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Norwich has a wealth of historical architecture. The medieval period is represented by the 11th-century Norwich Cathedral, 12th-century castle (now a museum) and a large number of parish churches. During the Middle Ages, 57 churches stood within the city wall; 31 still exist today. This gave rise to the common regional saying that it had a church for every week of the year, and a pub for every day. Most of the medieval building is in the city centre. From the 18th century the pre-eminent local name is Thomas Ivory, who built the Assembly Rooms (1776), the Octagon Chapel (1756), St Helen's House (1752) in the grounds of the Great Hospital, and innovative speculative housing in Surrey Street (c. 1761). Ivory should not be confused with the Irish architect of the same name and similar period.
The 19th century saw an explosion in Norwich's size and much of its housing stock, as well as commercial building in the city centre, dates from this period. The local architect of the Victorian and Edwardian periods who has continued to command most critical respect was George Skipper (1856–1948). Examples of his work include the headquarters of Norwich Union on Surrey Street; the Art Nouveau Royal Arcade; and the Hotel de Paris in the nearby seaside town of Cromer. The neo-Gothic Roman Catholic cathedral dedicated to St John the Baptist on Earlham Road, begun in 1882, is by George Gilbert Scott Junior and his brother, John Oldrid Scott.
The city continued to grow through the 20th century and much housing, particularly in areas further out from the city centre, dates from that century. The first notable building post-Skipper was the City Hall by CH James and SR Pierce, opened in 1938. Bombing during the Second World War, while resulting in relatively little loss of life, caused significant damage to housing stock in the city centre. Much of the replacement postwar stock was designed by the local authority architect, David Percival. However, the major postwar development in Norwich from an architectural point of view was the opening of the University of East Anglia in 1964. Originally designed by Denys Lasdun (his design was never completely executed), it has been added to over subsequent decades by major names such as Norman Foster and Rick Mather.
Satirical comedian Steve Coogan decided to base his unbearably vain, cheesy broadcaster character 'Alan Partridge' in Norfolk, specifically hosting the pre-breakfast show on the fictitious independent station 'Radio Norwich'. It exploited the county's reputation as being somewhat detached from modern trends, past its prime, and rather peripheral to national life. Since then Radio Norwich has ceased to be a fictitious station - it began broadcasting in 2006 - although, unsurprisingly, "Up With The Partridge" does not feature in its schedule.
Other comic entertainers who have drawn comedy from that stereotype include Allan Smethurst 'The Singing Postman' and The Kipper Family lately represented by 'son' Sid Kipper, though these are associated with Norfolk in general and not just the City. These have been joined by The Nimmo Twins.
Independent radio stations include Heart FM, Classic Gold Amber, and 99.9 Radio Norwich. BBC Radio Norfolk and the University of East Anglia's Livewire 1350 also broadcast to the city. A community station, Future Radio, was launched on 6 August 2007.
ITV Anglia, formerly Anglia Television, is based in Norwich. Although one of the smaller ITV companies, it supplied the network with some of its most popular shows such as Tales of the Unexpected, Survival and Sale of the Century (1971-83) which began each edition with John Benson's enthusiastic announcement "And now from Norwich, it's the quiz of the week!". The company also had a subsidiary called Anglia Multimedia which produced educational content on CD and DVD mainly for schools, and was one of the three companies, along with Granada TV and the BBC vying for the right to produce a digital television station for English schools and colleges.