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Burnham: Greater Manchester ‘disappointed’ but ‘proud’ of Channel 4 bid

Greater Manchester is “disappointed” to miss out on Channel 4’s National HQ but “proud” of its bid process, according to the Metro Mayor.

Andy Burnham reacted to yesterday’s (31 October) announcement that the channel will set up the base in Leeds, having initially received more than 30 pitches from cities and regions across the UK.

Bristol and Glasgow will also become home to two new Creative Hubs for the network as part of its ‘4 All the UK’ strategy – the biggest change to the structure of the organisation in its 35-year history.

Here in the North West, Liverpool and Manchester had been in the running to attract the National HQ, with Manchester then becoming one of the final three cities taken forward for advanced negotiations alongside Manchester and Leeds.

Meanwhile Cardiff was also among the final destinations being considered for a Creative Hub.

Following a rigorous process, set out publicly in April, detailed discussions were undertaken with the finalists over the last three months, led by Channel 4’s chief commercial officer Jonathan Allan alongside chief executive Alex Mahon, and Reed Smith was appointed as an external advisor to ensure best practice was followed. Deloitte LLP also helped to provide an objective framework for use in Channel 4’s assessment of the cities.

A recommendation was then made by Mahon and the Channel 4 executive team, which was approved by the Channel 4 board yesterday.

According to Channel 4, the Leeds City Region put forward a “comprehensive, compelling and ambitious strategy to partner with Channel 4 and the wider sector to support growth in the production and creative industries, and to nurture new talent from diverse backgrounds – in the region and across the UK”.

The city is said to be “extremely well-positioned to be a base for collaboration with producers and creative talent across other cities including Bradford, Hull, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield”.

In response to the announcement, Greater Manchester Metro Mayor, Andy Burnham tweeted: “Congratulations to Leeds on becoming the home of Channel 4’s new National HQ, and to Glasgow and Bristol on their success.

“We are, of course, disappointed that Greater Manchester will not be the new home of Channel 4 but we are proud of the bid process we ran #Channel4.”

Through the establishment of the new headquarters in Leeds and Creative Hubs in Bristol and Glasgow, alongside the existing London HQ, Channel 4 aims to ensure its people and creative decision makers are well dispersed across the UK.

Chief executive Mahon says: “The quality of pitches from all the cities involved in the final stage of the process was exceptionally high and I’d like to take the opportunity to thank all those involved for the effort and passion they put in – particularly Andy Street for Birmingham, Huw Thomas in Cardiff, and Sir Richard Leese in Greater Manchester.

“I hope we can continue discussions with all of them about how we can develop new partnerships with each of their cities – particularly since we will be spending up to £250 million more in the Nations and Regions over the next five years and want to work with producers and talent in all of these areas.”