Construction has started on the BBC’s new Birmingham HQ, The Tea Factory.
Situated in the Digbeth area of the city, The Tea Factory is a 100-year-old industrial building which has been unused for decades and will be transformed into a broadcasting centre by developers Stoford.
The BBC described the move as “a significant catalyst in a masterplan to regenerate Digbeth” enabling other developments to follow.
These include a new commission, SAS: Catching the Criminals, for BBC One Daytime and iPlayer which will be made from indie production company Double Act’s new regional hub in Birmingham.
The BBC is also supporting 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 food entertainment show, MasterChef, made by Shine TV, part of Banijay UK.
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 postproduction facility.
BBC Studios productions Sister Boniface Mysteries, Father Brown and Silent Witness are also relocating later this year. Other upcoming scripted commissions include Steven Knight’s This Town, Guz Khan’s hit comedy Man Like Mobeen and Phoenix Rise which is made in Coventry.
The BBC said it is also providing opportunities to boost talent and skills in the area. 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.
Tim Davie, BBC Director-General, said: “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.”
Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “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.”
Final work on The Tea Factory is expected to be completed in 2027.