Scrap Channel 4 privatisation plans, says Metro Mayor

The government’s failure to give assurances that the West of England’s creative industries will be protected from the privatisation of Channel 4 means the plans must be scrapped, according to Metro Mayor Dan Norris.

In a response to the government’s consultation on looming privatisation plans, The West of England Combined Authority today set out its official concerns that government’s proposals lack clarity, and that key unanswered questions remain.

The Mayor wants the government to confirm that Channel 4’s Bristol Creative Hub will be retained, alongside a commitment to independent producers and filmmakers.

Metro Mayor Dan Norris said: “Our region is amazing with national and international creative success stories. We’re home to Aardman and The BBC Studios Natural History Unit. When Channel 4 set down roots in Bristol with its Creative Hub, that helped bring still more talent to our region.”

The submission to the government consultation highlights how Channel 4 commissions all its content from independent producers, which has significantly benefited companies across the West of England.

This has included made in the West hits such as George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces, (Plum Pictures) and The Simple Life, (Five Mile Films). The new Peter Kosminsky drama The Undeclared War staring Simon Pegg and Mark Rylance will also start filming at Redcliffe Wharf shortly.

Mayor Norris said: “I fear that privatising this much-loved broadcaster will savage our brilliant creative sector that has already suffered badly during the pandemic.

“I am also worried about maintaining the independence and impartiality of Channel 4 a trusted voice for news and commentary programme.

“Ministers have been unable to address the deep concerns I first raised months ago. I’m calling on them to drop this idea and ensure Channel 4 remains in public ownership.”

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