A development for HTV 

7 March 2022 tbs.pm/74927


Cover of Television & Radio 1986

From Television and Radio 1986, published by the Independent Broadcasting Authority

HTV’s £15m. [£47m now, allowing for inflation – Ed] television centre at Culverhouse Cross, Cardiff – one of the most modern complexes of its kind in Europe – is now fully operational.

Completed on schedule after two years of construction, the centre began production in July 1984. Welsh-American Star Jack Jones topped the bill in the opening night show at Culverhouse Cross in October 1984, and the Prince and Princess of Wales visited the centre in April 1985 to unveil a commemorative plaque.

Mr Ron Wordley, Chairman and Managing Director of HTV Ltd., said: ‘The completion of our new television centre is the realisation of a dream for us in HTV. The centre is not only a landmark in itself but also a significant manifestation of HTV’s progress in supplying programmes not just to the company’s region (just under 8% of the UK audience) but also to the network as a whole and to overseas markets.’

Built on a 60-acre [24ha] greenfield site, the centre is the headquarters of HTV Group pic and of HTV Limited, which provide the ITV service for the Wales and West of England dual region (HTV Wales and HTV West), together with Welsh language programmes for S4C, the Fourth Channel in Wales.

The complex consists of a large technical block, containing two production studios, office accommodation, a staff restaurant, other amenities and car parks.

HTV, one of ITV’s largest regional operations, is now based on a company-wide seven-studio concept, with extensive outside broadcast and film support.

Construction work on the Culverhouse Cross site started in July 1982. The project involved the creation of some 84,000 square feet [7800m²] of technical and ancillary accommodation including the two studios, and 67,000 square feet [6225m²] of offices and amenities in separate buildings. The total area of the development, including external drainage, roads, car parks construction and extensive landscaping, covers approximately 36 acres [15ha] of the 60-acre site.


Buildings surrounded by lawns

A view of the Culverhouse Cross complex


Among the many advantages the new centre has provided is the capability to produce in Cardiff more ambitious light entertainment and music programmes and major drama productions. Large mobile camera dollies, and radio frequency screening was built into the control rooms to eliminate all possibility of interference from nearby TV and radio transmitters at Wenvoe.

The studios are equipped with the most sophisticated equipment available including eight fully automatic cameras and three portable cameras. Among other significant items of equipment are high quality mixers, which enable the required pictures to be selected from the many sources available, and dedicated video tape recording machines which are controlled through an editing console. On the sound side, each studio has been fitted with solid state logic 56-channel capacity stereo mixers, and studio tape recorders including multi-track machines.


Jack Jones on stage with 6 dancing girls

Welsh-American singer Jack Jones topped the bill in Success, the opening night show at HTV’s new TV centre.


Throughout the planning of studio audiences can also be catered for at Culverhouse Cross.

The centre has also relieved pressure on HTV’s existing facilities at Pontcanna, Cardiff, where the company continues to operate a two-studio production centre.


Courtesy of archifdu


The technical block at Culverhouse Cross has been designed and built to meet an extremely high standard of acoustic performance. In addition, ultra-flat floors were specified for the two studios to meet the requirements of the development, HTV was anxious to ensure that the new centre should fit into the local environment. A handsome park sets off the new buildings.

The detailed architectural landscape proposals took full account of the rural character of the area so that the overall development of the site enhances this part of the Vale of Glamorgan.

The total cost of the development, including the equipment, was over £15m., of which the building and design represented some £11m [£34m].


Courtesy of Dafydd Tomos


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2 responses to this article

Paul Bainbridge 7 March 2022 at 3:30 pm

Just over 30 years later, after being bought by Carlton (then Granada effectively bought Carlton), the company became little more than an office for their local news output meaning the building was surplus to requirements and relocated to a building near to the Welsh Parliament. ITV sold the land in 2014 and the building was demolished to make way for a housing estate.

Paul Clarke 11 August 2022 at 3:08 pm

Very upsetting, seeing this, and many other former ITV regional centres that I worked in, throughout my TV career, demolished… HTV, ATV/Central, TVS/Meridian, and Thames TV among others… not to mention the sad closure and repurposing of BBC TV Centre, and Granada TV… Close to crying at the time. So, so many glorious memories – and HTV Culverhouse Cross was particularly magnificent and spacious. To build this wonderful place and then tear it down just thirty years later appals. What a waste – in so many ways…

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