BAFTA winner and Hastings resident, director David Caffrey (Peaky Blinders, Line of Duty) is championing a proposal for Hastings to become a new creative hub for Channel 4. The national broadcaster is moving most of its operations out of London and has invited towns and cities across the regions to bid to host one of its three new bases.
David, along with other locals working in the media and creative industries, is backing the proposal by Hastings Borough Council and Locate East Sussex, in partnership with Sussex Coast College Hastings and the two universities, University of Sussex and University of Brighton, Rother Council and East Sussex County Council.
Over the last decade, Hastings and Bexhill have become one of the most vibrant creative communities in the country. Where better for Channel 4 to locate than in a pioneering place where TV has its roots.Eddie IzzardComedian
Keen rower David, from County Wicklow, Ireland, said: “I love the lifestyle here in Hastings. A Channel 4 Hub would have a profound impact on the town, supporting opportunities for young talent and the development of TV and film projects locally, so I’m happy to support the proposal for a town I’m proud to call home.”
The bid is called “Bringing Television Home” to highlight Hastings’ status as the birthplace of TV broadcasting: John Logie Baird built what would become the world’s first working television in his workshop at the Queen’s Arcade shortly after moving to Hastings in 1923.
We have great venues, galleries, education facilities and studios used by a diverse community of artists, musicians, writers, journalists and students. Where better for C4 to locate than a pioneering place where TV has its roots – Eddie Izzard
Along with access to a well-connected local talent pool, one of the bid’s most compelling arguments for Channel 4 to set up in Hastings are the low operating and living costs. Despite continued public and inward investment over the last 20 years the town is still one of the most economically deprived in the south east and property prices are 40% lower than in London. Like most UK coastal towns, Hastings is predominantly a working class population, a demographic that is often overlooked and hard to reach and currently under-represented in the media. A Channel 4 Creative Hub would have a huge impact on the town, helping unlock opportunities for young talent to realise their potential.
Hastings has great artistic depth in a county with remarkable cultural roots. An extraordinary environment with great architecture and housing, bounded on one side by the glittering sea and on the other by rolling Sussex countryside making a stimulating place to live, work and create.Graham Peters Chairman, Team East Sussex
The proposal highlights Hastings as a ‘creative hotspot’ and one of the most creative communities in the country. It is strategically located at the epicentre of the south coast’s cultural stretch between Brighton and Margate and has a well connected creative network. Attractions such as the Jerwood Gallery are helping to boost arts and culture.
‘It is impossible to ignore a burgeoning new generation of talent and migrating artists… happening right now. The future of Hastings artistic position is very bright’ – Dan and Neil Zeroh Design
The Jerwood’s director, Liz Gilmore, said: “Hastings is an astonishing and vibrant cultural hub, home to so many talented artists and creative practitioners including Jake and Dinos Chapman and our patron Sir Quentin Blake. Jerwood Gallery has flourished in and been fed by this creative environment.”
The bid showcases the “unbeatable lifestyle” offered by the town to those who want a healthy work-life balance, without compromising culture and connectivity with the rest of the world. The most compelling reason for Channel 4 is the incredible grassroots well-connected creative network of local talent in TV, media and broadcasting as well as the business supply chain.
‘It’s easy to make things happen in Hastings. As soon as you’ve come up with an idea, you just need to mention it to a couple of people in the pub before you’ve found a location, some kit and a world class crew.” Dan Matthews, TV Producer
Peter Chowney, leader of Hastings Borough Council, said: “Channel 4 establishing a cultural hub here would provide an incredible boost to the local community, creating opportunities, jobs and making a real difference to the town. Hastings may well be the underdog in the selection process but we have a great track record for welcoming new business and would relish the chance to show what we can do for Channel 4.”
Notes to editors:
About the bid
“Bringing Television Home” is the proposal for Hastings to host one of Channel 4’s new creative hubs.
The bid was written by Hastings Borough Council and Locate East Sussex in partnership with University of Brighton, University of Sussex, Sussex Coast College Hastings, Team East Sussex (South East LEP), East Sussex County Council and Rother District Council. It is supported by hundreds of individuals, businesses and organisations who love living and working in Hastings.
The basic criteria for becoming a creative hub in the brief provided by Channel 4 include:
1. Working population of 75,000+
2. Travel time to London up to 4hrs
3. Proximity to a well-developed independent TV/Digital production community
While this stage of the selection process focuses on the town, Hastings’ bid offers Channel 4 the opportunity to move immediately into a state-of-the-art media centre in the heart of Hastings.
The University of Brighton building on Havelock Road is equipped with cutting-edge media and broadcast facilities including a TV studio, editing suite, video and photography studio and digital post-production facilities.
Photos: Caitlin Lock
Hastings formally submitted its bid to Channel 4 and was informed on May 30 that although the bid was stand out and very strong, the bid was unsuccessful.