Belfast Telegraph

Channel 4 boss: There is universal enthusiasm for Leeds move

Director of programmes Ian Katz spoke at the Edinburgh TV Festival.

Ian Katz, director of programmes at Channel 4. (House of Commons)
Ian Katz, director of programmes at Channel 4. (House of Commons)

By Craig Simpson, PA

Channel 4 controller Ian Katz said there is “universal enthusiasm” for the broadcaster’s move to Leeds.

The organisation is relocating much of its operation out of London, with up to 90% of staff choosing redundancy over moving.

Katz denied hearing any backlash in Leeds regarding the refusal of current staff to relocate.

Speaking at the Edinburgh TV Festival he said: “What we are hearing is universal enthusiasm about what the arrival of Channel 4 is going to do for the city and for the area.”

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Current Channel 4 headquarters in Horseferry Road, London. Much of the operation will move north (Philip Toscano/PA)

He added of the staff: “People have often got families, often got kids. It’s much harder for them to move.

“If we had a wider population, 20-somethings with no kids, we would have a lot more movers.”

The broadcaster currently has around 800 people on the payroll in the capital and around 300 jobs are moving, with staff also heading to new creative hubs in Bristol and Glasgow.

It announced its intention to move staff out of London after the Government made clear it needed to do more to increase its presence in the regions to help better reflect and provide for UK audiences outside of the M25.

Katz hopes that the move will help the Yorkshire region, and boost the overall tone of Channel 4 programmes.

He said he wanted Leeds to attract: “Stories that are profoundly locally resonate but have a universality, to get new talent, to get new stories.”

The TV boss also said that Channel 4 needs to do more to tackle diversity.

He added: “As an industry we need to do much, much better.”

PA

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