BBC Studios is leaving its Bristol site on Whiteladies Road in Clifton and moving to a new home in the city centre.

Staff from the Natural History Unit (NHU) and Factual Entertainment Bristol, which make shows including Antiques Roadshow, Countryfile, Gardeners’ World and Bafta-award winning DIY SOS, will move to Bridgewater House in Finzels Reach, close to Temple Meads railway station.

Ralph Lee, Director of Content for BBC Studios, said: “Moving to a new production base in the centre of Bristol will enable us to continue to support and celebrate the creativity of the Natural History Unit and Factual Entertainment, build on our legacy and invest in our future.

“Bristol is the largest BBC Studios production base outside London and its indisputable success and ambition has empowered us to make this commercial investment. We want to grow our production business significantly and retain our position at the pinnacle of programme-making in a highly competitive global market.”

Julian Hector, Head of BBC Studios NHU, said: “I’m so proud of the Natural History Unit’s 64-year heritage, which has firmly established Bristol as the wildlife content production capital of the world.

“Our promise has always been to bring audiences emotionally closer to the natural world through story-telling craft and state of the art technology. In doing so, we show our responsibility to protect it.

“Now we are moving into a 21st century sustainable base in Bristol city centre, which will give our teams the best possible creative environment. For people who dream of giving the natural world a voice, our new home will become a beacon to join us.”

BBC Studios Natural History Unit currently has more than 25 projects in production for clients such as BBC, Apple, Discovery, Nat Geo and NBCUniversal. It has been based on Whiteladies Road since its formation in 1957. During that time, the NHU has made programmes such as Planet Earth and Blue Planet II.

Also moving to the new production base is Factual Entertainment Bristol, which alongside long-running TV favourites is also the creative force behind BBC One’s Countryfile, Nigella: Cook, Eat, Repeat for BBC Two, Inside the Duchy for ITV, Party at the Plaza for Channel 4 and a growing digital business producing content for clients including Pinch of Nom and YouTube.

Sallie Bevan, Head of Production, Factual Entertainment Bristol, said: “Our incredible teams make programmes which are watched by millions of people every week, and it is more important than ever for us to represent and be relevant to our audiences.

“Our new home in Bristol city centre will allow us to do our best creative work and bring us closer to our audience and enable us to connect with new and diverse talent from across the region.

“We have many fantastic memories of Whiteladies Road but moving to the new building will allow us to carry on growing our business.”

BBC Studios Bristol will lease three floors of Bridgewater House in Finzels Reach. A refit of the office will begin as soon as possible, and staff will start to move at the end of the year or early 2022.

The rest of the BBC’s staff in the city, including teams working on Radio Bristol, Points West and programmes for Radio 4, will remain at Whiteladies Road while future options are explored.

Jon Creamer

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