Channel 4 Bows To Pressure & Commits To Making More Shows Outside England

Channel 4 has bowed to pressure from producers and will slowly start making more shows outside of England, its boss Alex Mahon revealed today.

Producers have been ramping up calls in recent months on the nation’s youth-skewing pubcaster to increase its commitment to make 9% of its shows in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, which has stood since 2020.

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For the first time this morning at the Creative Cities Convention, Mahon said “I think we will try” and boost the 9% quota, satisfying calls from the likes of trade body Pact and various creative industry bodies.

“There have been questions on us to make [the 9% quota] bigger,” Mahon told the Bristol event. “We will try and do more because we need to think more carefully about how we represent people on air. It is time to make that shift to support companies [outside England] more sustainably.”

Mahon was tight-lipped on how much Channel 4 will increase the proportion by but Deadline understands any move will be incremental and will take in market conditions, which are currently tricky due to the ad recession.

A 16% quota, which the BBC hits, is a “false comparison,” Mahon said, as the BBC is funded with public money. Channel 4’s overall out-of-London quota is set at 50% and it hit 57% last year, according to Mahon.

She said audiences would welcome more representation outside London. “You don’t want to end up with things in the nations and regions that are just kilts and shortbread,” said the Scottish native, citing the success of dramas such as Screw. “[Audiences] don’t want quintessential, parochial representations of where they come from, they want a true version. The representation challenge and reinvention is an opportunity because that makes the brand distinctive and gives you TV shows that people are excited about.”

Mahon was speaking at Creative Cities along with the likes of Netflix UK boss Anne Mensah and Shadow Culture Secretary Thangam Debbonaire.

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