‘Compelling, ambitious and diverse’ – Channel 4 chooses Leeds
Leeds beat off rival bids from Birmingham and Greater Manchester after a highly-competitive pitch process – one supported by Leeds Beckett University from the very outset.
Senior colleagues from the university were involved in the bid led by Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership.
This involved highlighting our rich heritage of producing industry-ready graduates and commitment to the creative sector, demonstrated by our new £80m Leeds School of Arts building. The new state-of-the-art building will be home to our School of Film, Music and Performing Arts and is set to open in September 2020.
Leeds’ ‘Be the Spark’ campaign invited Channel 4 to bring opportunity to, and benefit from, a young, creative, digital-first population, rebalance the UK broadcasting sector and help better represent the north and east of England in the national conversation.
Three hundred staff will relocate from the broadcaster’s London headquarters. It will also see the establishment of a new TV studio and Channel 4 News bureau, enabling the nightly news programme to be co-anchored from Yorkshire.
Initial forecasts suggest Channel 4’s decision could directly contribute to the creation of more than 1,200 jobs and an economic impact of more than £1bn over the next decade across the Leeds City Region.
Vice Chancellor of Leeds Beckett University, Professor Peter Slee, said: “Channel 4’s decision to invest in Leeds by moving its headquarters is a welcome vote of confidence in the strength and vitality of the creative arts industry and the education and training that underpins it in the city and across the region.
“At Leeds Beckett University we’re investing £80 million in a new Leeds School of Arts building, bringing world-leading, industry quality teaching and learning facilities in film, television, music, fashion, dance, drama and performance to the heart of the city’s innovation district.
“We educate and train 1,800 students a year in the creative arts. They graduate to provide a pipeline of diverse and multi-skilled talent for regional, national and international creative industries. We welcome Channel 4 to Leeds and look forward to the opportunities this move brings for our talented students and graduates.”
Channel 4 chief executive, Alex Mahon, added: “Leeds put forward a compelling and ambitious strategy for how they could work alongside Channel 4 to further build the strong independent production sector in the city and develop new diverse talent from across the region.
“Locating our national HQ in Leeds enables us to capitalise on a strong and fast-growing independent production sector in cities across the north of England – and also has the potential to unlock growth in the north-east and east of the country, an area without a major presence from other national broadcasters.”
Jake Gibbins, a games design student at Leeds Beckett, said: “I think it’s especially good for students who have an interest in the media and want to go into that industry after they’ve graduated. There’s going to be a lot more quality jobs in Leeds that people can step into now.
“It has to be good for the local economy too and it’ll bring a lot of money into the city. Leeds has already got a lot going for it – this is just another thing that will make it a more attractive place for people to come to.”