Birmingham has become the latest city to throw their hat in the ring to become the new home of Channel 4.
Mayor Andy Street has said in a statement to Business Birmingham on Wednesday 10th January that the media giant’s move to the West Midlands would mark a ‘hat-trick’, that would show the rest of the world that this “region means business”, referring to the West Midlands’ success in securing both the Commonwealth Games and Coventry as City of Culture 2021.
The move was also previously approved by Peaky Blinders writer Steven Knight who penned an article on why Birmingham is the best choice for the move:
“Birmingham is an exciting, vibrant, city and in 10 years’ time you will be a matter of 36 minutes away from London on HS2.”
Vanessa Jackson, Degree Leader in Television at Birmingham City University also urged the broadcaster to consider Birmingham, saying that the benefits from the move would be mutual:
“Access to [BCU’s] talent and indeed to the wider population of Birmingham will change the perspective of Channel 4, to see beyond the metropolitan bubble. In terms of the Birmingham, welcoming Channel 4 would increase the strength of the digital creative sector, and influence a change of the national understanding of Birmingham as a vibrant, creative cosmopolitan hub.”
All this comes after a government report published last year said that forcing Channel 4 to relocate out of London had the potential to create 7,500 new jobs and almost £600m in economic benefits for the chosen city.
At the time of the report, chief executive David Abraham was staunchly against the proposal, saying that a wholesale move would be catastrophic for the company and its 800 staff. He stepped down from his position at the end of 2017 and successor Alex Mahon is expected to take a more diplomatic approach.
Former Culture Secretary Karen Bradley also expressed her support for moving Channel 4 out of the capital, saying that the broadcaster should do more to support economic growth outside of London:
“We hope to agree a way forward so that the broadcaster truly reflects and represents the full diversity of the UK”
Birmingham certainly matches these criteria – the second city is the youngest in Europe, with close to 45% of the population being under 25. More than 40% of the city are non-white, and 108 languages are spoken here.