Brookside and Hollyoaks creator Phil Redmond is leading the drive to bring the TV station to Merseyside but there is reportedly strong resistance within the broadcaster to a move. Tony McDonough reports
Liverpool may be keen to be the new home of Channel 4 but reports this week suggests those in charge of the national broadcaster will have to be dragged kicking and screaming if they are to leave London.
Brookside and Hollyoaks creator Phil Redmond is leading the drive to bring the TV station to Merseyside off the back of a Government manifesto pledge to move it out of central London.
Mr Redmond says the move could see the creation of 800 new jobs in Liverpool and his idea is backed by Liverpool John Moores University and the city council.
However, a report in The Times claims Government Ministers have been “taken aback” by Channel 4’s reluctance to relocate to the regions. Bosses at the company believe leaving the capital would prove “highly damaging” to its operation.
Former chief executive David Abraham has gone further arguing such a move would “destroy” the channel. Although it operates as a commercial broadcaster Channel 4 is a state-owned entity.
The report says culture secretary Karen Bradley is holding talkings with Channel 4’s current CEO Alex Mahon to persuade him of the merits of a move but adds the Government is prepared to force the move if necessary.
One Whitehall source told The Times: “It is just very well-paid TV people who seem to be horrified at the idea of living anywhere apart from London. If they don’t come round to it, we will look at changing the law.”
Channel 4 believes moving ad sales staff out of London would present a challenge as the people it needs to sell ads to are mostly based in the capital themselves.
A Channel 4 spokesperson told the paper: “We are proud of our leadership on diversity and the substantial contribution we make to the nations and regions and we want to grow this further and give even greater support to creative talent across the UK.
“We are working closely with government to ensure we support the important principles of regional representation and deliver our remit.”