Rumours have been brewing for months that Channel 4, home to some of the UK’s most beloved shows such as 8 Out of 10 Cats, Hollyoaks and Gogglebox, could be moving north to Birmingham.
It is feared that unless it agrees to the move, the channel could face being privatised. According to Birmingham Post, government sources indicate these plans will only be scrapped if the move to Birmingham is cleared.
The Sunday Times reported that relocating to Brum would “make sense for regional regeneration.” Recently, the government has been pushing for the decentralisation of the UK, meaning more northern areas such as Birmingham and Manchester are slowly becoming key players in the economy.
Channel 4 is staunchly against the move, claiming it makes significant contributions to creativity across the UK already, adding they are ‘well in excess of Ofcom requirements.’ As of now, they hold an annual ‘Talent Day’ in different areas of the UK where they hold workshops and scout for new talent. There is a layer of difficulty in applying for jobs at Channel 4, as Talent Days are few and far between, and one can only apply after having been to one.
If Channel 4 wishes to remain in public ownership (it is currently owned by the government) then they will have to concede with the Birmingham move. Culture Secretary MP Karen Bradley and Charles Gurassa, Channel 4’s Chairman, are to hold a review. If privatised, it is estimated that it would only sell for £2bn, which many say doesn’t justify selling off the public property.