By Grainne Cuffe, BBC Local Government Reporter
Daytime TV fans and those who revere legends Richard Madeley and Judy Finnegan’s impact on magazine shows may soon be able to visit a museum to the way they transformed our lives on the couch.
The former home of This Morning on the South Bank looks likely to be turned into a new ITV visitor attraction after receiving planning permission from Lambeth council.
The new attraction will open at Prince’s Wharf – between Gabriel’s Wharf and the former London Television Centre building, where many programmes such as The Graham Norton Show are still filmed.
ITV has been given five-year temporary planning permission for the attraction, for exhibitions and experiences with a TV theme.
The broadcaster had originally planned to open the attraction this year, but that is now unlikely to happen due to the coronavirus pandemic.
ITV said it is looking at a range of possible measures that might be implemented for the venue including health questionnaires on ticket booking websites, a lower cap on visitor numbers and “provision for infrared body temperature checks in the ticket halls.”
ITV has been granted planning permission to turn its old studios in South Bank into a visitors’ attraction that will “showcase the craft of British TV productions”.
The venue will be at Princes Wharf, between ITV Studios and Gabriel’s Wharf.
On Tuesday night (May 12), Lambeth Council’s planning committee gave ITV the green light for the attraction, which could host up to 4,000 visitors a day, for a temporary period of five years.
The venue, which was due to open to the public this year but will likely not because of the coronavirus outbreak, will host exhibitions themed around “famous and cherished” TV shows.
At Lambeth’s first virtual planning meeting, a council officer read out a statement from Fergus Campbell, controller of commercial development at ITV Broadcasting, on the plans.
He said: “The ambition for the venue is to showcase the craft of British TV productions, which is a major global export.
“The venue will play host to exhibitions and experiences, themed around famous and cherished TV programmes.
“Whilst […] specific programmes are yet to be confirmed, genres such as ITV drama offer many internationally recognised programmes to consider.”
Mr Campbell said ITV has a “long history” with the South Bank and was “committed to the venue adding to the cultural fabric of the area”, without “causing disturbance or harmful impacts on the immediate neighbours”.
He explained the measures that would be put in place once the venue is able to open.
“The current situation with the coronavirus has of course disrupted the original business plan.
“Whilst ITV remains committed to the venture, it is now unlikely that the venue can admit visitors in 2020, that having been the original anticipation.
“Visitor and staff welfare is a core priority and ITV is currently determining the types of measures that might be implemented to enable the venue to function safely and/or if it can be operational,” Mr Campbell said.
Measures will likely include health questionnaires on ticket booking websites, offering pre-booked tickets only, reductions in the number of hourly admissions, and a lower cap on total visitors within the venue at any one time.
They could also include safe distance grid markings on all floor areas and extra stewards employed to maintain those safe distances, provision for infrared body temperature checks in the ticket halls, and mandatory visitor and staff hand sanitiser prior to entry and exit of the venue.
Pictured: Phil Vickery, Holly Willoughby, Jenni Falconer and Phillip Schofield appear on ITV’s This Morning television programme live from the South Bank, London. Friday 15th July 2011. By Ingy the Wingy
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