Liverpool’s Phil Redmond bids for Channel 4 relocation

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Phil Redmond
Image caption Phil Redmond says “a lot of Channel 4’s DNA” was created through Brookside and Hollyoaks, filmed in Liverpool

The creator of Brookside, Phil Redmond, is leading a bid to bring Channel 4 to Liverpool, saying “there could be no better home”.

A government consultation is considering whether the broadcaster should move out of central London.

Mr Redmond said Liverpool was “recognised as the UK’s second cultural city” and had always had a “pool of creative talent”.

The move could create more than 800 jobs, he added.

‘Rebalancing culture’

A consultation into the broadcaster’s future was launched after the government carried out an 18-month review of the publicly owned channel, which has more than 800 staff but fewer than 30 based outside the capital.

Mr Redmond has joined Liverpool John Moores University, the city council and the Liverpool Film Office to try and bring the broadcaster to the city.

He said: “Apart from Liverpool’s growing reputation as a cultural centre… we have to remember [that] a lot of Channel 4’s DNA was created in this city through Brookside and then through Hollyoaks, which at one stage was providing 60% of Channel 4’s income… “

He said Liverpool did not have a “permanent broadcasting centre” like other major cities, adding: “We are talking about rebalancing the UK and rebalancing culture and rebalancing the news agenda outside of London. It seems like an obvious fix to come to Liverpool this time.”

Liverpool’s cultural credentials

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption There would be huge economic benefits for Liverpool, Mr Redmond says
  • It is the birthplace of the “fab four”, The Beatles
  • It has the largest collection of Grade II-listed buildings outside London
  • In 1860, Charles Dickens gave a reading to 2,000 people in the impressive St George’s Hall, which was then just six years old
  • The Philharmonic Hall was completed in 1849 and William Brown Library followed in 1860
  • Liverpool provided the backdrop for three of Willy Russell’s scripts. Educating Rita, Shirley Valentine and Blood Brothers were all successful on stage, with the first two also making it to the big screen
  • Writer Carla Lane had TV viewers laughing with The Liver Birds, Bless this House, Butterflies and Bread
  • Award winning screenwriter Jimmy McGovern’s catalogue of work includes Cracker, The Street, The Accused and Hillsborough
  • Famous Liverpool authors include Beryl Bainbridge, Nicholas Monsarrat, Lynda La Plante and Brian Jacques
  • In the early 1980s groups such as Echo and the Bunnymen, A Flock of Seagulls and Frankie Goes to Hollywood made it big
  • Tate Liverpool gallery has hosted numerous exhibitions of modern and contemporary art since it opened its doors in 1988
  • The city spawned and hosted one of the UK’s pre-eminent club nights of 1990s, Cream
  • It was European Capital of Culture in 2008

Liverpool is at the centre of the UK geographically, he said, “so it is closer to all the nations and regions [for commissioning]”.

Mr Redmond, who ran Mersey Television for 25 years, added: “[There are] economic benefits obviously, if they bring £650-700m spend into the area – or the jobs attached to that- that is a big economic benefit.

“It would be fantastic for Liverpool but I also think it is the way to reinvigorate Channel 4 for its next 35 years.”

Image caption Only 30 of Channel 4’s staff are currently based outside London

The West Midlands Combined Authority launched a bid for the broadcaster to move to its region last week, with sites proposed in Birmingham, Coventry, Solihull and Dudley.

Elsewhere, two Bradford MPs have called on Channel 4 to move its HQ to West Yorkshire.

Joe Anderson, mayor of Liverpool, said: “Aside from world-beating locations and world-class creative talent, the character and the history of the city sits well with Channel 4’s brand.”

The government said it would consider all bids with the broadcaster “to ensure that Channel 4 maximises its delivery of public value”.

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