Bristol steps up bid to bring Channel 4 HQ to city as Mayor Rees prepares to meet its chief executive

Mayor of Bristol Marvin Rees is to meet Channel 4 chief executive Alex Mahon this week as the campaign to persuade it to locate its new national headquarters in the city is stepped up.

Bristol faces intense competition from rivals such as Birmingham, Manchester and Sheffield to bring the broadcaster and around 300 staff to the city. 

But those behind Bristol’s bid believe it best meets the criteria set by Channel 4 – and that its dynamic and diverse creative and cultural sectors give it the edge.

In a briefing event staged by Channel 4 at its Westminster head office last week attended by a delegation from Bristol, it stipulated that its three key criteria were “a working population of more than 200,000, a travel time to London of up to three hours and a high level of physical and digital connectivity/infrastructure” – all of which Bristol meets.

Bristol’s team at the event included MPs Kerry McCarthy and Darren Jones, Bristol City Council international trade & investment ambassador Cllr Hibaq Jama and representatives of inward investment group Invest Bristol & Bath and the city’s media industry.

Cllr Jama, pictured, said: “Bristol is an incredibly gifted city and we have an incredible amount to offer organisations like Channel 4. 

“Our creative and digital sector is globally renown and we continue to beat cities like London, Dubai and New York in creating innovate solutions to globally shared challenges. We have a rich and complex history as a city which forms the basis for our aspiration to make Bristol an even better and more equal city. 

“We have one of the most diverse populations in the country and we see this as an advantage and as something particularly valuable to Channel 4 and the wider economy. We are working to demonstrate what a mutually advantageous move it would be to host Channel 4 in Bristol.

“We hope to be successful in this endeavour and look forward to developing a strong brand for Bristol which excites and encourages organisations like Channel 4 to invest in Bristol.”

As well as the national HQ, Channel 4 will also site two ‘creative hubs’ in the regions. Criteria for these are different to the national HQ and include a working population of 75,000-plus, a travel time to London of up to four hours and proximity to a well-developed independent TV/digital production community.

Cities have until Monday to submit questions to Channel 4 with the deadline for final submissions on May 11. Cities making the shortlist will be notified on May 30 and later visited by Channel 4 chiefs and their consultants working on the relocation to allow them to provide further information.

The final decision will be announced on October 1.

Other cities understood to be lobbying Channel 4 include Cardiff and Leeds.

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