Newcastle and Gateshead councils have announced that they have formally submitted a joint bid to bring Channel 4 to the North East.
Led by Newcastle Gateshead Initiative on behalf of both councils, the bid is based on strengths in the creative and digital sectors, as well as access in the region to a representative demographic, young population and talent pool.
The bid has received support from partners throughout NewcastleGateshead, including Northern Film and Media, Creative Fuse, National Innovation Centre for Data (NICD), BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, both Newcastle and Northumbria universities and Gateshead College.
Gateshead Council Deputy Leader Cllr Catherine Donovan, explains: “Channel 4’s National HQ could become a Centre of Excellence in data-informed and innovation based broadcasting, a challenger to the norm in revolutionising TV broadcasting.
“As a region we have the fastest growing digital and tech sector in the UK outside of London with fantastic assets on either side of the Tyne. In Gateshead we have PROTO: The Emerging Technology Centre, a soon-to-be launched research and development facility for digital innovation and Newcastle is home to the National Innovation Centre for Data.
“With this in mind two potential sites were highlighted, Newcastle Helix and Gateshead Quays. Both fantastic locations that could transform how Channel 4 operates commission content, and both potentially sites where they could also be based. With excellent connectivity they are perfectly primed to host Channel 4’s new national HQ.”
Newcastle Council Leader Cllr Nick Forbes, added: “Creativity and innovation are joint strengths which unite Tyneside and Channel 4. NewcastleGateshead has become the unofficial capital of culture in the UK, and Channel 4 demonstrates what can happen when art in all its forms is used to challenge and push forward a nation.
“After showing the world how cultural-led regeneration can transform a place physically, Newcastle Gateshead is now ready to repeat that success with a digital economy which places Tyneside at the very heart of modern Britain.
“The people here already design and dream big, crafting and coding in a way which opens up new possibilities, a strength recognised when the decision was taken to locate the National Innovation Centre for Data here. These cutting edge technological assets are a key part of our offer as we look to welcome Channel 4 and start a new era in our shared story of cultural growth.”
Also outlined in the bid is access to local talent from the region’s five universities, 20 colleges and specialist Technical Colleges.
Professor Andrew Wathey, CBE, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of Northumbria University said: “We would be delighted to see Channel 4 come to the region. Northumbria has already worked closely with Channel 4, most notably to create the Channel 4/Northumbria University Writing for Television Award, in collaboration with cultural partner, New Writing North. Channel 4 in the North East will facilitate a very wide range of links between academics, students and the wider cultural sector.”
Chair of BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead and former Channel 4 news presenter Kirsty Lang said: “If innovation, cultural diversity, inspiring change in people’s lives whilst nurturing talent is at the heart of Channel 4’s ethos then it could not find a better location than NewcastleGateshead to match its values.”
The shortlisted cities will be released at the end of May, followed by the final decision later in the year. Channel 4 intends to create a new national HQ and two creative hubs.