And in a podcast interview with the Baltic Broadcasting Company the creator of Brookside and Hollyoaks said Channel 4 was now just a ‘burger van’ compared to Netflix and Amazon. Tony McDonough reports
Brookside and Hollyoaks creator Phil Redmond believes the decision by Channel 4 not to choose Liverpool as the location of its new national headquarters was “pre-determined”.
And the TV mogul added that in comparison to global media players such as Netflix and Amazon, Channel 4 is now just a “burger van”, ITV is just a “corner” shop and the BBC a “local supermarket”.
Speaking exclusively on Liverpool’s Baltic Broadcasting Company monthly podcast, Mr Redmond, also the brains behind iconic children’s TV show Grange Hill, played down the significance of the decision not to shortlist Liverpool for the Channel 4 base.
Liverpool failed to make the shortlist for the facility with the only contenders now Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester. A decision is due to be made in the next few days.
In July Liverpool city mayor Joe Anderson criticised the decision claiming that Channel Four had blamed Liverpool’s poor transport links.
But Mr Redmond, who was the public face of Liverpool’s Capital of Culture year in 2008, said the decision had been “very much a pre-determined, pre-ordained decision as to where they were going to go”.
He added the fact that one of the broadcaster’s highest value commissions Hollyoaks is already based in Liverpool probably counted against the city as a prospective location.
“I’m not particularly surprised because Hollyoaks is already here… they came with a firm view of where they really needed to be,” he said.
Redmond is particularly scathing about the Channel 4 bidding process whereby senior executives toured cities ,including Liverpool, and were feted by city leaders. He claimed the process “wasn’t rigorous enough to be totally transparent” and compared it unfavourably to the UK City of Culture process, in which he has been closely involved, as a more effective mechanism.
He went on to explain the implications for the creative sector locally and the role that areas such as the Baltic Creative Quarter will play as the city confronts a post-Brexit future in a media increasingly dominated by global players such as Neftlx and Amazon.
And he questioned whether the new Channel 4 headquarters will have the budget and commissioning power to give real power to the successful bidder in the regions.
“Channel 4 in terms of the overall broadcasting landscape now is a bit like a street burger van compared to the rest of the industry – Amazon, Netflix, Apple… even the BBC’s £4bn is dwarfed by them.
“Now… ITV is a corner shop, the BBC a local supermarket and as I say Channel Four like a street burger van.”
Although he was disappointed that Liverpool didn’t make the final shortlist for neither the National HQ or the four ‘Creative Hubs’ he remains optimistic about the future of the creative industries in the region.
As chair of Liverpool’s Cultural Partnership, Mr Redmond says the city has always “punched above its weight creatively” and will continue to do so.
“What we have to do is not worry too much about where the bricks and mortar are but keep stimulating creativity. It’s the most filmed city in the UK and our film office brings in more films per pound than everybody else.”