Television Centre to be sold for around £200m

TVC The 'doughnut' in the middle of Television Centre was a hub for staff to socialise

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The BBC has exchanged contracts for the sale of Television Centre to property developers Stanhope Plc for around £200m, it was announced today.

Contracts were exchanged on Saturday 14 July. The BBC promise for more details to be available on completion of the sale.

The BBC announced in June 2011 that it was putting Television Centre (TVC) up for sale and plans to move most staff out of the site by April 2013.

The question mark shape

TVC design on an envelope

Television Centre's architect Graham Dawbarn was given a 50 page brief for the building.

It asked for a building with eight studios, production galleries, dressing rooms, camera workshops, recording areas, an area to bring in trucks with sets and a separate space for audiences and guests to come in.

The story goes that, looking for inspiration, Dawbarn went to a local pub.

He pulled out an old envelope and drew the triangular shape of the site on the back.

He then drew a question mark in the middle of the triangle.

He looked at the question mark and in a flash of inspiration realised that it would make the perfect design.

Children's, Sport, BBC Radio 5 Live and BBC Breakfast have already moved to MediaCity in Salford, leaving a lot of TVC empty. News teams are in the process of moving to New Broadcasting House whose newsroom was officially declared open by Head of Newsroom Mary Hockaday on 9 July.

Among the last teams to leave TVC is domestic television news and weather who will move to New Broadcasting House at the beginning of 2013.

Eventually the aim is for BBC staff to leave West London entirely. The movement of staff already means that for the first time over half of BBC staff work outside London.

The news comes as the annual report shows the the cost of property has gone up by £37m this year. Chief Financial Officer Zarin Patel said this will reduce over the next three years, as properties are sold. While staff have moved into offices in Salford, Drama Village in Cardiff and New Broadcasting House, the BBC hadn't got rid of the property they had moved out of in time for it to be included in the annual report.

The annual report even says the closure of television centre will go some way towards the BBC being more environmentally friendly - saying the building accounts for a quarter of the BBC's energy useage.

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