The Drum Awards for Marketing APAC

-d -h -min -sec

Media News World

Channel 4 shortlists Birmingham, Greater Manchester and Leeds for 'National HQ'


By Cameron Clarke | Editor

July 23, 2018 | 5 min read

Channel 4 has shortlisted Birmingham, Greater Manchester and Leeds for the site of its new 'National HQ' where it will relocate 300 jobs from London.


Leeds, pictured, will compete with Birmingham and Greater Manchester to house Channel 4's 'National HQ'

Bristol, Cardiff and Glasgow – which all featured on the broadcaster's original long list – miss out but are still in the running to house two smaller 'Creative Hubs'.

Liverpool, which had bid for the National HQ, has been ruled out altogether along with Belfast, Brighton, Newcastle-Gateshead, Nottingham, Sheffield and Stoke-on-Trent.

The options were whittled down after Channel 4's chief executive, Alex Mahon, chief commercial officer, Jonathan Allan, and chief marketing and communications officer, Dan Brooke, visited all 13 shortlisted cities for presentations and discussions during June and July.

Allan, a Channel 4 executive board member, will now lead detailed discussions with the six remaining cities over the summer before the chosen locations are announced in the autumn.

He said: "Our visits to the 13 shortlisted cities over the last month were incredibly inspiring and I’d like to thank all of those involved for the huge amounts of creativity they demonstrated and the excitement for Channel 4 and what we could achieve together.

“We have again had to take some very difficult decisions on which cities to take forward to the next stage, but we believe the six cities we have selected are best able to deliver against our vision and requirements for the new National HQ and Creative Hubs.

For the main regional office, Allan and his team have been assessing bidding cities against a wishlist that includes being three hours from London, having a working population of more than 200,000 and demonstrating "economic, demographic, diversity".

Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson initially took to Twitter to say that a lack of transport infrastructure had scuppered his city's chances.

But in a later statement, he slammed Channel 4's decision to reject Liverpool as "disappointing and hypocritical".

"Their values are supposed to be about adding value, creating jobs, opportunities and growth, rather than choosing locations where the BBC or ITV are already," the mayor said. "This was a chance for them to be truly vibrant and assist parts of the UK that need it the most. And they forgot those values."

The 300 of Channel 4's 800 employees relocating from the capital will join around 30 staff already working in the regions.

The move is part of a compromise the publicly owned broadcaster struck with the government to retain its London base while making good on the Conservatives' manifesto pledge to relocate Channel 4 from its Westminster HQ.

Dubbed 'All the UK', the plan represents the biggest restructure in the organisation's 35-year history and will result in over £250m in commissioning spend being redirected outside London.

Signifying the carrot on offer for the successful city, Roger Marsh, chair of Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, said: “This is an exciting step forward for our bid. Channel 4’s analysis has shown we are a good choice and it is now up to us to show we are the right choice for the broadcaster.

"We will continue to work with all our partners to secure the tremendous prize on offer and we look forward to engaging further with Channel 4 in the weeks ahead."

Fellow public service broadcaster the BBC similarly moved a large chunk of its operations from London to Salford's MediaCityUK in 2011.

Media News World

More from Media

View all


Industry insights

View all
Add your own content +