This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.Find sources: "Maida Vale Studios" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (January 2019) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Exterior of Maida Vale Studios in 2020

Maida Vale Studios is a complex of seven BBC sound studios, of which five are in regular use, in Delaware Road, Maida Vale, west London.

It has been used to record thousands of classical music, popular music and drama sessions for BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio 6 Music from 1946 to the present. On 30 October 2009, BBC Radio 1 celebrated 75 Years of Maida Vale by exclusively playing 75 tracks recorded at the studios over the years. Snow Patrol played a live set from the studio with Fearne Cotton to celebrate 75 years of live music from the venue.

In June 2018, the BBC announced the closure of the studios.[1] In May 2020, Historic England designated it as a Grade II Listed Building.[2] The BBC plans to vacate the premises by 2025,[3] moving into a new development which is part of the Olympic Park, offering high-tech facilities and two spaces for public concerts.[4]

In August 2023, the studios were sold to a partnership between Tim Bevan & Eric Fellner, and Hans Zimmer & Steven Kofsky.[5]


The complex was built in 1909[6][7] as the Maida Vale Roller Skating Palace and Club.[8][9][6][10] Over a period of 15 months in 1933/1934, one hundred men reduced the skating rink to a shell, then rebuilt it.[11][self-published source?] The arches at the doorway were preserved. It was one of the BBC's earliest premises, and was the centre of the BBC News operation during World War II.

It has been the home of the BBC Symphony Orchestra since 1934, where the orchestra has given invitation concerts, usually free. As a schoolboy, conductor Vernon Handley learned some of his technique by watching Sir Adrian Boult conduct the BBC Symphony Orchestra here. Studio MV1 has room for an orchestra of over 150 musicians and an audience of over 200. An unusual feature of these concerts is that they were often recorded, which means that in later years the orchestra was sometimes able to do re-takes. It is the largest classical music studio in London.[12]

The BBC Third Programme (which became BBC Radio 3 in 1967) was created in September 1946. By the 1950s, it was frequently broadcasting concerts from this venue, including the first broadcast performance of Carl Orff's Carmina Burana, given by the resident orchestra with the Goldsmiths Choral Union and soloists. Some premieres of British classical music were recorded in studio MV1, including works by Robert Simpson, Arnold Bax, Nicholas Maw, Alan Rawsthorne and Sir Arthur Bliss. Many of them later became available on vinyl or CD. Olivier Messiaen's Turangalîla-Symphonie was rehearsed here, before its UK premiere at the Royal Festival Hall.

In 1958, the BBC Radiophonic Workshop was created, and based at Maida Vale Studios until its closure in 1998; the pioneering Delaware synthesiser made by EMS takes its name from the studios' address. The workshop's rooms are now used as a small TV studio for the Film programme, audio archiving facilities, engineering workshops and office space. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, the radio programme Movie-Go-Round was broadcast from here, in which Peter Haigh played sound clips from major films. The Beatles used studio MV5 several times in 1963 to record sessions for BBC Radio. The sessions for John Peel's BBC Radio 1 programme as well as Peter Clayton's Sounds of Jazz (broadcast on Sunday evenings using the BBC Radio 2 VHF transmitters) were also recorded at Maida Vale.[13]

The studios have been under regular threat of closure by BBC management: the building is in need of constant maintenance and due to its location in a residential area there are limits to the hours of operation and access. In July 2007, the BBC announced that the studios were "wholly unsuitable for the 21st century", and it was reported that it would be sold to property developers as part of cost-cutting measures.[14]

On 5 June 2018, the BBC announced that the studios would close by 2023.[1] The intention is for the BBC's live music base to be relocated in Stratford, east London.[15] It plans to move staff to a new development in Stratford by 2025.[16] The decision drew criticism from Geoff Barrow of Portishead and Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich.[17]

The COVID-19 outbreak led to the BBC closing the building temporarily, with effect from 27 March 2020. The building has since been re-opened.

On 5 May 2020, the studios were added to the List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest by Historic England.[2] In September 2020, it was revealed that the BBC were lodging an objection to the listing, reportedly so that it could sell off the property.[18] It was reported in February 2022 that the UK's Department for Culture, Media and Sport had turned down the appeal.[19] The building is Grade II listed.[2]

In November 2022, the studios went on sale for over £10.5 million.[20] The studios were subsequently sold to a partnership between Tim Bevan & Eric Fellner, and Hans Zimmer & Steven Kofsky for £10.5 million.[5]


BBC Singers at Maida Vale MV1

John Peel Sessions

Maida Vale Studios, Delaware Road, Maida Vale, London

From 1967 to 2004, the John Peel Sessions were recorded in studio MV4. At first, a number of other venues around London were also used, such as the Playhouse Theatre in Charing Cross, but as these ceased to be used by the BBC, the sessions increasingly centred on Maida Vale 4. Music sessions were once a mainstay of BBC Radio programming, as there were strict limits on the amount of commercially recorded music that could be aired, known as needle-time restrictions, so the BBC regularly booked musicians to record music exclusively for broadcast. In the early 1960s, when the BBC began to give some limited coverage of pop groups such as The Beatles, it was found that the sessions allowed up-and-coming bands to gain exposure, and for musicians and groups to try out new material, play covers they would not include on their albums, whilst also experimenting with different sounds and guest musicians.[citation needed]

With the introduction of Radio 1 in 1967, programmes such as Top Gear embraced this concept, with sessions from such stars-in-waiting as David Bowie, Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix. When one of Top Gear's presenters, John Peel, gained his own programme, specially commissioned recording sessions had a new outlet. Most of the artists were relatively unknown even to Peel's listeners: he and his producer would often invite bands on the strength of a rough demo tape or gig to hear what they could do, and for many of the bands it was their first experience of a professional recording studio, not to mention a much-needed boost to their finances. The format became standardised as a single session in the studio with a staff producer and engineer (or more latterly a producer-engineer and assistant), during which the artists would record four songs, but there were also some sessions which were either live to air, or pre-recorded as live with an audience. Other Radio 1 programmes and DJs adopted a similar system of Maida Vale sessions, such as Janice Long, Andy Kershaw, and The Evening Session (whose former host, Zane Lowe, has nicknamed the studio 'Maida Vegas'), as well as the more direct inheritors of the Peel Sessions tradition, Huw Stevens, Rob da Bank and Mike Davies.[citation needed]

Peel said "The Clash did half one, then amazingly said that the equipment in the studio wasn't up to the standards they'd expected so they couldn't complete the session. Which seemed to me to be unbearably pretentious of them".[21] Some albums by the Fall were entirely recorded there. The last band to record a Peel session was Skimmer, at Maida Vale Studios on 21 October 2004.[citation needed]

Robin Dallaway of The Cravats remarked that recording at Maida Vale was like stepping back into the 1940s: "blokes in brown stockmen's coats scurried around fixing stuff and plugging our gear in."[22] When Broadcast made their Peel sessions, Trish Keenan wrote "There was a sense of initiation on entering the Maida Vale studios. ... we wandered through the corridors, peering through the windows of locked rooms, on a hunt for the Radiophonic Workshop. We came across abandoned tape machines and Shostakovich posters in the hallways... We hovered outside the locked Radiophonic room, a little disappointed by what we could see through the window. We contemplated unscrewing the Radiophonic Workshop name plate from the door and making off with it, but knew the stern-faced security guard from earlier would have been on to us."[citation needed]

Notable performers

Other BBC disc jockeys invited artists to perform at Maida Vale: Led Zeppelin recorded for Alexis Korner's Rhythm and Blues programme in 1969, Walter Trout and Rob Tognoni recorded for Paul Jones's R & B show, Marillion recorded for Radio 2 DJ Bob Harris and Jo Whiley invited Hard Fi to play at the studios. The venue is also the home of the BBC Elstree Concert Band. The Radio 3 Jazz Line Up sessions were recorded here.[citation needed]

In October 1996, George Michael recorded a rehearsal for, what would be days later, his hit MTV Unplugged performance.

In 1994, the Beatles' album Live at the BBC was released, with most of the material having been recorded at Maida Vale. Several other albums, sometimes named after the studios, were recorded in studio MV4. Van der Graaf Generator released an album called Maida Vale in 1994. Portions of October 1990 and September 1991 sessions by Nirvana were released in 2004 on the band's With the Lights Out box set. In 2006, the group Hefner released an album called Maida Vale, which was recorded here. The White Stripes included their version of the Dusty Springfield classic "I Just Don't Know What to Do with Myself", recorded for The Evening Session in MV4 by Miti Adhikari on their album Elephant. In 2002, Andrea Bocelli's Sentimento was made at the studios. The label Maida Vale Records, a subsidiary of Cooking Vinyl, has a policy of releasing material from various radio stations.[citation needed] Radiohead recorded their 2011 live video The King of Limbs: Live from the Basement at Maida Vale.[23]


  1. ^ a b "BBC to leave iconic Maida Vale studios". BBC News. 5 June 2018. Retrieved 16 April 2019.
  2. ^ a b c "BBC Maida Vale Studios, Non Civil Parish - 1463441". Historic England. Retrieved 8 May 2020.
  3. ^ Kanter, Jake (17 February 2022). "BBC ordered to preserve Maida Vale studios". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 17 February 2022.
  4. ^ Saville, Alice. "Sad news: the legendary BBC Maida Vale recording studio is going on sale today". Time Out London. Retrieved 25 January 2023.
  5. ^ a b "BBC confirms sale of its Maida Vale Studios". Retrieved 14 August 2023.
  6. ^ a b "BBC - Maida Vale - History of the BBC". Retrieved 17 April 2017.
  7. ^ "Jo Whiley - Beyoncé, Doctor Who and an underground river - the secrets of BBC Maida Vale - BBC Radio 2". Retrieved 17 April 2017.
  8. ^ "Cohen v Maida Vale Roller Skating Palace and Club Ltd". Retrieved 17 April 2017.
  9. ^ "Maida Vale Roller Skating Palace & Club Ltd". Retrieved 17 April 2017.
  10. ^ "BBC plans to refurbish Maida Vale". Ariel. BBC. 10 June 2013. Retrieved 17 April 2017.
  11. ^ Bathgate, Gordon (18 March 2012). Voices from the Ether: The History of Radio. ISBN 9781471628610. Retrieved 17 April 2017.[self-published source]
  12. ^ "BBC Maida Vale Studios -". Retrieved 17 April 2017.
  13. ^ "A look around BBC's wonderful Maida Vale Studio MV3, west London". 29 September 2016. Retrieved 17 April 2017.
  14. ^ "Maida Vale Studio to close down". 2 July 2007. Retrieved 17 April 2017.
  15. ^ Waterson, Jim (5 June 2018). "BBC to close Maida Vale studios and move live music base to east London". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 June 2018.
  16. ^ Kanter, Jake (17 February 2022). "BBC ordered to preserve Maida Vale studios". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 17 February 2022.
  17. ^ "BBC Closing Its Historic Maida Vale Studios". Pitchfork. 5 June 2018. Retrieved 7 June 2018.
  18. ^ Guyoncourt, Sally (23 September 2020). "BBC objects to grade II listing of historic Maida Vale Studios so it can sell them off". Retrieved 24 September 2020.
  19. ^ Kanter, Jake (17 February 2022). "BBC ordered to preserve Maida Vale studios". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 17 February 2022.
  20. ^ Murdock, Meghann (30 November 2022). "Legendary BBC Maida Vale recording studio on sale for £10.5 million". Evening Standard. Retrieved 25 January 2023.
  21. ^ "Interview with John Peel". Radio B92. 1992.
  22. ^ "The Cravats John Peel Sessions". Retrieved 2 September 2020.
  23. ^ Mukadamm, Salim (21 June 2011). "Radiohead – The King of Limbs: Live From The Basement". BBC Worldwide. BBC. Archived from the original on 30 March 2016. Retrieved 30 March 2016.

51°31′33″N 0°11′25″W / 51.5258°N 0.1904°W / 51.5258; -0.1904