TV stalwart behind new media hub

A plan to transform the former Anglia Television studios in Norwich was given a double boost today with the announcement of an extra £838,000 investment and news that the "voice of East Anglia" has been appointed as board chairman.

A plan to transform the former Anglia Television studios in Norwich was given a double boost today with the announcement of an extra £838,000 investment and news that the "voice of East Anglia" has been appointed as board chairman.

The Magdalen Street building is set to be overhauled and turned into a creative media hub, including an 8,000 sq foot studio, two smaller presentation and discussion studios - one of them a new state of the art virtual studio - and advanced sound and vision post-production facilities.

The extra £838,000 from the East of England Development Agency (EEDA) will enable the refurbishment of the building, installation of post production and improved studio facilities.

It will mean the Norwich School of Art and Design, which has been closely involved with the plans for the centre, can begin degree courses from September.

As reported in the EDP, the studios, once home to Anglia News and the Trisha show, were initially purchased last year with a £1.6m grant from EEDA.

The Epic centre will be available for both commercial and educational use.

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"Epic will bring significant long term benefits to the creative industries sector both in Norfolk and the wider region," says EEDA chief executive David Marlow.

"We have re-examined the rationale and business case behind the production innovation centre, and we now firmly believe that it justifies the extra investment."

It was also announced that Ian Masters - formerly the BBC's "voice of East Anglia" - is returning to Norwich to be the chairman of the centre's board.

Mr Masters was previously presenter of Look East and reported on the former Nationwide programme.

He was a regular broadcaster on Radio Norfolk before becoming manager of BBC Radio Cambridgeshire and then moved into senior television management.

For the last 12 years he has been broadcast controller of the Thomson Foundation, overseeing broadcast and media training in 60 countries worldwide.

"Epic is a hugely exciting

project. With this money we'll be

able to create a first class production centre to support local creative companies - and also be in a position to establish one of the foremost broadcast media training centres in the country.

"Students will be preparing for real jobs under professional conditions," he said.

Building work about to begin will also create 6,000 sq feet of business and incubator space on the

site, enabling the centre to support and develop regional creative companies.