ITV's Leeds base saved in £5m refurbishment

ITV yesterday announced a £5m refurbishment of its Yorkshire studios in Leeds, safeguarding the future of Emmerdale.

Plans for the upgrade to the Kirkstall Road site include a new production centre with high definition facilities.

ITV bosses said it was a "commitment to the region and Emmerdale" but admitted that the popular teatime gameshow Countdown would not be coming back to Yorkshire.

ITV Studios' managing director Lee Bartlett said: "This investment is about safeguarding the future of Emmerdale.

"Giving this highly respected production team and cast an up-to-date, modern, purpose-built facility, is key to enhancing the quality of our production many years into the future."

Earlier this year, the beleaguered firm announced it was mothballing its studios in Leeds, with the loss of hundreds of jobs.

The Emmerdale drama survived unscathed as the broadcaster revealed record losses.

However, after a full review of the Kirkstall Road facilities – started back in March – bosses have decided to switch the Emmerdale production centre from neighbouring Burley Road to the original main building.

Emmerdale's production centre will now move from the dilapidated former Lookers car showroom on Burley Road to its original home - the main studio building a few hundred yards away. Location filming for the series will remain on a permanent set at Harewood.

The announcement was welcomed by Yorkshire Forward, Screen Yorkshire and Leeds Council who had all previously called on ITV to invest in the city.

Yorkshire Forward chief executive Tom Riordan said the investment was a vote of confidence in the future of TV production in Yorkshire.

Work should start in the new year and take about 12 months.