Back before CGI and green screens ruled our televisions, Hollywood erected grand film sets that replicated real-life towns. Needless to say, as Singapore has never been one to shy away from scoring “A” for effort, we had the equivalent of this back in the 90s: Tuas TV World.
Since then, it has served as a glamorous set for local dramas, as well as a training ground for the Singapore Police Force (SPF). Unfortunately, this “ Old Hollywood of Singapore” is set to be fully demolished by 2024. Thereafter, the grounds will be handed over to Singapore Land Authority, although what the land will be used for has not yet been decided.
Behind its now-shuttered gates, here’s what it used to be during its glory days:
Image credit: @peiying.q via Instagram
Since its inception, Tuas TV World has kind of been messing with our minds, era-wise. While it was built way back in the early 90s, it was designed to resemble Singapore in the 1950s-1960s.
By “it”, we mean the full shebang of 3 streets lined with buildings that look like they could’ve been there since the post-war era.
Image credit: 3sg jeffrey
These buildings aren’t just empty facades either; they comprise things you’d expect in a real town such as old-world shophouses, a church and a fire station.
You can also find a kampung house replica and over-the-top mansions that could give any landed home a run for its money. There’s even a railway station and a man-made river – all of which were generously used for filming.
With its elaborate setup, Tuas TV World was the go-to filming location for Chinese dramas that aired on Channel 8. Needless to say, the Television Corporation of Singapore (now known as Mediacorp) used it the most.
Image credit: Mediacorp via YouTube
It served as the backdrop for shows that we would excitedly look forward to watching after school with our grandparents:
Image credit: Salleh Sariman via Flickr
While Tuas TV World thrived as a film set during this time, modern-day costs and production demands eventually caught up to it. It was eventually taken over by SPF as a training ground in 2002.
Image credit: Nanyang NPC via Facebook
The last ever film set to grace Tuas TV World was in 2012. That’s when Mediacorp breathed life into its streets to film Joys Of Life, their 30th anniversary period drama.
As of today, Tuas TV World has closed its doors permanently. You can probably peek through its gates to see its old buildings still standing, but no visitors are allowed to enter. Demolition works are expected to start in the 3rd quarter of 2023 and continue on to late 2024.
How to get there: There is no accessible public transportation to Tuas TV World. However, you can drive to this area. It’s located next to the Tuas Checkpoint.
More abandoned places in Singapore:
Cover image adapted from: @peiying.q via Instagram, Eddy Tan via Google Maps
Originally published on 12th November 2021 by Jessica Fang. Last updated by Raewyn Koh on 19th June 2023.
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