Channel 4 Relocation — [Sir Graham Brady in the Chair]

Part of Backbench Business – in Westminster Hall at 3:54 pm on 10th May 2018.

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Photo of Alison Thewliss Alison Thewliss Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Cities), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Treasury) 3:54 pm, 10th May 2018

I am delighted to be able to speak in support of the proposal that Channel 4 come to Glasgow, the city that I represent. I express my solidarity with Team Glasgow, who are heading down on the train from Glasgow just now. To my council colleagues, Stuart Cosgrove and the rest of the team who are on the train on their way down here with the bid document, I say that I look forward to their safe arrival in the city. I like to think that we are playing for the away team and they are the home team, coming down to do their very best for us.

Glasgow is very much the right city for Channel 4, because like Glasgow, Channel 4 is pure gallus, and it has been from the start. It offers something that challenges, that is different and that is unusual, and it seeks to find the stories that we do not get in other places; that is certainly the story of Glasgow.

Already, as other hon. Members have said, there are production companies that are based in Glasgow and going about the business of telling the stories of the people. Firecrest Films specialises in documentaries, such as “Breadline Kids”, which brought the story of people who were in severe poverty to our screens. Nicole Kleeman says that basing Channel 4 in Glasgow would be an “enormous opportunity in Scotland”. It is currently telling the story of the cancer hospital, the Beatson, which many of my constituents have found very moving. They can see their own stories reflected in those documentaries.

Matchlight, which is also based in Glasgow, says:

“Glasgow is inherently diverse in all measures. It would be a great home for the channel. TV must represent all of the UK if it is to be relevant to the audience.”

Matchlight also works in Gaelic. It does production for BBC Alba as well as for Channel 4, where it works for “Dispatches”, which, as we all know, tells really deep and important stories and brings them to light.

Raise the Roof is the UK’s sixth fastest growing indie producer and is also based in Scotland. It is the biggest Channel 4 supplier from Scotland, and very proudly so. Not only does it do work here, but its very successful production company, which was built through Channel 4’s programmes, exports to 37 countries around the world, so this activity is not just of benefit to Glasgow, Scotland or the UK; we are growing the ability of our native producers to export to the world. Chris Young of Young Films, who is best known for “The Inbetweeners” and is based in Skye in Scotland, also says that basing the channel in Glasgow would be a game changer for Scotland.