Tim's One Photograph a Day

The Former BBC Television Theatre.

BBC Television Theatre in Shepherds Bush.

BBC Television Theatre: O2 Empire in Shepherds Bush Green.

O2 Empire in Shepherds Bush Green.

Coming in to Shepherds Bush, the area looked familiar. I realised that I recognised this building. It used to be the popular BBC Television Theatre.Originally the Empire Theatre, it was designed by Frank Matcham and opened in 1903. Although originally very successful, its size meant it was struggling for audiences by the early 1950s.

In 1953 it became the BBC Television Theatre. The Corporation had been looking for a venue to host various shows. They had also been looking at the nearby Kings Theatre which, although more expensive, was in better condition. However, the freehold of the Empire was available, whereas the Kings was leasehold.

For the next 38 years, it was host to many popular shows, and was refurbished twice. Popular entertainment such as Wogan, the Generation Game and That’s Life were broadcast from here. It was the latter show that I saw being recorded. At that time, the stalls were reduced to just the left-hand side of the auditorium. Something that you would never have known from your TV!

Unfortunately, by 1991 the BBC Television Theatre had been deemed to have outlived its usefulness, and was closed. It has now become the O2 Empire (bringing back the original name), and is predominantly a live music venue.. The interior has been restored, uncovering many artefacts covered over by the Beeb during their “modernisation” during their ownership. The exterior remains largely unchanged from when it first opened.

This night time photograph captures the essence of a busy London street, and the illumination of a popular theatre. A 30-second exposure has captured the light trails nicely, changing from the white headlights on the left to the red tail lights on the right as vehicles pass across the camera on this one-way road. The wide angle lens has been used to capture much of the street scene.

Click here for more reading on the history of the BBC Television Theatre.

Photograph Details:

  • Taken: 16 November 2017
  • Camera: Canon 5D MkIII
  • Lens: Canon EF 16-35mm 1:4 L IS USM
  • Focal Length 16mm
  • F/14
  • 30 Sec
  • ISO 100

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