Channel 4 Board meets in Leeds for first time and launches new partnership with City Region

Channel 4 and the Leeds City Region will today hold a joint reception to celebrate the city being chosen as the broadcaster’s new National HQ – hosted by Channel 4’s Chair Charles Gurassa and Chief Executive Alex Mahon together with Leader of Leeds City Council Cllr Judith Blake CBE and Chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, Roger Marsh OBE.

The event, which brings together stakeholders from across the City Region and the North, including independent production companies, politicians and partners from education and the wider creative industries, is being held on the eve of a Channel 4 Board meeting being held in Leeds for the first time.

Also being announced at the reception is the formation of a new joint Partnership Board, which will work to support the growth of the independent production sector in the region and the help nurture the next generation of emerging talent within the industry.

This new Partnership Board, which meets for the first time today, brings together senior representatives from Channel 4, Leeds City Council, the Leeds City Region and Screen Yorkshire. It will work closely with production companies, education providers and other creative partners to develop a long-term strategy to support the sector in the region – with a particular focus on improving diversity in the sector, and on enhancing production facilities to help achieve growth in TV production.

Earlier in the day, key members of the Channel 4 commissioning team including Head of Drama Caroline Hollick, Head of Daytime David Sayer and Factual Commissioning Editors, Jonah Weston, and Rita Daniels, alongside Nations & Regions Manager Deborah Dunnett, are holding a commissioning briefing in Leeds to build and strengthen relationships with production companies from across the North.

Channel 4 Chair, Charles Gurassa said: “I’m delighted that we are holding our first Channel 4 Board meeting in Leeds and to have the opportunity to celebrate the forthcoming launch of our new National HQ with many of our new partners in the City Region.”

Channel 4 Chief Executive, Alex Mahon said: “2019 is going to be a phenomenally exciting year for Channel 4 as we open our new National HQ in Leeds and every time we are in the city the enthusiasm and vibrancy of the teams here shines through.

“For us it is imperative that we both create Channel 4 jobs in the City and we invest in the growth of the production industry in the wider region, which is why the launch of our joint Partnership Board is such an important step in supporting long term and sustainable growth in the Nations & Regions’ creative sector.”

Roger Marsh OBE, Chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, said: “Since the confirmation that the Leeds City Region will be the home of Channel 4’s new national headquarters we have seen a series of exciting industry investment decisions underlining the wider benefits we forecast during the bid process are now coming to fruition.

“The Partnership Board is another important step in that process of ensuring the City Region and the sector maximise the impact of Channel 4’s investment here and I look forward to us being able to make further announcements in the months to come.”

Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council said: “It is fantastic to welcome Channel 4 back to our city and it is the start of a very exciting 2019 as we establish the board as one of the first steps to making the most out of this formidable partnership.

“We have a strong, diverse and growing production and creative sector across the region, and moving forward we want to support this sector to flourish whilst also nurturing and bringing new talent to the table as Leeds moves from strength to strength in this area.”

The Board Meeting, launch of the Partnership Board and commissioning briefing come as Channel 4 prepares to move jobs to Leeds from the autumn of this year. Work to choose a location for the National HQ in Leeds is ongoing and an announcement will be made in the coming months.

Channel 4 announced in October that it had confirmed that Leeds would be the location of its new National HQ, with Bristol and Glasgow the locations of two new Creative Hubs. When fully implemented, Channel 4’s 4 All the UK strategy will result in over 300 jobs being created in the Nations & Regions, including key creative decision makers – responsible for commissioning Channel 4 content and programmes from producers right across the UK. The new bases are at the heart of Channel 4’s plan to attract and develop talent from across the UK, both on and off-screen and support the significant increase in the organisation’s Nations & Regions spend on creative content – from 35% to 50% of main channel UK commissions by 2023, worth up to £250m more in total.

22 Jan 2019

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