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Iconic Tuas TV World set for demolition in 2024

SINGAPORE — The Tuas Television (TV) World, once situated at the end of Tuas, is scheduled for demolition by the second quarter of 2024.

The site was used as the production venue for local period dramas in the nineties, formerly used by the Singapore Broadcasting Corporation (SBC), which was privatised into the Television Corporation Of Singapore (TCS) and is now known as Mediacorp.

Tuas TV World, occupying a land area of 6.6 hectares – about the size of four football fields – was constructed in 1990. Designed to resemble Singapore of the fifties and sixties, the site was erected at an estimated cost of S$35 million.

The premises housed structures resembling an old cinema, railway station, fire station, church, mansions, and traditional shophouses. Three main streets traversed around these buildings, and a man-made river was also constructed for filming purposes.

Image by Mun Chor Seng/Salleh Sariman

The TV World was relinquished after TCS was restructured into Mediacorp in 2001. The production of local period dramas saw a decrease in the 2000s, and any necessary filming was relocated to the Caldecott Broadcast Centre, Malaysia, or China.

Originally envisioned to enable the broadcaster to produce a greater variety of dramas, including English, Malay, and Indian languages, Tuas TV World aimed to break the constraints imposed by the predominantly Chinese-style set in Caldecott.

Regrettably, after a decade of operations, the cost of maintaining the facility became prohibitive, particularly as the demand for period dramas declined post the 1990s. While once a thriving film set, TV World was eventually outpaced by modern production costs and demands.

In 2002, the Singapore Police Force repurposed the area as a training ground, renaming it the Tuas Training Village. The facility was used by various police units for a range of training purposes, including public order incidents, public security, forensic investigations, and scenario-based exercises. However, training ceased in 2009 in preparation for the return of the site to the state.

Image by Mun Chor Seng/Salleh Sariman
Satellite photo in 2011

Today, only 17 out of the original 100 structures in TV World remain, and the exact timeframe of their disappearance remains unclear. Still, according to satellite imagery, the structures were already torn down by 2008.

The site bore witness to the creation of several popular dramas during its heyday, including Strange Encounters 3, Tofu Street, The Price Of Peace, Wok Of Life, and Hainan Kopi Tales. Its streets were last captured on screen in 2012 when Mediacorp filmed Joys Of Life, their 30th-anniversary period drama.

The land on which the remaining structures of Tuas TV World sit is currently zoned as a reserve site, with its future use yet to be determined.

The Ministry of Home Affairs is expected to appoint a demolition contractor by mid-September 2023.

The demolition process is slated to continue until the second quarter of 2024, after which the site will be handed over to the Singapore Land Authority.

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