Birmingham City Council leader, Cllr John Clancy, responds to the announcement that a new base for BBC Three is to be created in Birmingham.
Remember when Pebble Mill put Birmingham on the broadcasting map? Remember when shows like The Clothes Show, Pebble Mill at One and others were watched by millions of people across the UK?
Birmingham was once at the very heart of broadcasting in the UK and today’s announcement hopefully heralds a return to prominence for our great city.
The BBC has announced a package of measures that will build on the Corporation’s existing £125m investment in Birmingham.
These plans mean our city will be home to:
- The second base for BBC Three
- Multi-platform news and factual content for young audiences, the Digital Innovation team, a public facing Blue Room, the
- Space, and digital dimensions of pan-BBC seasons like the Shakespeare season.
- Local and Regional News HQ, including new local news partnerships
- Part of BBC Asian Network
- The Drama Village in Selly Oak where we make over 130 hours for BBC One every year, including Doctors; Father Brown; The Coroner
- Radio Drama production, including Radio 4’s The Archers
- The Academy, including New Talent programmes (apprenticeships, traineeships etc), Outreach and School Report
- BBC HR, including Diversity & Inclusion
This is an important step in ensuring Birmingham is recognised for its youth, diversity and digital strengths, crucially safeguarding the BBC in the Midlands. We’re lucky enough to live in a phenomenally creative city and crucially, as the BBC looks to develop its offer for future license-payers, we are a young city. We have more under 25s than any other UK core city, with a rich pool of talent available to meet the demands of training the next generation of media professionals.
Birmingham has an established digital sector. Three of the top ten locations for ecommerce start-ups in the UK are in the West Midlands and Greater Birmingham contains 380 media and broadcast companies. There are currently 1,000 students currently studying film, TV, media and animation in the city, while more than a quarter of the UK’s games workforce is based in the region.
As a former teacher of media and film courses I know the wealth of talent that’s out there and our young people – either Birmingham-born or adoptive Brummies who attend our fantastic universities – have a massive contribution to make to our regional economy. Now they can also play a starring role in the next exciting chapter of the BBC story.
As Joe Godwin, Director of BBC Academy & BBC Birmingham, pointed out, today’s announcement ‘future-proofs the BBC in Brum by adding online youth content to our existing network radio and TV production. We now make content for all of the BBC’s platforms. We will soon have based in The Mailbox about 750 people who represent a microcosm of all BBC activity – which for me is the measure of what the BBC should be like in this key regional centre. We now have a sustainable, core, sizeable presence, which was unimaginable even 18 months ago.’
A lot of people have made the case for a greater BBC presence in Birmingham. I’m proud to say that the city council has worked alongside our MPs, our media organisations and others to get to this stage. The successful campaign for a bigger share of the BBC is another illustration of the growing confidence in Birmingham. We’ll fight our corner together and will no longer accept a supporting role.