though, nor what it was served in.

  • This is ridiculous. We all know that Norman has a thing about the Southbank Centre. ITV has nothing to do with the Southbank Centre. It just happens to have premises nearby. It won’t make any difference at all. For what it’s worth, I go to concerts at the Southbank Centre regularly and I think it’s the best classical music venue in London.

    • but it’s still one of the most awful concert halles around. Lucky Vienna, Berlin, Amsterdam, Barcelona etc etc – London has two ugly halls without any atmosphere: RFH and Barbican but it has BREXIT. Addio…..

      • Ugly is just your opinion. A lot of people love the architecture of the Southbank Centre and Barbican Centre. The only important consideration is the acoustic, and I have to agree that London’s two main concert halls do not have great acoustics.

        But I don’t think Norman’s hobby horse about the Southbank is to do with the architecture. His criticisms are all about the range and quality of classical music performed there. Personally, I think the music at the Southbank is good. The quality is consistently first rate and the programming is frequently very interesting and certainly more adventurous than at most other venues.

  • A complete irrelevance for the SBC. Say what you will about the lack of Classical activity at the RFH and QEH, but ITV moving out will have no impact at all. Fewer dodgy paps peering through the fence on that scruffy bit of grass, though.

  • Also, I just read the last bit of Norman’s post properly. ITV was never the Southbank Centre’s immediate neighbour. ITV was next to the National Theatre, which is a separate entity. I’m fascinated to know how ITV being just down the road added to the prestige of the concert hall complex. It seems like saying that the prestige of the National Gallery is dependent upon its being across the square from the Canadian and South African high commissions. Also not sure about footfall. How many people actually used to go in and out of the ITV building, compared with the total number of people visiting this stretch of river? I assume very few, and they would mostly access the premises from the road, not the pedestrian walkway along the river. And how often would somebody go to a classical music concert at the Southbank just because they happened to be at ITV earlier in the day? Not often, I guess. Again, let’s suppose the Canadian and South African high commissions moved out of Trafalgar Square, would that in any way decrease visitor numbers to the National Gallery? I mean, beyond one or two people popping in during their lunch break. It’s just a ridiculous argument. The relationship between the prestige and visitor numbers at the Southbank Centre and the location of ITV is basically zero (ITV never conferred any extra prestige on the Southbank Centre and the total number of people popping in for a concert after work was probably very, very few). Any prestige and footfall comes from the National Theatre, British Film Institute, London Eye, and the various things going on in County Hall.

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