Construction is underway for ‘The Tea Factory,’ the BBC’s future landmark home, marking the commencement of a transformative period for production and creative industries in the Midlands.

The BBC’s commitment to the region includes the production of the new SAS: Catching the Criminals with Billy Billingham for BBC One, set to be crafted in Birmingham. Additionally, 24 entry-level traineeships are being offered to nurture future production talent in the Midlands.

MasterChef, produced by Shine TV (part of Banijay UK), will commence production in the nearby Digbeth Loc. Studios from Autumn 2024, generating 130 new roles and delivering 65 hours of primetime TV from the city.

Spun Gold TV is making a move to Birmingham, bringing the BBC daytime hit Garden Rescue with them. The relocation of various productions is expected to contribute significantly to the local economy, with current data showing BBC services in the West Midlands generating an estimated £305 million annually.

The 100-year-old unused industrial building, undergoing a spectacular transformation, will become the BBC’s greenest building. Developed by Stoford, the site in Digbeth will emerge as a state-of-the-art broadcasting center in one of the country’s most promising creative districts.

The BBC’s move serves as a catalyst in the masterplan to rejuvenate Digbeth, paving the way for other developments. A new commission for BBC One Daytime and iPlayer will be produced from Double Act’s regional hub in Birmingham, featuring the ex-SAS leader Billy Billingham in the series SAS: Catching the Criminals.

The relocation of independent production companies, including Spun Gold TV, from London to Digbeth, reinforces Birmingham as Banijay UK’s largest production base outside of London.

Digbeth Loc. Studios, a flagship location for premier film and TV production, will host the BBC’s flagship food entertainment show, MasterChef, from Autumn 2024. This move is expected to bring 130 new jobs to Birmingham, making it a significant production hub for Banijay UK.

To support the relocation and boost talent, the BBC is collaborating with BBC Studios, Tiger Aspect, and WMCA/Create Central in the West Midlands, offering 24 new entry-level opportunities for future TV production talent in the region.

The BBC’s investment is not limited to production; it extends to drama with BBC Studios productions like Sister Boniface Mysteries, Father Brown, and Silent Witness relocating to the region. Additional scripted commissions include Steven Knight’s This Town, Guz Khan’s hit comedy Man Like Mobeen, and Phoenix Rise, produced in Coventry.

The initiative aims to future-proof the commitment to the region by providing opportunities for talent and skills development. Collaborations with BBC Writers and Create Central will launch a scheme called Write Across Birmingham and the Black Country, supporting aspiring writers in 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.”

In 2021, as part of the BBC’s Across the UK strategy, the BBC signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Create Central and the West Midlands Combined Authority. Since then, various BBC shows have relocated to the area, boosting employment and economic contribution.

The Tea Factory, expected to be completed in 2027, will be a cutting-edge centre supporting the corporation’s net zero commitments. The development is led by Stoford developers, planning to deliver additional residential, office, and hospitality accommodation in the surrounding area.

The BBC’s investment is not just in bricks and mortar but also in the growth and prosperity of the Midlands’ creative landscape, promising a brighter future for the region.