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Young talent backs #4Sparks in Leeds City Region


(L-R) Rosie Summers Leeds Young Person’s Film Festival, Dave 0 Studio 12, Jez Colborne Mind the Gap, Summer Knight Location Runner for Victoria, Shay Moradi Running the Halls, Maariah Hussain Ackley Bridge, Moshin Ahmad True North, Miles Watts One&Other, Richard Orillo, Oliver Semple Monster Island Films, Hugh Mann Adamson Let There Be Light Productions, Suman Hanif Documentary Maker, Sarah Broadbent Orillo


 Today (Tuesday 17th October) Leeds City Region launches an exciting campaign called #4Sparks to attract the relocation of Channel Four. The next generation of young and diverse content makers have come together to give their support to the campaign and express how by heading to Yorkshire and engaging with new voices and talent, Channel Four could spark a revolution in the creative and screen industries.

All the Local Authorities, cities, towns and industry players of Leeds City Region have come together, with Screen Yorkshire, in an unprecedented show of solidarity and determination to support this campaign.

Roger Marsh OBE, Chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) commented:

“There’s a real momentum here and I’m delighted the young creatives of the region have come together to champion the #4Sparks campaign, demonstrating that we offer a distinctive voice for Channel 4. We all know that the region is on the cusp of a real transformation and Channel Four are the spark, the opportunity that could lead that revolution.

“We’re fully committed to standing shoulder to shoulder with Channel Four to offer a full package of support to de-risk the process of relocation.

“We offer a unique location, creative talent, diversity of voices and critical mass of digital platform developers to support commercial success.”

Maariah Hussain, (pictured) Bradford-based actor in Channel Four’s hit school-drama Ackley Bridge, filmed in Halifax and part-financed by Screen Yorkshire,

“It’s great to be part of #4Sparks because I’m really excited about the potential for Channel Four moving here. I’m proud to be part of a group of young, creative people from Bradford, York, Huddersfield and Leeds coming together to show how inspirational a Channel Four presence would be.

“My experience of playing Alya in Ackley Bridge at such an early stage in my career has been fantastic. I hope #4Sparks shows Channel Four how much difference and opportunity they could make, and what a warm Yorkshire welcome they’d receive.”

Mohsin Ahmad (pictured) Editor at Leeds-based True North the largest factual independent TV production company in the North of England said:

“I work on programmes that are made in Yorkshire that are shown around the world. Through its Growth Fund, Channel Four helped make that happen through its support of True North. It shows what’s possible when Channel Four engages with our part of the world.”


David Eccles, founding partner of Leeds-based Numiko, Channel Four digital partner for many high profile projects such as The Undatables, Stand Up to Cancer, Fresh Meat, Bear Grylls‘ The Island and the Paralympics, commented:

“With the unstoppable rise of on-demand, internet based content providers such as Netflix and Amazon vying for viewers’ attention, Channel Four needs to be able to plug into a local ecosystem of digital talent which will guarantee their success for the next 35 years. I strongly believe that Leeds can provide this.”

Miles Watts (pictured) award-winning Film Director, screenwriter and Co-Founder of York-based Creative Agency One&Other Creative and Managing Partner of York Film Office, said:

“There’s lots of promising sparks - lots of makers and do-ers who have a real self-starting, can-do attitude, supported by a really supportive, collaborative culture. It’s just so much more beautiful and accessible here and everyone wants to help you. We don’t tend to think ‘how can I get the biggest slice of the pie’, we think ‘how can we make the pie bigger’.


Yorkshire & Humber’s film and TV industries growth has outstripped that of every other part of the UK, including London and the South East. The figures show that between 2009-2015, Yorkshire’s Film & TV Industries generated an annual turnover of £424m across 590 creative businesses (an increase of 247 per cent against the UK average of 118 per cent) with Gross Value Added (GVA) increasing 242 per cent in comparison to a UK average growth of 120 per cent. Figures are based on data from ONS, taken from research commissioned by Screen Yorkshire as part of the BFI-supported Creative Clusters programme.



Maariah Hussain, Ackley Bridge

Maariah Hussain, Ackley Bridge

Moshin Ahmad, True North

Moshin Ahmad, True North

Notes to editors

The partnership coordinating the campaign includes:

• Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP)
• Leeds City Council
• Screen Yorkshire
• True North TV production company
• Make it York
• UNESCO City Of Film Bradford

Why should Channel 4 come here?

• The move would be transformational to the screen industries to the East of the Pennines (which have been chronically underfunded in recent years) and would also more accurately reflect the young and ethnically diverse lives of some of the 18.2 million people who live in this part of the country
• In addition to helping make a real connection with audiences and producers a move to the area by Channel 4 would help build more regionally-based companies of scale who can compete not only in a thriving UK market, but also internationally
• Leeds City Region offers the widest reach across the wider North and East of England making it easier to travel between the English regions


Industry facts:

The Yorkshire & Humber is now the UK’s fastest growing region for film and TV supported by Screen Yorkshire’s Yorkshire Content Fund, which has secured over £157 million of new business to the region through its investment such as Dad’s Army, Swallows & Amazons, Testament of Youth, National Treasure and Peaky Blinders.

• 12,300 companies are engaged in the digital sector in Leeds City Region, employing 102,000 people
• 178,894 STEAM graduates a year from 9 Leeds City Region universities
• Digital sector worth £6.6bn GVA
• Leeds is one of ITV’s 3 centres of production
• Screen Yorkshire has been investing in talent in the region for the last 10 years
• The region is home to the award-winning Opera North and Northern Ballet


Cultural success stories:

• The Hepworth Gallery Wakefield won the highly prestigious Art Fund Museum of the Year 2017
• Bradford opened a film office in China
• A permanent David Hockney gallery opened in Bradford to celebrate the artist’s 80th birthday
• Leeds is bidding to host European Capital of Culture 2023
• The Grade I* listed Piece Hall in Calderdale, since reopening on 1st August 2017, has attracted over 1 million visitors

Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP)

· The Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is made up of Council Leaders from across the Leeds City Region – Barnsley, Bradford, Calderdale, Craven, Harrogate, Kirklees, Leeds, Selby, Wakefield and York – and private sector representatives from local businesses. It works with public and private sector partners to stimulate growth that will create jobs and prosperity for everyone who lives, works and does business in the Leeds City Region
· The LEP administers the Leeds City Region’s £1 billion-plus Local Growth Deal working with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority to boost jobs and growth across the whole of the City Region.
· The Leeds City Region Growth Deal is the largest of its kind being delivered in the UK.
· For more information, visit the LEP and Invest Leeds City Region websites or follow The LEP, West Yorkshire Combined Authority or Invest Leeds City Region on Twitter.

Leeds City Region

· The Leeds City Region is a £64.6 billion economy and the biggest economic contributor to the Northern Powerhouse.
· It is home to the UK’s largest regional financial centre, has more manufacturing jobs than anywhere in the country and a growing digital technology sector now worth more than £6.6 billion.
· The Leeds City Region has one of the highest concentrations of Further and Higher Education facilities in Europe with 14 FE colleges and nine HE institutions.
· More than three million people live in the Leeds City Region, including a workforce of 1.9 million,
· There are more than 122,000 businesses across the Leeds City Region, 99% of which are small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
· The City Region recorded its highest levels of Foreign Direct Investment in the EY Attractiveness Survey 2017 knowledge