Liverpool’s bid to be the new home of Channel 4 has received a boost as the broadcaster has shortlisted the city in its search for a new HQ.
In a letter to Liverpool City Council, Channel 4 has confirmed it has selected Liverpool for its next round of assessment which will include a site visit in late June.
Channel 4’s search for a location, called “4 All in the UK”, will be the biggest structural change in its 35-year history, including three new “creative hubs”, with the largest to be a new national HQ that will have facilities including a TV studio and host executive and board meetings.
In a further boost to the city’s bid, Liverpool has been shortlisted for both the new HQ and a creative hub.
Channel 4 News is to also open three new news bureaux, with a trebling of jobs in the nations and regions by 2020, while spend on shows made by TV production companies based outside London will rise from £169m annually to about £350m a year by 2023.
The #4ForLiverpool bid was submitted in early May with a focus on several potential high quality locations, including Liverpool’s World Heritage waterfront, and the strength of the city’s talent supply and world class partnerships.
Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson and the Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram are jointly leading the city’s bid and have stated “Channel 4 would find a soulmate in Liverpool” adding that a move would breathe new energy into the public service broadcaster whilst transforming the city’s creative and digital sector.
The city, which established Europe’s first Film Office and is now the most filmed outside of London with £90m of productions currently in the pipeline, has also created a bid steering group that includes Liverpool John Moores University whose Screen School is recognised as one of the UK’s leading film faculties, with partnerships around the world.
Mayor Anderson said: “I’m delighted Channel 4 has recognised the strength and quality of our #4ForLiverpool bid and has shortlisted the city for its new home. The bid has been a great team effort and I want to thank everyone who has supported the city to date.
“This is a hotly contested bidding competition and to reach this next stage in the process demonstrates Liverpool’s pulling power as a location that offers businesses and their employees a great work/life balance.
“There are exciting plans afoot to cement Liverpool’s position at the cutting edge of the creative sector and Channel 4 has a huge role to play in that story. Now that they are coming to visit, I’ve no doubt they will be wowed by what the city has to offer and how they can help shape it.”
Metro Mayor Rotheram said: “This is a massive vote of confidence for what the Liverpool city region is doing to bolster our creative economy.
“Everyone knows our city region has an incredible pool of talent of writers, actors, directors and technicians and Channel 4’s potential relocation here would put rocket boosters on our plans to establish the area as a beacon for the next generation of story tellers, film makers and set designers.”
Liverpool, which which has aspirations to create one of the largest Film Studios in the UK at the former Littlewoods Building on Edge Lane and is also developing a new creative quarter – Ten Streets, has already received backing from an illustrious roll call of stars from TV, film and stage as well as leaders in education, business and politics.
David Yates, Director of the final four Harry Potter films and Fantastic Beasts, legendary actor Alison Steadman and multi award-winning writer Jimmy McGovern have all pledged their support while the city’s bid has been endorsed at the Houses of Parliament.
Liverpool Wavertree MP Luciana Berger, who is vice-chair of the Channel 4 All Party Parliamentary Group, has tabled an Early Day Motion (EDM) noting Liverpool’s exciting bid, the city’s extraordinary cultural prowess and “the positive impact of the employment and training opportunities this move could provide the city, and the wider North West”.
In terms of location Liverpool, which was recently chosen by the Royal College of Physicians to house its new Northern HQ, is virtually equidistant to London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast with northern cities such as Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield all within less than a 90 minute journey.
- Channel 4 are to make a final decision on location of their new HQ and creative hubs in October this year.