Stars come forward to back city’s Channel 4 bid

An illustrious roll call of stars from TV, film and stage as well as leaders in education, business and politics have today backed Liverpool’s bid to be the new home of Channel 4.

David Yates, Director of the final four Harry Potter films and Fantastic Beasts, legendary actor Alison Steadman and multi award-winning writer Jimmy McGovern have also pledged their support while the city’s bid has been endorsed at the Houses of Parliament.

Liverpool Wavertree MP Luciana Berger, who is vice-chair of the Channel 4 All Party Parliamentary Group, has tabled an Early Day Motion (EDM) noting Liverpool’s exciting bid, the city’s extraordinary cultural prowess and “the positive impact of the employment and training opportunities this move could provide the city, and the wider North West”.

It has so far been co-signed by Liverpool MPs Stephen Twigg, Maria Eagle and Louise Ellman as well as Wirral South MP Alison McGovern and Cheshire’s Weaver Vale MP Mike Amesbury.

To underline the support the city has received across the city’s cultural sector, a series of video interviews are to be released this afternoon which includes celebrated designer Wayne Hemingway.

The endorsements, which also features top TV chef Paul Askew and a new technology group called Liverpool Girl Geeks, will appear on twitter from 3pm today on the council’s Film Office platform @FilmLiverpool

They are as follows:

  • David Yates, who was recently made a Citizen of Honour by Liverpool City Council for his contribution to film, said: Liverpool is a place that inspired me, excited me and enthralled me growing up, and it inspires me now when I go back there to film.”
  • Alison Steadman, whose career has included critically acclaimed TV and film performances from Abigail’s Party and Pride and Prejudice to Gavin & Stacey, said: Liverpool is an amazing, vibrant, growing city… I honestly can’t think of a better location for the Channel 4 HQ.”
  • Wayne Hemmingway, who curates the annual Vintage on the Dock festival on Liverpool’s World Heritage waterfront, said: “Hemingway Design have been working in Liverpool for quite a while now and have seen it go from strength to strength. Culturally, it’s amazing.”
  • Jimmy McGovern, famed for writing Cracker, The Accused, Hillsborough and recent Bafta winner Broken, said: Liverpool is full of wonderfully creative people, and if you commit to us, I promise you that all of these wonderful creatives and wonderful storytellers will fully commit to Channel 4.”
  • Paul Askew, Head Chef at the Art School and TV regular on shows such as Saturday Kitchen, said: We’ve got the creative edge, artistic edge, the sporting culture, the food culture… If you come to Liverpool, come to ArtSchool Liverpool and I’ll do a lovely dinner for you.”
  • Robyn Dooley, Managing Director of OH, a company which provides alternative forms of education for creative people, saidWe’re a city filled with creativity, imagination, and we’re also a city with a great deal of community.”
  • Chelsea Slater, Liverpool Girl Geekssaid: “Channel 4, make Liverpool your home like I did 10 years ago. We are diverse, inclusive, we have an amazing culture. We have some fantastic organisations like l Liverpool Girl Geeks and Innovate Her, who are trying to get more women into technology, and we have a fantastic community here.”

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson and the Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram are jointly leading the city’s bid and have stated “Channel 4 would find a soulmate in Liverpool” adding that a move would breathe new energy into the public service broadcaster whilst transforming the city’s creative and digital sector.

Liverpool, which has aspirations to create one of the largest Film Studios in the UK at the former Littlewoods Building on Edge Lane and is also developing a new creative quarter – Ten Streets, has several ready to go, high quality locations to show to the station.

The city, which established Europe’s first Film Office and is now the most filmed outside of London with £90m of productions currently in the pipeline, has also created a bid steering group that includes Liverpool John Moores University whose Screen School is recognised as one of the UK’s leading film faculties, with partnerships around the world.

Channel 4 announced its search for a location, called “4 All in the UK”, will be the biggest structural change in the broadcaster’s 35-year history, including three new “creative hubs”, with the largest to be a new national HQ that will have facilities including a TV studio and host executive and board meetings.

Channel 4 News, fronted by University of Liverpool alumni Jon Snow, is to also open three new news bureaux, with a trebling of news jobs in the nations and regions by 2020, while spend on shows made by TV production companies based outside London will rise from £169m annually to about £350m a year by 2023.

In terms of location Liverpool, which was recently chosen by the Royal College of Physicians to house its new Northern HQ, is virtually equidistant to London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast with northern cities such as Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield all within less than a 90 minute journey.

  • Channel 4 is to choose its shortlist of bidding cities on Wednesday, 30 May.

Keep up with the #4ForLiverpool conversation with @FilmLiverpool on Twitter