Could Leeds become the new home of Channel 4?
Leeds has been shortlisted to become the new host of Channel 4 HQ, and there are some compelling reasons for the city to be selected. But what would this mean for Leeds?
Channel 4 has announced that it is moving nearly half of its staff out of London, creating a new national headquarters as well as two “creative hubs”. This is great news for the rest of the country, as the move would surely bring jobs and investment to whichever city becomes the broadcaster’s new home, and it looks like Leeds is very much in the running.
All the cities or regions that wanted to become the next home for Channel 4 had to submit pitches by May 11th, showcasing their strengths and the benefits of choosing them. The broadcaster has now announced its shortlist, and Leeds is in the running to become the company’s national HQ.
Of course, it is not alone in this regard, as Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow and the West Midlands are also in the running to become the home of the national HQ. Things are looking good for the north though, as Greater Manchester and Liverpool also made the cut. All of these regions are also in the running to become a creative hub.
However, while there is plenty of competition, Leeds has a good shot. The city already hosts one of ITV’s three UK production studios, showing that it clearly has the infrastructure and talent base needed for a broadcaster. Furthermore, the existence of organisations like NHS Digital have brought plenty of skilled people to the city.
Should Leeds win this bid and become the new national HQ for Channel 4, it would be a major cultural boost for the city. Dave-O, a filmmaker, rap artist, songwriter and producer based in Kirkstall, told the Yorkshire Evening Post of the effects a successful bid could have on the city.
“Channel 4 will be very surprised by the talent pool here,” he said. “If we win, it’ll attract more talent to come to the region and will allow the talent we have got to stay.” Dave-O was part of a music video for the pitch, which has led to him having his music played on Radio One. “For me to have that opportunity from this bid… imagine what it could do for the rest of the region,” he added.
The final locations for both the national HQ and the creative hubs are to be decided in October, so the next few months will likely be busy for Leeds. Channel 4 will be visiting the city for a presentation and Q&A during this period, which will be another opportunity for Leeds to showcase what an excellent city it is.