Backing the bid: Channel 4 in Leeds

Leeds joins competition with Birmingham and Manchester to become the new headquarter city for Channel 4. But why should Leeds lead the pack?

At a first look when compared with Manchester with ITV or Birmingham, home of BBC Three, Leeds may seem the underdog. But who doesn’t love an underdog? Leeds has made it to the final three after surpassing many other cities such as Liverpool and Bristol in the shortlist of 30.  

“By basing themselves here, Channel 4 will be surrounding themselves with young, independent studios that can help them bring fresh new ideas to their programming.”

Yorkshire is fast becoming a real hub for all things media and entertainment. From 2009-2015, Yorkshire’s film & TV industries generated an annual turnover of £424 million across 590 creative businesses – at a growth rate of 247%, that’s more than double the national average. Media industry insight? Tick.

Diversity makes the difference

In a cultural cocktail consisting of a rich heritage, a talented young workforce and diverse population as well as boasting a number of successful independent production companies such as Daisybeck Studios and True Vision. But perhaps the best reason of all is the similarities between the company and the city. Edgy, unconventional and breaking away from the norm and conform. ‘Channel 4 shows Britain the way it is – full of difference and variety.’ Diversity runs through the DNA of Leeds. Its home to over 140 ethnic minorities speaking as many different languages, with one in six people identifying with being an ethnic minority. It’s a young at heart region too – the number of under-21s is growing at three times the national average thanks to a 65,000-strong student population.

The variety of opportunity and lifestyle makes the region attractive to newcomers, 56 per cent of students stay on after graduation.  People also like to return – 70% of graduates originally born in the City Region work in the region after studying here. Diverse and young population? Tick.

Location, location, location

As well as selecting a new headquarters, Channel 4 will have two smaller creative hubs which will be either Glasgow, Bristol or Cardiff. Being well connected (and increasingly so after HS2), Leeds is centrally located to make travel between the hubs and headquarters a breeze. Transport? Tick.

The move could see Channel 4 breaking away from the capital and heading up north – fingers crossed the presenters are happy swapping their triple, half sweet, non-fat, caramel macchiatos for a proper Yorkshire brew.

Leeds is the city that’s got it all. Keep your eyes peeled for the big announcement, due within the next few weeks.


Tammy Meadows

Sources: Leeds List, Confidentials, Yorkshire Evening Post, Channel 4

Images: Prolific North, University of Leeds, RadioToday