EPIC studios takeover could bring jobs to Norwich

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Media captionNorfolk County Council says public money has not been lost in the sale of Epic

High-definition TV studios, among the most advanced in Europe, have been sold by their county council owners.

The EPIC studios have been bought by production company Extreme Video from Norfolk County Council (NCC), for an undisclosed sum.

The takeover of the studio facility on Magdalen Street, Norwich, could secure "30 jobs in the next six months", said new owner Jonathan Thursby.

NCC bought the site in 2006 with EEDA funding, after Anglia TV pulled out.

Selling the premises is part of the county council's plans to save £75m over the next two years.

It has spent £994,000 on the revenue costs of running EPIC since taking it over.

'Safeguarded future'

Ann Steward, NCC's cabinet member for economic development, said the council bought the site to protect Norwich's reputation as a creative centre.

"It was the right move at the time, we managed to get funding from EEDA to keep that facility open," she said.

"Now we've got an opportunity to look to it being run differently.

"It was vital that we maintained Norwich and Norfolk's credentials as a centre for the creative and digital media and I feel we've done just that.

"We have not only safeguarded the future of EPIC and our creative industry, but have put it back into the private sector and into the hands of a company who will really push it forward."

Since opening, EPIC has facilitated more than 20 business start-ups that have created more than 70 jobs.

Speaking on BBC Radio Norfolk, Mr Thursby said: "I want to take the vision the council's had for the last four years and take it forward in what is a struggling time in the economy.

"The important thing is keeping jobs there, keeping small businesses going so the public money is looked after.

"It's very exciting to take over something that has been so professionally set up and take it forward."

Extreme Video, which has 20 years in the broadcast industry, lists Top Gear, the World Rally Championship and Sport Relief among its clients.

In the past, the main EPIC studio has been used for recordings of Trisha, Graham Norton, Vanessa Feltz and the children's show Knightmare.

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