Entertainment

MasterChef production to leave London for first time since 2001

The popular cooking show and its spin-offs will be produced at a new studio complex in Birmingham.

MasterChef filming will move out of London for the first time since 2001 with the production to be based in Birmingham from 2024, it has been announced.

The news comes as the corporation and the producers of MasterChef, Shine TV, have agreed a multi-series, six-year deal for the MasterChef titles on the BBC as of 2022.

Forming part of the BBC’s Across the UK plans, announced early last year, all series of MasterChef will be made at Digbeth Loc Studios, a new complex founded by Steven Knight, the creator of Peaky Blinders.

These will include the original BBC One series as well as its professional, celebrity and junior spin-offs, plus any festive editions of the programme.

Jon Swain from Shine TV, BBC director-general Tim Davie, MasterChef: The Professionals winner Dan Lee, screenwriter Steven Knight, director of BBC entertainment Kate Phillips and West Midlands mayor Andy Street (BBC/Shine TV/PA)

The BBC’s director-general, Tim Davie, said: “We said we would create jobs and investment, bringing decision-making and productions to the West Midlands as part of our Across the UK plans.

“Moving one of our biggest programme brands shows, we are making that a reality. This is great news for Birmingham and the BBC.”

In March 2021 the BBC unveiled plans to “better reflect” all parts of the UK with more programmes to be made outside of London as the corporation pledged to shift away from the capital over the next six years in what it said was its “biggest transformation in decades”.

The shift included news and current affairs programmes like Newsnight being presented from different UK bases, and Radio 4’s Today show being co-hosted from outside London for at least 100 episodes a year.

Director of BBC entertainment, Kate Phillips, said: “MasterChef is one of the BBC’s biggest entertainment shows and today’s announcement demonstrates our commitment to the brand and the city of Birmingham.

“It’s an exciting new chapter and its move to one of the UK’s youngest and most diverse cities will provide many opportunities in the area to support an already thriving production sector.”

Screenwriter and director Knight, who has been working for the last seven years to establish a film and TV studio in his home city of Birmingham, said: “I am genuinely thrilled that MasterChef is coming to Birmingham and honoured that Shine TV has chosen to locate such an iconic production at Digbeth Loc.

“We will work hard to ensure that this internationally renowned TV institution instantly feels at home in our creative environment, and we look forward to welcoming many more blue chip brands into our rapidly expanding media neighbourhood.”

MasterChef final
MasterChef judges John Torode and Gregg Wallace (BBC/PA)

Shine TV is part of the Banijay UK group, whose others productions include Peaky Blinders and The Crystal Maze.

The chief executive of Banijay UK, Lucinda Hicks, said: “We are delighted to be taking our incredible production to Birmingham.

“Not only is it one of the most creatively exciting and culinary diverse regions in country, but it is also on the cusp of being a major TV production centre again.

“Having a multi-series, returning show like MasterChef made in the Midlands will provide a multitude of local roles, training and development opportunities, which will undoubtedly have a positive impact on the TV industry of the future.”

Shine TV’s managing director, Jon Swain, said MasterChef is a “phenomenal brand which just goes from strength to strength – testament to the production team led by David Ambler and Katie Attwood who continue to create a series that is so loved by viewers”.

He added: “Birmingham is a fantastic city with a great food scene.

“Moving production to the heart of one of the country’s youngest and most diverse cities, will allow us to further invigorate the programmes and showcase even more exciting new culinary stars from every corner of the UK.”

MasterChef initially ran from 1990 to 2001 and was revived in 2005 with a new format judged by John Torode and Gregg Wallace.

It has been the BBC’s highest rating cookery format over the past five years, and broadcasts in some 60 countries outside the UK.

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