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REVEALED: Wolverhampton launches shock bid for Channel 4

By Pete Madeley | Wolverhampton | Politics | Published:

Wolverhampton has launched a shock bid to become a new home for Channel 4.

An official bid was launched for Channel Four to establish a base in Wolverhampton, spearheaded by city MP Eleanor Smith

A city MP is behind a formal application to the broadcaster, which wants to establish three new creative hubs outside London as part of its '4 All the UK' strategy.

The Black Country had failed to make the shortlist for the region's 'official' bids under the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), with Mayor Andy Street putting forward Birmingham and Coventry.

But it has emerged that a pitch was submitted on behalf of Wolverhampton before last week's deadline, with the bid focusing on the region's 'diversity, creativity, energy and talented young people'.

Wolverhampton was first mooted as a potential home for Channel 4 last August, when the then Chief Whip and current Defence Secretary, South Staffordshire MP Gavin Williamson, urged the city to be 'bold and ambitious' in making a bid.

He said today: "Wolverhampton would be an ideal base for Channel 4. The city is very much on the up and it would be very nice to build on that success with a world leading brand.

"Channel 4 needs to reflect the nation it serves, and it would be good to have a strong media presence in Wolverhampton."

Labour MPs Emma Reynolds, Pat McFadden, Adrian Bailey, Ian Austin and Valerie Vaz have all backed a Black Country move, which has been spearheaded by Wolverhampton South West MP Eleanor Smith.

Ms Smith said the bid 'was about providing opportunities and a platform for the talent in this region', adding that 80 per cent of students at the University of Wolverhampton were from the local area.

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"We have all this wonderful talent, in the creative and media fields, and they are committing to the region," Ms Smith said. "A media investor like Channel 4 could benefit from this loyalty, this untapped resource, this energy and will to succeed.”

Wolverhampton North East MP Ms Reynolds said: "Wolverhampton would be a fantastic place for one of Channel 4's new regional hubs.

"It would be a perfect fit given the young and talented local population and I hope very much that we will be successful in our bid."

The city faces a possible weakness in meeting Chennel 4's eligibility criteria for a hub, as it has no existing digital production community.

Regions will be shortlisted by the end of the month.

Pete Madeley

By Pete Madeley
@P_Madeley_Star

Political Editor for the Express & Star. Responsible for local and national political stories, opinion, comment and analysis.

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