From Telegraph & Argus, 17th October 2017
Written by Mark Stanford
A BRADFORD film boss and actor has backed a bid to move Channel 4 to the city and elsewhere in West Yorkshire. The proposal, which is being submitted by media investment business Screen Yorkshire, aims to move Channel 4’s offices and studios to the Leeds City Region. It would see the television channel based in Leeds, with a training centre in Bradford, and other works taking place across Yorkshire in places including Calderdale, York and Harrogate.
A public consultation on the proposal was held in the summer. As Channel 4 is owned by the government, the Department of Culture, Media and Sport will then make a decision on the future of the network.
Now, as part of the Yorkshire bid, Leeds City Region has today started its campaign - called #4Sparks to attract the relocation.
David Wilson, director of Bradford City of Film, said: “I back this scheme 100 per cent.
“It is just the type of thing we have been crying out for for a long time.
“It is a really exciting place to live and work.
“We have a film-friendly reputation in Bradford. The screen industries are crying out for more diversity.
“This will help in encouraging the next generation of content generators.”
The next generation of young and diverse content makers teamed up to give their support to the campaign and express how by heading to Yorkshire and engaging with new voices and talent, Channel 4 could spark a revolution in the creative and screen industries.
Maariah Hussain, Bradford-based actor in Channel 4’s hit school-drama Ackley Bridge, filmed in Halifax, said: “It’s great to be part of #4Sparks because I’m really excited about the potential for Channel 4 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 4 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 4 how much difference and opportunity they could make, and what a warm Yorkshire welcome they’d receive.”
The move for Bradford to be included in any proposal by Channel 4 has been previously backed by Shipley MP Philip Davies and his Keighley counterpart John Grogan.
Mr Davies said any potential move to the district would help stimulate the entrepreneurial and creative industries here in Bradford.
Mr Grogan said having a training academy in Bradford would help “diversify the people who go into broadcasting”.
Roger Marsh, Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) chairman, said: “There’s a real momentum here and I’m delighted the young creatives of the region have come together to champion the #4Sparks campaign.
“We can all see and feel that the region is on the cusp of a real transformation and Channel 4 are the spark, the opportunity that could lead that revolution.
“We’re fully committed to standing shoulder to shoulder with Channel 4 to offer a full package of support to de-risk the process of relocation.
“We’ve the creative talent, diversity of voices and critical mass of digital platform developers to support commercial success.”