1 May 2018
A panel of industry insiders say that Sheffield is “uniquely placed” to be a new national home for Channel 4 – with a site a grade two listed icon Park Hill one of several potential locations highlighted for the broadcaster to move into.
At an event held at the home of the city’s globally-renowned Doc/Fest today, the Showroom, bid chair Richard Caborn joined senior figures from Warp Films and Tyke Films to reveal details of the bid. A packed audience featuring people from Dice Recordings North, Sheffield Showroom, Kollider and many others also revealed what a Channel 4 national headquarters in Sheffield would mean to them.
Key to Sheffield’s unique offer for Channel 4 is its location, with all of the sites identified less than five minutes walk from Sheffield Midland Station. They include a potential home at the iconic Park Hill development as well as space at the city’s Digital Campus close to the station. Three options have been identified – a refurbishment, new build or so-called hipster hangout.
Insiders say the city is almost unrivalled in terms of the combination of journey time from London and between other cities around the UK, especially across the North, a critical element of Channel 4’s requirements.
And with the city’s two universities, the UTC and Sheffield College close by as well as digital companies like The Floow, Human and wanDisco in the city’s thriving cultural industries quarter, bid insiders say they have a “compelling case” for a Channel 4 move.
The city is also putting diversity and a network of digital and hi-tech businesses – best demonstrated by the recent announcement of a new £3m Tech hub at Castlegate – at the heart of its bid to Channel 4.
The city now supports more than 22,000 digital jobs with a digital GVA of £339m.
Richard said: “Sheffield can present a compelling case for Channel 4. The expertise and digital know-how which runs from Kelham to the railway station is unrivalled. Our cultural offerings such as Doc/Fest and Warp are world-renowned.
“We can offer a connectivity and closeness to talent and skills that few others can. We have Hallam and the UTC on our doorstep. All the sites identified can be reached on foot within minutes. And we have the spirit and independence that should remind Channel 4 of its own beginnings as a truly ground-breaking broadcasting force.
“All these components mean that we are unique in cities in being able to respond to the challenge that Channel 4 has set – to develop a creative campus in the heart of Sheffield that can ready it for the 22nd century.”
Mark Herbert from Warp Films added: “Warp Films produced This Is England which was a highly successful film and television series. Sheffield’s strength is in its ability to pull in talent and crew from other places. Geographically, it’s a great location. If you look at the end credits of films there are usually hundreds of credits – and we want to bring those opportunities to people in Sheffield.”
Channel 4 say the new national headquarters must be based in a city with a working population of more than 200,000, travel time to London of less than three hours and a high-level of physical and digital connectivity and infrastructure.
Its creative hubs must be based in a city with a working population of 75,000, a four-hour journey time to the capital and links to a well-developed independent television or digital production community.