Birmingham council backs BBC production move as boost to Digbeth regeneration plans
Birmingham City Council chiefs have hailed plans by the BBC to move production of flagship show MasterChef to the city.
Yesterday’s announcement that popular BBC television series MasterChef is relocating to Birmingham has been welcomed as a boost for long-standing plans to regenerate the Digbeth area of the city.
Paul Kitson, Strategic Director for Place, Prosperity and Sustainability at Birmingham City Council, said the move complemented work already being undertaken via the council’s Our Future City Plan.
Paul said: “Digbeth is a fantastic part of our great city, boldly showcasing everything great about our past, present and future – it really is one of the leading creative quarters, not just in the UK, but internationally.
“Everyone in the city and wider West Midlands is keen to see institutions like the BBC expand their footprint locally, to ensure their output is truly representative of the communities they serve.
“We have the skills, the talent and are developing the infrastructure to enable this to happen – and the MasterChef relocation is an endorsement of everything that partners in the city are doing.
“To enable this announcement, there has been a spirit of co-operation and a genuine shared purpose from partners including the likes of the WMCA and Homes England. We look forward to continuing this close working to make this project and other initiatives a big success for the city, as there is a growing confidence there will be plenty more to come.”
Home to five Michelin-starred restaurants, a bustling street food scene, the renowned Balti Triangle and a host of well-regarded independents, the city’s food sector is playing an increasingly important role in Birmingham’s economy.
Paul added: “Although we have the creative and culinary talent here that makes the MasterChef move a perfect partnership for Birmingham and the BBC, there is much we can gain in the future.
“We want to use projects like this to develop home-grown talent and skills, so the relocation of this show actually becomes a real investment by the BBC in this city.
“There will also be positives for the supply chain, and this will open doors for local innovation and entrepreneurism. We are all looking forward to seeing how this partnership unfolds.”
MasterChef move to Birmingham
Production of the BBC’s MasterChef show will be moved to Birmingham from 2024, producers have announced.
It will be the first time the popular cooking programme will be made outside of London in more than 20 years.
The BBC and show producers Shine TV agreed to the six-year multi-series deal for MasterChef, with Digbeth Loc Studios, run by Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight, set to be the new home for its production.
As part of the broadcaster’s ‘Across the UK’ plans, all MasterChef series will be made at the brand-new studio complex in the Digbeth area of Birmingham from 2024.
This includes BBC One’s MasterChef – one of the corporation’s biggest shows – along with MasterChef: The Professionals, Celebrity MasterChef and the recently announced Young MasterChef (WT) for BBC Three, as well as any festive editions.
Writer and director Steven Knight, creator of Peaky Blinders, helped announce the news at a special event in Birmingham yesterday.
“I am genuinely thrilled that MasterChef is coming to Birmingham and honoured that Shine TV has chosen to locate such an iconic production at Digbeth Loc,” he said.
“We will work hard to ensure that this internationally renowned TV institution instantly feels at home in our creative environment, and we look forward to welcoming many more blue chip brands into our rapidly expanding media neighbourhood.”
MasterChef has consistently been the BBC’s highest rating cookery format over the past five years and the latest series had its highest rating launch since 2017.
What is Digbeth Loc. Studios?
Digbeth Loc. is the new home of film and TV production in the West Midlands, being developed by Brummie writer and director Steven Knight.
The brand new TV and film studios will accompany re-purposed existing buildings which will preserve the spirit and character of an area blessed with stunning Victorian architecture.
The arrival of MasterChef as the first flag to be planted in Digbeth soil is indicative of the global ambition of this exciting new project.
Knight has also revealed the site will be home to the production of a film version of hit BBC show Peaky Blinders, expected to begin filming once the last and final series of the period crime drama comes to an end later this year.