The facility, which will run alongside Riverside's theatre activities, will be managed by new company Riverside TV, set up by former Planet 24 technical director Peter Johnston, ex-Granada production chief David Buckley and Riverside Studios artistic director William Burdett-Coutts.
The three directors, who have backed the venture with private finance, have gutted and refurbished the areas around the 5,800 sq ft Studio 1, which can now support audience-based shows with up to 400 people. They have also optioned the use of Studio 2, currently used for theatrical productions.
New in-house facilities include a six-seat production gallery with Grass Valley vision mixer capable of supporting up to 10 Sony cameras; a lighting gallery; a sound gallery with Philip Drake 48-channel sound mixer; and a VTR room.
Johnston, who set up TFI Fridayon behalf of producer Ginger Productions, told Broadcasthe had always planned to launch his own facility after leaving Planet 24 in the summer. 'I wanted to set up a studio in London because it's not going to work anywhere else,' he said. 'When I thought about Riverside I realised that it had great potential - all it needed was its own facilities.'
Until the refit - completed in September - producers using Riverside had to rely on OB facilities. Riverside TV has already taken bookings from a number of producers including Talkback, which is currently recording its new Channel 5 Clive Anderson series, God Almighty. Johnston said he was hoping to attract business by offering low-cost packages for pilot productions.