BBC Birmingham: Construction starts on 'landmark' new HQ

Artist's impression of the Tea Factory
Building work has begun on the BBC's new headquarters in Birmingham, The Tea Factory

Construction has started on the BBC's new Birmingham headquarters.

The corporation said its "future landmark" home, called The Tea Factory, marked the beginning of a new era for production and creative industries in the Midlands.

While announcing the start of building work, the BBC also revealed a new BBC One commission.

SAS: Catching the Criminals with Billy Billingham would be made from Birmingham, they said.

The daytime show will see the former SAS leader follow Britain's elite enforcement teams and police forces up and down the country.

Plans for the redevelopment of the Tea Factory site were approved by councillors in March but in December it was revealed its opening was likely to be a year later than planned.

The 100-year-old industrial building in Digbeth was unused for decades and bosses said it would be brought back to life in spectacular fashion.

Artist's impression of The Tea Factory building
Regenerating the site would be "a catalyst for the wider regeneration" of the area, the leader of Birmingham City Council said

Developer Stoford plans to turn the site into a state-of-the-art broadcasting centre and the BBC said it would be its greenest building.

It was hoped the move would act as a significant catalyst in a masterplan to regenerate the Digbeth area of the city, the corporation added.

The site is next to Digbeth Loc Studios, the future home of MasterChef which will start production from the site this autumn.

The move of the series would bring 130 new jobs to Birmingham and would be production firm Banjay UK's largest base outside of London, the BBC said.

The corporation was also investing to support independent production firms' relocations including Spun Gold TV's from London to Digbeth, which would bring BBC Daytime's Garden Rescue with the company.

BBC Studios programmes Sister Boniface Mysteries, Father Brown and Silent Witness will also relocate to the region later this year.

Other upcoming shows include Steven Knight's This Town, Guz Khan's comedy Man Like Mobeen and CBBC drama Phoenix Rise, which is made in Coventry.

Tim Davie
BBC director general Tim Davie said the start of the work was a "significant step" for the BBC

The corporation also announced the creation of 24 new entry-level opportunities for future TV production and a number of junior drama roles as part of a collaboration with BBC Studios, Tiger Aspect and the West Midlands Combined Authority.

The BBC said it was working with other groups in the West Midlands to launch "Write Across Birmingham and the Black Country".

The scheme, backed by Sir Lenny Henry and novelist Kit De Waal, would give up to 12 aspiring writers a "crucial insight" into writing for TV, it added.

Tim Davie, the broadcaster's director general, said building work marked a "significant step" for the BBC and the Midlands and Digbeth would "be a centre for excellence".

Hayley Valentine, head of BBC Midlands, added that the Digbeth hub would be an "outstanding creative, productive and sustainable space".

Revamping the Digbeth site would be "a catalyst for the wider regeneration" of the area, Birmingham City Council leader John Cotton said.

While West Midlands Tory mayor Andy Street said the latest BBC news "marks a major step forward in the wider story of the resurgence of the creative industries in the West Midlands".

Once The Tea Factory is built, all teams at currently at The Mailbox will relocate, including Midlands Today, online teams, Radio WM, Radio 1's Newsbeat and Asian Network.

In December, BBC Nations director Rhodri Talfan Davies said it was likely staff would move in by 2027, a year later than initially planned.

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