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BBC sells Elstree Studios

January 16, 2024

The BBC is to sell its Elstree studio complex to French insurance company Axa, in a deal worth around £70 million (€81m). Axa Investment Managers, will buy the 16-acre complex near Watford, north-west of London. The BBC will take a 25-year leaseback of part of the facilities and continue to film there.

The BBC had a cash crunch when the government froze the licence fee for two years in 2022 as inflation rose sharply and set a strict limit for increases from April this year.

Alan Dickson, BBC Chief Financial Officer, said that the sale of the Elstree Centre was “part of an ongoing review of the BBC’s property portfolio in order to provide the best value for licence fee payers”.

Elstree has been a centre of UK television and film production for more than a century. The BBC bought its studio there in 1984, the year before flagship soap opera EastEnders was first filmed at the site. The site is also used for large studio productions such as the BBC Children in Need charity telethon.

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