The West Midlands Combined Authority has today (Fri 11 May) formally launched its bid to bring Channel 4 (C4) to the region.
The WMCA submitted its case to the broadcaster for why the West Midlands should become home to C4’s planned new national HQ as part of the '4 All the UK' strategy.
C4 is seeking to establish three new creative hubs outside London, the largest of which will become the national headquarters, consisting of offices, a new studio, a base for daily programmes and a new digital production unit.
The West Midlands bid is focused on potential sites in a number of locations in Coventry and Birmingham.
The key strapline of the bid is ‘Get Closer’:
Get closer to the whole of the UK. The region’s unparalleled connectedness will enable C4 to: access the broadest pool of talent, ideas and resources, a bigger supply chain and a broader outlook, and to sustain close and genuine links with other key locations and networks while getting closer to those whose stories you want to tell.
Get closer to your audience. We are the most diverse region in the country (47% BAME population in Birmingham and 34% in Coventry), and we celebrate diversity of opinion. In the West Midlands diversity is all around and C4 can be at the heart of it.
Get closer to your future. The West Midlands is fertile ground for a new kind of broadcasting pioneered by Channel 4.
Get closer to the world. The West Midlands is about to go global like no other UK region in history. We’re preparing to host Coventry City of Culture 2021 and the Birmingham Commonwealth Games 2022.
Cllr George Duggins, leader of Coventry City Council, said: “Coventry is a city at the very heart of the country, with unrivalled transport links that make us the perfect choice for firms looking to relocate and build for the future.
“Our young, diverse population has helped us be named UK City of Culture 2021; we are home to award-winning universities, multinational companies and we are a growing city with a reputation for design and innovation.
“In terms of location, skilled workers, culture and future potential, we are the right choice for Channel 4 and we would be delighted to welcome them to Coventry and help build something special for the network and for our city.”
Laura McMillan, manager of the Coventry City of Culture 2021, said:
“There’s a real ambition in Coventry and it feel likes there's a real moment going on in the Midlands. It’s a really diverse city – and a very young city – with a real energy. It’s youthful in its approach to placemaking and creativity, and it’s also a university city. A city of dreams.
“One of the things I'll be looking at will be how we develop the creative economy of Coventry. Television and media is a big part of that.”
The Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street said: “We want Channel 4 here in the West Midlands, benefiting from, and enabling us to deliver, the ongoing change that is transforming this region into the most exciting in the country.
“We already have everything in place to enable C4 to pioneer new content, new platforms and new forms of production to meet and enhance the needs of its audience.
“From the best-connected region in the UK, C4 will be able to access the broadest pool of talent, ideas and resources from an area with the youngest and most diverse population in Europe, to forge close and genuine links with other key locations and networks while getting closer to those whose stories it wants to tell.
“When you look at what this region has to offer C4 the case for coming here is beyond question.”