Can Birmingham And Wolverhampton Make This Week's Channel 4 Cut?
The competition to host the new national HQ and two 'creative centres' for broadcaster Channel 4 is beginning to look like an episode of "Big Brother," the tears-and-evictions TV series it introduced to the U.K.
This week Channel 4 will reveal the long list of applicants for the HQ — which will create up to 300 jobs and total around around 30K SF — and the smaller creative hubs. There are sure to be tantrums from those who don't make the cut, due on 30 May.
Wolverhampton and Birmingham are among a crowded field of 30 bidding cities, Broadcast Now reports.
With a relocation expected as soon as 2019, the expectation is that Channel 4 will move into existing office space.
Birmingham faces competition from every single one of England's core cities, plus Glasgow. Rival bidders are Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield.
In the race for the creative hubs Wolverhampton must knock out Belfast, Cardiff, Swansea, Neath, Port Talbot, Colchester, Brighton and Hove, Ipswich, Leamington Spa, Norwich, Medway, Hastings and Stoke-on-Trent, as well as the core cities, if they are hedging the bets and applying for both HQ and creative hubs.
Liverpool has been strongly tipped, which could be bad news for Birmingham, regarded from the start as the front runner.
Speaking at April's Bisnow Birmingham State of the Market event West Midlands' mayor, Andy Street, sounded confident. Asked if the Channel 4 bid was going backward, Street said: “It has, if you mean, has the government changed its tune on relocation?
"The skeptic in me says [the smaller relocation] means nothing, but I’ve been talking to Channel 4 [Chief Executive] Alex Mahon and it will be a 300 person HQ. It’s a prize worth winning, and the West Midlands is in this to win. We’re the front runner. I hope, and privately expect, we can win it, if we play it right.”
A team led by Channel 4 commercial director Jonathan Allan will make the selection, then travel to shortlisted cities for inspections and discussions. A final decision will be announced on 1 October.