Moving HQ to Leeds ‘start of new era for Channel 4'

Chief executive Alex Mahon marked the opening of an interim base in Leeds as work continues on the new headquarters in the West Yorkshire city.

Moving Channel 4’s headquarters to Leeds is the start of a new era which will see the broadcaster “think and behave differently”, according to its chief executive.

Alex Mahon said the move will usher in “an era in which we will be rooted in and more connected to the lives of the communities that make up the UK”.

Ms Mahon was speaking in the West Yorkshire city as she also announced a range of commitments aimed at boosting creativity outside London and developing a wider talent pool, including the launch of a new academy in 2020.

She was at an event to mark the opening of an interim base in Leeds as work continues on the landmark new headquarters in the old Majestic nightclub building on City Square.

Channel 4 currently employs around 800 people in London but is moving around 300 jobs outside the M25.

The broadcaster says around 250 roles are moving to Leeds and new hubs are also being established in Glasgow and Bristol.

Ms Mahon said: “The launch of our national HQ in Leeds is the start of a new era for Channel 4, an era in which we will be rooted in and more connected to the lives of the communities that make up the UK.

“Channel 4 will not just look and feel different but will think and behave differently.

“We’ll be more accessible to our partners in the industry and more visible to those that may one day work in it.

“It’s the biggest change in our 37-year history and I’m so proud that we’re now here.”

Ms Mahon officially marked the opening of a temporary new base in the city’s West Gate development, saying the permanent base in the Majestic building will open in 2020.

The broadcaster says the national HQ in Leeds will be the home to programme commissioners across a range of genres, including comedy, daytime, entertainment, E4, popular factual and sport as well as a range of admin functions.

Channel 4 News is establishing a news hub in Leeds and Channel 4 will launch a new live daytime show filmed in the city.

Channel 4’s managing director for nations and regions Sinead Rocks said: “The opening of our national HQ marks the start of something very special as it’ll give Channel 4 the opportunity to work more closely with regional organisations, businesses and indies and seek out new, untapped talent.”

The channel said it is establishing a new Emerging Indie Fund, succeeding the current Alpha Fund and sitting alongside Channel 4’s Indie Growth Fund, which will be based in Leeds.

It said it will also launch a new academy in 2020 with the aim of attracting people into broadcasting and production from diverse backgrounds and support the development of talent at more senior levels.

Leeds City Council leader Judith Blake said: “The announcement that Channel 4 will be joining us in Leeds has acted as a huge catalyst for growth in our film, TV and creative sectors over the past year, as well as creating an unprecedented buzz about what the future holds for everyone involved in those industries.”

She said: “This is an exciting time to be in Leeds and to be part of making that shared vision of our city as a hub for creativity and innovation a reality.”

Channel 4 said it expects that up to 90% of the north-bound roles will not be taken up by current staff.

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