Channel 4 (C4) has announced today (Wednesday, 31st October) that the West Midlands has not been selected to host its new National HQ or one of the broadcaster’s two new regional Creative Hubs.
The announcement by Channel 4 revealed that the national HQ will be in Leeds, with the Creative Hubs being located in Bristol and Glasgow.
Channel 4’s reasons for selecting Leeds were its central location in the UK, and its existing tv and film production base.
The Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street said: “Channel 4 has today confirmed that Birmingham has not been successful in the bid to house the broadcaster’s new national HQ. While the news is a huge disappointment, the work that has gone into the bid has not been wasted.
“As we progressed through the bid process we saw a growing sense of collaboration and commitment across the region between local authorities, organisations and our creative industries. This has led to a number of developments set to improve the creative landscape regardless of Channel 4’s decision, which will be announced in the coming weeks.
“Through our Local Industrial Strategy, we remain committed to ensuring we are home to a pre-eminent national creative & media cluster, and we will respond to high demand for production by investing in the TV and film production capacity of the region by establishing new studio and production facilities.
“Finally, I’d like to thank all those who were involved the bid for their hard work, the West Midlands region came together as part of this process and now we look to the future as one, as commit to delivering initiatives and funding that will transform our creative industries.”
Cllr Ian Ward, leader of Birmingham City Council, said: "The decision by Channel 4 to not award the national HQ to the city is a major disappointment to all of those who have worked so hard to bring the broadcaster to Birmingham.
“Birmingham would have been an ideal location for Channel 4, with a wealth of knowledge and creativity, talent and energy combined with one of the youngest and most diverse populations in Europe, in a region that is undergoing an economic resurgence.
“While we may not have been successful with our bid for Channel 4, we continue to be successful as city reinventing itself for the 21st century. We have the infrastructure, the people and the ambition needed to drive this city forward and I’m confident we will see many more successes in Birmingham in 2019.”
Caroline Norbury, CEO, Creative England, said: “We are firmly committed to working with the incredible range of creative and digital/tech companies in the West Midlands to continue to support this rapidly growing sector. We know from the companies that we already work with in the region that there is a wealth of talent here. In the next few months Creative England will be delivering a programme of events to support the sector and will continue to invest in companies to help them to scale.”
The WMCA bid highlighted the many strengths of the West Midlands under the strapline of ‘Get Closer’, including: the region’s unparalleled connectedness to talent, ideas and resources, its youth and diversity, and the ongoing success and development the region is experiencing such as Coventry being named UK City of Culture 2021, and the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in 2022.
The campaign was supported by a cast of creative talent, including: Adil Ray (writer/actor/director); Steven Knight (screenwriter/film director); Debbie Isitt, creator of film franchise Nativity; as well as incredible support from host of creative organisations, production companies and educational establishments.