Channel 4 board meets in Leeds for first time and announces new partnership with City Region

David Prior's picture
by David Prior

Channel 4 and the Leeds City Region have held a joint reception to celebrate the city being chosen as the broadcaster’s new National HQ.

The event brought together stakeholders from across the North including independent production companies, politicians and partners from education and the wider creative industries.

It was held ahead of a Channel 4 board meeting tomorrow, being held in Leeds for the first time, and was hosted by Channel 4’s Chair Charles Gurassa and Chief Executive Alex Mahon, together with Leader of Leeds City Council Cllr Judith Blake CBE and Chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, Roger Marsh OBE.

Also announced at the reception was the formation of a new joint Partnership Board, which will work to support the growth of the independent production sector in the region and help nurture the next generation of emerging talent within the industry.

The new Partnership Board, which met for the first time today, brought together senior representatives from Channel 4, Leeds City Council, the Leeds City Region and Screen Yorkshire. It will work closely with production companies, education providers and other creative partners to develop a long-term strategy to support the sector in the region – with a particular focus on improving diversity in the sector, and on enhancing production facilities to help achieve growth in TV production.

Earlier in the day, key members of the Channel 4 commissioning team including Head of Drama Caroline Hollick held a commissioning briefing in Leeds to strengthen relationships with production companies from across the North.

Channel 4 Chair Charles Gurassa

Channel 4 Chair, Charles Gurassa said: “I’m delighted that we are holding our first Channel 4 Board meeting in Leeds and to have the opportunity to celebrate the forthcoming launch of our new National HQ with many of our new partners in the City Region.”

Chief Executive Alex Mahon added: “For us it is imperative that we both create Channel 4 jobs in the City and we invest in the growth of the production industry in the wider region, which is why the launch of our joint Partnership Board is such an important step in supporting long term and sustainable growth in the Nations & Regions’ creative sector.”

The board meeting, launch of the Partnership Board and commissioning briefing come as Channel 4 prepares to move jobs to Leeds from the autumn of this year. Work to choose a location for the National HQ in Leeds is ongoing and an announcement will be made in the coming months.

Channel 4 announced in October that it had chosen Leeds ahead of Manchester and Birmingham to be the location of its new National HQ, with Bristol and Glasgow the locations of two new Creative Hubs.  

When fully implemented, Channel 4’s 4 All the UK strategy will result in over 300 jobs being created in the Nations & Regions, including key creative decision makers – responsible for commissioning Channel 4 content and programmes from producers right across the UK.  

The new bases are at the heart of Channel 4’s plan to attract and develop talent from across the UK, both on and off-screen and support the significant increase in the organisation’s Nations & Regions spend on creative content – from 35% to 50% of main channel UK commissions by 2023, worth up to £250m more in total.