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Discussion in 'Classic Muppets' started by Frogster, Jan 18, 2005.
I was wondering, where is Elstree Studios located?
Isn't there some place in Toronto, Cananda that they taped Muppets at?
The short answer is: It is in England.
The long answer is:
Historically, the name "Elstree Studios" refers to any of several film studios that were based in the town of Elstree and Borehamwood in Hertfordshire, England. Most of these studios have now closed, and the phrase is now the colloquial name of Elstree Film and Television Studios, a privately-run production facility owned by Hertsmere Borough Council.
The first studio was set up in Borehamwood just before the First World War. Film making took off in the inter-war period and there were several different studios in operation.
Its heyday was probably when MGM owned the largest studio in the 1950s, making films with a host of top Hollywood stars including Elizabeth Taylor and Ingrid Bergman.
By the 1980s British film making was in decline, and Canon sold the only remaining film studio to Brent Walker. Much of the lot was sold for re-development, which spawned a new housing estate (with streets named after British studios like Pinewood and Ealing and stars like Ray Milland and Margaret Rutherford), a new Tesco superstore and an office complex.
A 'Save Our Studios' campaign was launched in the 1990s under local Town Councillor and Studio historian Paul Welsh MBE, with the support of many old stars. Hertsmere Borough Council stepped in and bought the remaining studio. It was then given to a private run company to manage the studios.
The BBC also run a studio in the town, called Elstree Television Centre. This is best-known as the home of Eastenders. Top of the Pops has also been made there. Before the BBC moved in, the site was used by ATV under the direction of Lew Grade. As part of the 1981 ITV contract negotiations that led to the creation of Central the studios had to be sold, although Central used the studios for the first few years of its existence until its new Nottingham studios were ready. The Muppet Show and the first series of Auf Wiedersehen, Pet were filmed at the studios in its ITV days.
Many newcomers to the town are surprised to discover that, in spite of the word "Elstree" in their names, both of the operational studios are in the Borehamwood part of the town. Indeed, this was true of nearly all of the former studios too. There are a number of reasons for this.
When the studios were being established, Elstree was significantly larger than Borehamwood. It must therefore have seemed sensible for anything that needed the name of the town in its name to be called after Elstree rather than Borehamwood. Nowadays, Borehamwood is the larger, but the old names have stuck. The fact that the parish that contains the town is also called "Elstree" may have had some influence on the choice of name.
When the studios were at their most active, the local railway station was called just "Elstree". (Nowadays, it is called "Elstree and Borehamwood".) The local telephone exchange was also called just "Elstree". Before the advent of subscriber trunk dialling, a person wanting to make a call to a studio would ask the operator for, say, "Elstree 1234". It would therefore be natural for anyone visiting the town to make a film to think that the whole town was called Elstree.
Here is just a partial list of some of the big films made in Elstree:
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
Star Wars (1977)
The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
The Shining (1980)
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
The Dark Crystal (1982)
Return of the Jedi (1983)
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2004)
Lew Grade, isn't he an English nobleman who invested some of his fortune into the Muppets?
Indeed, he did invest in the Muppets. In fact he was the one who brought them to England, and to the silver screen, but as to his being a nobelman, I really could not say.
He is, 'Lord' Lew Grade, but that does not mean all It that much anymore in England.
I shall see what I can drag up on him from the Net.
Didn't someone here get photos of the Stat/Waldorf box seats, and the exterior with an actual address once?
TMS wasn't taped at the Elstree Studios thats mentioned in most of the text Gelfingwardo pasted, that is the one where Hoobs and Star Wars have been taping and Henson were renting a production office. TMS was taped at what is now "BBC Elstree", and is mentioned in that text as the Elstree TV Centre. Statler & Waldorfs boxes were on the wall of one of the studios still, not sure if thats still the case right now.
Lew Grade wasn't an English nobleman, he was from New Zealand i think. Oh and Elstree is in Hertfordshire, which is a county in itself and not in London.
Haven't the last 3 UK Big Brothers happened in Elstree Studios too?
And where is Luke--haven't seen him in a long time!!
Luke's right here - thanks for the mention Foz and massive congrats on your new position at MC! Sorry i've been away a lot lately, lots of other commitments and work and all that kinda boring stuff. I have checked in from time to time though and hope everyones ok. I'll be trying to stop by a bit more often now if i can. Haven't been to Palisades site since Christmas, hope everythings going ok and smoothly with them.
.... and yes, the last 3 UK Big Brothers have indeed been taped at Elstree Studios. The one where Stars Wars is filmed, not the Muppet Show one.
Yay, hey Luke!
Speaking of Star Wars, Adm. Ozzel was at the Convention this weekend here in Memphis and he's a nice enough guy to quote his last, and dying, scene in the movies. Funny guy!
Don't they film Eastenders at Elstree Studios, they talk about "The Lot" don't they?
Oh. How disappointing, I was hoping my two favourite TV shows would be filmed in the same place!! I'm sorry, I think there's something in my eye...
Yes, Eastenders IS taped at the same Elstree as The Muppet Show. It's now BBC Elstree.
Separate names with a comma.