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Leeds City Region’s Grand Designs for Channel 4

Leeds City Region is bidding for the relocation of Channel 4 operations.

Working in partnership with Screen Yorkshire, Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and the Combined Authority have developed an ambitious bid to host key elements of Channel 4 activity as part of a wider ambition to develop the region's creative and digital sector. 

The proposal details how the organisation's move to the City Region would accelerate exciting opportunities for content creation and digital sector growth.  It also suggests a move to the region would help the broadcaster better reflect the under-represented parts of the country which would be inline with Channel 4’s ethos of “fostering the new and experimental in television”. 

All the of Leeds City Region's local authorities, cities, towns and industry players have come together, with Screen Yorkshire, to show solidarity and determination to support this bid, which highlights the fact that virtually all media investment has gone into the West of the country. This move would provide the ideal opportunity to redress that imbalance. 

Leeds City Region has a rich cultural heritage including the UNESCO City of Media Art York, the UNESCO City of Film Bradford where the 'crown jewels' and 'science' of the screen industry are housed at the National Science and Media Museum. There is also a fast-growing and thriving digital and tech sector in Leeds.

Additionally, Yorkshire & Humber is now the UK’s fastest growing region for film and TV supported by Screen Yorkshire’s Yorkshire Content Fund, which has secured over £157m of new business to the region through its investment such as Dad’s Army, Swallows & Amazons, Testament of Youth, National Treasure and Peaky Blinders.

Speaking about the proposal, Roger Marsh OBE, Chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) said:  
“Our bid addresses the huge imbalance that’s been allowed to develop, with virtually all investment going into the western side of the UK. 

"This is not a sustainable position and we are confident that working in partnership with Channel 4 our proposals can bring positive impact and benefits to a very wide geographic area, namely the 18.2m people living on the eastern side of the UK who are currently underrepresented.

"We are convinced our ambition matches that of Channel 4: we’re both innovative challengers who like to do things differently.”

Cllr Judith Blake, Leader of Leeds City Council added:  
“This bid has been built on collaboration between all the local authorities to put together our most compelling case. 

"We all recognise the benefit that a Channel 4 investment could bring. Culture, diversity and innovation runs through the DNA of Leeds City Region and is inextricably linked to the people who live here and what they do.

"We have the creative talent, digital expertise, great places, convenient transport links and world-class education establishments.”

Sally Joynson, Chief Executive of Screen Yorkshire, and worked in partnership with Leeds City Region on the response said:  “Our aim in putting together this proposal was to demonstrate a strong understanding of Channel 4’s role as a public sector broadcaster: their attitude; platforms, content and insatiable appetite for engaging with new talent and voices. From that base, we’ve worked with the region’s independent production companies, industry suppliers, universities, schools and Local Authorities to understand the roles we can all play in building a long-term partnership with Channel 4.”

Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, Leader of Bradford Council said:
“This is a really exciting opportunity. It would be truly inspirational for the next generation to have such an innovative brand here, especially for the city with the youngest population. We’ve shown again and again, the success of the Bradford Literature Festival and the opening of the new Hockney Gallery, a dynamic approach to culture at the heart our communities.”

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