London’s Maida Vale Studios has been sold to a partnership between Working Title co-chairmen Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner and composer Hans Zimmer and his business partner Steve Kofsky.
According to the partners, the plan is to keep the original façade of the building and “preserve the ethos of Maida Vale”. The building will remain as a studio space, with a multi-million pound refurbishment plan for its existing studios as well as a not-for-profit educational facility.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Maida Vale Studios was first bought by the BBC in 1933. Since then, it 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 Group. It has also more recently welcomed the likes of Beyonce, Alicia Keys, Katy Perry and Sam Smith.
The sale of Maida Vale comes after plans were announced in 2018 for the BBC to move its music studios and performing groups from its Maida Vale location to a purpose-built recording and studio space in Stratford’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
The new BBC Music Studios in ‘East Bank’ – planned to open in late 2025 – is part of a wider partnership with the V&A, Sadler’s Wells, UCL and UAL’s London College of Fashion to create a “creative quarter” in the area.
Oscar winner Zimmer has composed on multiple Working Title movies including Rush and Frost/Nixon.
Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner said of the deal: “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 partnering 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.”
Hans Zimmer added: “The first time I worked for the BBC at their Maida Vale Studios was 45 years ago. I was just a kid, in awe, honored 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, BBC’s Director of Music, commented: “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 facilty.
“We look forward to being able to continue to deliver world-class music to BBC audiences with our new tailor-made BBC Music Studios in the wonderfully rich cultural district of London’s East Bank.