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Catherine Bayfield
Catherine Bayfield
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Blog Post

End of an era – fond farewell to The London TV Centre

Catherine Bayfield
Catherine Bayfield
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From Monday 16th April it’s all change at ITV Daytime with their big move from London’s South Bank to White City. Live shows like Good Morning Britain, Lorraine, This Morning and Loose Women will be broadcast from Television Centre, a growing hub of media companies in West London.

BBC Worldwide is based there and the site has an array of  state of the art studios which are rented out by BBC Studio works – a commercial  subsidiary of the BBC. Other programmes on the move include the Jonathan Ross Show and Strictly Come Dancing’s spin off show, It Takes Two. ITV Studios is expected to return to the South Bank site in around five years time. Organising the ITV relocation has been a logistical nightmare and this week daytime producers are in the midst of ‘dry runs’ to ensure a smooth transition for viewers and the 350 staff who are relocating.

Our insiders at GMB say so far the move has gone ‘seamlessly ’ but there will be a lot of tears as production teams say farewell to ‘TV Towers’. It’s a wrench as some staff have been there for 25 years. I worked at GMB’s predecessor GMTV,  and an enduring memory for me will be the sun rising over St Paul’s Cathedral at the end of a long night shift, glorious! Oh and meeting the Bee Gees in the green room. That said the lure of Westfield is seemingly a huge sweetener; in addition to shopping, Television Centre boasts a new Soho House members club a rooftop pool, gym, hotel and restaurants. With the relocation,  each show will be striving to ensure they have the very best guests available. There is great rivalry and really only ONE opportunity to place a high profile guest or story on any given ITV daytime programme. Loose Women for example will decline a guest that has appeared on GMB.

Speaking of GMB, how about reading a previous blog on one of our many prestigious speakers from our Big Talk events, Richard Gaisford? Click here!

From Shout! Communications’ perspective, the Loose Women know how to get the best from a celebrity guest and their production team are keen to establish and maintain strong relationships with PRs . Their viewing figures currently outstrip GMB with a million plus tuning in each day. For some clients though it is more than just viewing figures, but the ability to communicate key messages, have a brand rapport with the audience and ultimately whether the programme is a good fit. It sometimes seems that ITV daytime is  super cautious about branding – they have to be.

As former broadcast journalists ourselves we understand compliance guidelines and OFCOM regulations and for TV and radio outlets there are punishing fines for those who breach them. ITV daytime is extremely vigilant and sensitive to undue prominence and even for a straightforward PR launch with a celebrity interview, the lawyers are brought in and the same ones advise across all shows so no room for manoeuvring. Producers on news programmes like GMB and This Morning will often book a guest under the strict proviso that any plug is a passing mention in line with a general chat.  The same is true of OB’s, gone are the days of branded bibs and baseball caps being accepted at a sports event or banners emblazoned with your client’s logos at a launch.

Less is definitely more. We’re looking forward to seeing how the new look ITV daytime will pan out.

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