Channel 4 chooses to Be the Spark in the Leeds City Region

31st October 2018

Channel 4 has confirmed the Leeds City Region will be the home of its new national headquarters.


The announcement follows two years of discussions with the broadcaster led by the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership with cross-party support from local authority partners, Screen Yorkshire, the creative and digital industries, the education sector and many others.


Through its ‘Be the Spark’ campaign, Leeds City Region invited Channel 4 to bring opportunity to, and benefit from, a young, creative, digitally-savvy population, rebalance the UK broadcasting sector and help better represent the North and East of England in the national conversation.


Channel 4 is the most high profile business yet to choose the Leeds City Region as a place to locate based on its young and diverse population, its strong creative and digital sectors underpinned by world-leading universities, strong transport connections and the offer of a high quality of life.


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 although the true impact, taking into account all the added value being home to a major international broadcaster will bring, will be much larger.


Cllr Judith Blake, Leader of Leeds City Council, said:


“We are thrilled that Channel 4 have chosen Leeds to be home to its national headquarters and we know this is a great fit for both the city and the broadcaster.


“Leeds offers a home in the heart of the UK and the North, with strong links to screen, and a constantly evolving creative sector with huge ambitions to be even greater in the next few years and beyond.


“Together with Bradford we have one of the youngest and fastest growing labour markets in the UK, and the news of Channel 4 choosing Leeds will have a very positive impact on these generations, and is a real triumph for the city and wider region.


“With no other major broadcaster in the North East this news is very welcome, and will allow us to shine a light and really cement the world class work in film and TV that is taking place in Yorkshire and the wider north.


“We look forward to welcoming Channel 4 into the city when they arrive in 2019.”


Roger Marsh OBE, Chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, said:


“I am thrilled that Channel 4 is coming to the Leeds City Region, a decision that will bring huge opportunities for them and us. We are already discussing with Channel 4 how our shared ambitions can be delivered as quickly as possible.


“Channel 4’s decision can truly ‘Be the Spark’ for a once-in-a-generation chance to rapidly grow our digital and creative sector, unlock opportunities for our talented young people and draw international attention to our region.


“In common with other businesses in this sector, Channel 4 has recognised the opportunity offered by our young and diverse population, our long-established and thriving creative community, our high concentration of universities, our connections to the rest of the UK and our quality of life.


“I want to thank Screen Yorkshire, our local authority partners, the LEP Board, the creative community and everyone else who has worked with us to achieve this amazing result.”


Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Leader of Bradford Council, said:


“Bradford’s diversity and creativity was one of the critical factors behind Channel 4’s decision and I am excited that our city’s talented young people will enjoy access to a wealth of new opportunities from this success.


“We will be working together as a region to ensure our people and businesses are properly equipped for the exciting future that lies ahead.”


Cllr Ian Gillies, Leader and Cllr Andrew Waller, Deputy Leader of City of York Council, said:


“We are delighted that our region has been chosen to be the new home of Channel 4’s national headquarters. Having a national broadcaster here will help make York an even more attractive location for national and international investment.”


Tom Riordan, Chief Executive of Leeds City Council, said:


“Leeds is a dynamic city and we are hugely excited that Channel 4 have chosen to base their headquarters with us.


“Within our city and our region we are innovative, diverse and brimming with talent, and our ability to work together to provide great results has been proven once again with this excellent result.


“With the help of fellow councils and the LEP along with partner organisations across the region, as well as the boost of the ‘All in. Leeds’ creative collaboration, our passion, enthusiasm and offer has clearly shone through to the broadcaster.As a city we always go above and beyond, and this can be seen through our track record of hosting a number of world class events and innovative partnerships, and through the compassion within the city to be inclusive and work together for the best result.


“The broadcaster will receive a very warm Leeds welcome when they arrive next year!”


Kersten England, Chief Executive of Bradford Council, said:


“I am thrilled Channel 4 have seen the huge potential in our young, diverse and digitally-savvy communities and delivered a huge vote of confidence in this region by choosing to locate their national headquarters here.


“With a strong and improving transport network, a strong and outward-looking cultural offering and a high quality of life on offer, we are confident this move will prompt other creative and digital businesses to consider similar moves.”


Mary Weastell, Chief Executive of City of York Council, said:


“This is fantastic news for our region and for York’s creative and digital sectors. I welcome today’s announcement and would like to thank partners for helping to secure this achievement. The possibilities this will bring to our region and York, including the job opportunities, and prospect to work alongside our outstanding college and world-leading universities are surely endless.”


Sally Joynson, Chief Executive of Screen Yorkshire, said:


“We are delighted with today’s news that Channel 4 will be moving its National Headquarters to Leeds. It’s hugely significant for the sector and a validation of the city’s production expertise and potential for further growth. We have worked tirelessly with the Leeds City Region team throughout the bid process and believe passionately that it will enable Channel 4 to engage with and better reflect audiences outside of London.


“Today’s decision will be transformational to the screen industries in the Leeds City Region – and indeed across the North of England. We look forward to welcoming Channel 4 and working with them to capitalise on the creative opportunities that this bold move brings.”


Ruth Pitt, Media Consultant, said:


“This fantastic news is testament not just to the amazing creative and business effort that went into making the Leeds bid, but to the impressive rigour and insight Channel 4 showed in making its decision.


“On behalf of audiences and producers right across the North and North East, I couldn’t be more thrilled.”


Kay Mellor, Screenwriter, said:


“It’s absolutely the right decision, every indie got behind the campaign and we’ve got the right result. Leeds is the perfect fit in terms of location and talent and we’ll all be there with open arms to welcome them to our wonderful city. It’s a game changer for Leeds, putting us firmly on the media map. I am so proud.”


Notes to editors

• For further inquiries contact James Reed, Head of External Affairs, West Yorkshire Combined Authority on 0113 348 1632 or 07966 251545

• Video and images from the #4Sparks campaign are available on request.

• The Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership works with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority to help businesses in our region grow and become more productive.

• The Combined Authority works in partnership with local councils and businesses to ensure that everyone in our region benefits from a strong, successful economy and a modern, accessible transport network. By championing the region’s interests nationally and internationally, we secure the investment to deliver better transport and housing, help businesses to grow and create jobs.

• We want our region to be recognised globally as a strong, successful economy where everyone can build great businesses, careers and lives.