Construction has now started on the BBC’s future landmark home ‘The Tea Factory’ in Digbeth, Birmingham..

The 100-year-old industrial building – which has been unused for decades – will be “brought back to life in spectacular fashion and become the BBC’s greenest building.”

The development by Stoford will see the site turned into a state of the art broadcasting centre and is part of the BBC’s commitment to relocate more production to the area.

A new commission for BBC One Daytime will be made from Double Act’s new regional hub in Birmingham. Ex-SAS leader Billy Billingham will be following Britain’s elite enforcement teams and police forces up and down the country in 15×30 series SAS: Catching the Criminals.

The BBC is investing to support the relocation of independent production companies including Spun Gold TV who will move out of London to a new Digbeth-based production office bringing BBC Daytime format Garden Rescue with them.

Digbeth Loc. Studios – close to The Tea Factory, is also home to a purpose-built studio currently being constructed to play host to the BBC’s MasterChef, made by Shine TV. MasterChef will begin production from its new Digbeth home from Autumn 2024.

The relocation of the series, with all four of its formats, will bring 130 new jobs to Birmingham and contribute 65 hours of peak time TV from the city. Birmingham will be Banijay’s UK’s largest production base out of London and also includes their scripted partnership with Steven Knight, Kudos Knight, based in Digbeth. Clear Cut have established a new post production facility.

BBC Studios productions, Sister Boniface Mysteries, Father Brown and Silent Witness are relocating later this year. Other upcoming scripted commissions include Steven Knight’s This Town, Guz Khan’s hit comedy Man Like Mobeen and CBBC drama Phoenix Rise which is made in Coventry – “with more to come.”

Working with BBC Studios, Tiger Aspect and WMCA/Create Central in the West Midlands there will be 24 new, entry-level opportunities for future TV production talent in the region.

There are 15 junior drama opportunities with WMCA/Create Central on BBC Studios productions Father Brown and Sister Boniface Mysteries, while five West Midlands based trainees (three of which will be HETV Skills Fund trainees) will be recruited to work on the 28th series of Silent Witness filming in London – the scheme has been designed to pave the way for the title being made in the Midlands. The next series of comedy Man Like Mobeen – which is filmed in and around Birmingham – will also be looking for four trainees after running successful schemes previously.

BBC Writers and Create Central are also joining forces along with other West Midlands’ creative organisations to launch a scheme to launch the next generation of scripted talent from the region. Write Across Birmingham and the Black Country, supported by Sir Lenny Henry and Kit De Waal, will provide up to 12 aspiring writers with insight into writing for TV.

Tim Davie, BBC Director-General, says: “This is a significant step, not just for the BBC, but for invigorating the wider creative industries in the Midlands. We are transforming The Tea Factory into a world-class state of the art production facility which will benefit the region for generations to come.

“Digbeth will deliver world-class programmes, be a centre for excellence and bring investment and new opportunities to one of the most vibrant parts of the country.”

Hayley Valentine, Head of BBC Midlands, says: “Our new home in Digbeth will be an outstanding creative, productive and sustainable space where our teams can come together to do their best work. We are working with partners across the region, creating a new talent pipeline, making great programmes and delivering fantastic services, so we are confident that Digbeth is a future epicentre for TV, film, radio and much more.”

Cllr John Cotton, Leader of Birmingham City Council, says: “The council has worked closely with the BBC, Stoford and The Gooch Estate, providing vital funding through the Enterprise Zone, to get this exciting project to this stage and I’m delighted that building work is now underway. The Tea Factory will further cement Digbeth’s growing reputation as a hub for media and creativity and the rebirth of this historic site will a catalyst for the wider regeneration and development, creating jobs and opportunities for the people of Birmingham.”

Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, says: “Since Tim Davie and I sat down to agree our Memorandum of Understanding back in 2021, the relationship between the BBC and our region has been steadily progressing. This latest announcement marks a major step forward in the wider story of the resurgence of the creative industries in the West Midlands. The Tea Factory has been years in the making and the spades now in the ground will help supercharge the regeneration already underway in Digbeth. I will continue to play my part in ensuring our region’s relationship with the BBC continues to blossom and I look forward to even more investment to come in the months and years ahead.”

Patrick Holland, CEO Banijay UK, says: “Banijay UK has been making shows in Birmingham for a while with Man Like Mobeen, Peaky Blinders and more recently This Town rooted in the city. Bringing MasterChef, one of the biggest entertainment brands on television, to Birmingham and establishing scripted partnership Kudos Knight to bring local talent and stories to the fore, really cements our commitment to the region. Working closely with the BBC and creative partners in the city we are investing in local talent and training and will continue the build our creative pipeline in Birmingham.”


Jon Creamer

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