Thinking outside the box

Sacha Mirzoeff speaking at inclusivity in media
sector workshop at the Channel 4 Hub

Today’s blog comes from Sacha Mirzoeff, Head of Hub and Factual Commissioner at Channel 4

It feels like there’s been a lot of waiting for things to progress since the announcement that Channel 4 would be moving to Bristol last March.  But we officially opened two weeks ago and the launch party took place at the Old Vic.  Since then I’ve already become crazy busy and it feels like there’s a new buzz in the city which we want to keep going and develop.  New companies have moved here and more are coming.  Our media industry is flying high, despite hard times in the economy.

Our aim is simple – to bring the very best business to companies in the South West, West and Wales to help win commissions in all sorts of programmes – from documentaries, specialist factual and popular factual to drama and daytime.  By 2023 50% of main channel UK commissions – a target which we are well on course for. But we want to do it in the right way with the right people.

From its inception Channel 4 has had a long history of being disruptive and daring to say the things that other broadcasters wouldn’t. In an age where most media feels vanilla – the same middle of the road, I want to see Channel 4 being bold in ways that relate to our lives in this city and beyond. We in the West are underrepresented on and off screen and my job is to make that change.

So we don’t only want to bring new work to the West and Wales.  We also want to help find new young local people to do it – some who might never have imagined a career in television, but are passionate, driven and have something to say about their own world that feels relevant. They are the people that could reinvigorate the television workforce here – a different set of people than currently exists in our trade.  We can offer support, advice and guidance as they progress.  Channel 4 want to take risks, and this includes stepping out of our comfort zone in terms of the people we traditionally collaborate with.

To do this successfully we need partners across the city as we don’t make any programmes ourselves – we can only help facilitate change.  It may not all happen overnight, as we need to work closely with people across the city to see how we can do it best.   But one thing is for sure – Channel 4 is here to stay and aims to build legacy in innovation for generations to come.

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