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

Part of Backbench Business – in Westminster Hall at 4:09 pm on 10th May 2018.

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Photo of Kevin Brennan Kevin Brennan Shadow Minister (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) (Arts and Heritage) 4:09 pm, 10th May 2018

I am not one to blow my own trumpet, so I will not comment further on that, and I do not want to endanger my relationship with my hon. Friends by saying anything further about Cardiff’s bid.

May I take this opportunity to wish my hon. Friend Tracy Brabin a happy birthday? She was seen celebrating last night, and she is looking remarkably fresh today. I will say no more. She eloquently made an important point about the need to ensure that our creative industries serve our towns as well as our cities. She also pointed out that our creative industries often rely on locations out of cities in the countryside—our heritage locations—which hon. Members have celebrated here and in other debates on tourism and the creative industries. We should remember how important that is to channels such as Channel 4. In particular, I praise her efforts last year, and the efforts of the commission she worked on, to open up opportunities for working-class children in the creative industries. I strongly commend her for that, and she made a very good speech today.

I am sorry to admit that I have known my hon. Friend John Grogan for more than 35 years, which is a long time. He made a strong case for the Leeds city region. He rightly pointed out that we have reached a consensus about Channel 4 being in the public sector that is to be welcomed above all. For many years, the uncertainty about its status and the threat of privatisation undermined the sort of process that we are talking about, which gives clarity to Channel 4’s future in its role as a public service broadcaster. He said that we have two great public service broadcasters, but we actually have more than that. As well as the BBC, we have ITV, Channel 5, S4C—the Welsh fourth channel—and STV, which remains an independent channel in the ITV family, as was mentioned.

My hon. Friend Mr Sweeney rightly pointed out Glasgow’s history, the origin of television and the great John Logie Baird’s contribution. He described the commission of “Mrs Brown’s Boys” as a cultural risk. I had not thought that it was that much of a risk, but it is a fine programme. He pointed out that the lack of studios at Horseferry Road should be about spreading capacity across the country.

My hon. Friend Rachael Maskell mentioned a third Yorkshire city—York itself. She described a brownfield site near York station and its excellent connectivity, and made a powerful case.

Alison Thewliss listed all the production companies—