GLASGOW is to make a dramatic and credible bid to rival London as Britain's media capital.

Scotland's biggest city has announced it will formally pitch to host a new headquarters of Channel 4, luring chunks of the UK television industry north of the border.

Its leaders believe existing thriving creative industries on the Clyde - not least at BBC Scotland and STV - will act as a magnet for the broadcaster, which is looking for a new second home.

Herald View: Why Channel 4 should tune into case for Glasgow

The leader and deputy leader of Glasgow's city government, Susan Aitken and David McDonald, have already written to Channel 4 executives saying they will make "a viable and persuasive bid, reflecting our standing as one of the most culturally, socially and ethnically diverse city regions within the UK and position as a leading centre for the arts and media".

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But Ms Aitken and Mr McDonald - and their many backers in TV and business- must fend off rival bids expected to come from Cardiff, Birmingham and Manchester, which is effectively already second home of the BBC.

Channel 4 earlier this month said that it would create a second national HQ and two smaller hubs somewhere in the "nations and regions" as part of a broader drive to become less "London-centric". It did so after its owner, the UK Government, last year practically ordered it to shift work out of London.

The new HQ and hubs, it added, will employ 300 people and oversee half of its output, amounting to some £250m of TV commissioning every year.

Herald View: Why Channel 4 should tune into case for Glasgow

Its chief executive Alex Mahon made it clear the broadcaster wanted to both distribute its economic activity beyond London and ensure "people right across the UK are represented on screen and in the make up of our own organisation."

Mr Mahon, whose channel is owned by the state but funded by advertising, will formally announce terms for formal bids next month.

However, Ms Aitken and Mr McDonald have already effectively set out a three-prong pitch in letters to the channel seen by the Herald. Firstly, they aim to tap Channel 4's image of promoting diversity and equality with the chance to move in to a neighbourhood like Govan or the Barras that needs a regeneration lift. Secondly, they want to stress Glasgow's production capacity and talent. And thirdly city leaders are underlining strong connections to Northern Ireland and northern England.

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Glasgow is the only Scottish city likely to bid and will enjoy the support of the Scottish Government - and potentially - those in the UK authorities looking to deliver a big "union dividend" four years after the independence referendum.

Nicola Sturgeon last year spoke of her desire to lure Channel 4 north as the broadcaster and the UK Government first mooted a move. The first minister, was challenged on whether the prospect of independence would deter a Glasgow base.

She said: "I’m fairly confident we’ll still watch television in an independent Scotland. We live in a global age in terms of these things, and while, of course, there are serious issues in your question, I think we need to step back from that.

“These issues are international and global and some of that is probably a bit ridiculous.”

Creative professionals on Friday lined up to back the bid, which comes after the BBC announced a new channel for Scotland.

Writer and Broadcaster Stuart Cosgrove, who launched Channel 4's first offices north of the border, echoed city leaders' take that Glasgow as a good fit for the broadcaster and its alternative image.

He said: "Glasgow is a unique city - bold, innovative and with a heart - in many respects it shares the same values as Channel 4 and is its ideal home."

John McCormick, a former BBC executive who chairs the Screen Sector Leadership Group, said Scottish Government investment in film and TV meant it was "the perfect moment for Channel 4 to build on its long and deep association with Glasgow and Scotland”.

Claire Mundell, founder and creative director of Synchronicity Films, said: "Glasgow’s rich cultural heritage, wide-ranging talent pool and diverse population make it a natural home for an HQ outside London. "Glasgow already has a strong independent production sector ranging across all genres with huge potential for growth, especially in high-end scripted television. With locations to die for, incredible writing talent and experienced creative producers, Glasgow is well poised to contribute to the global boom in tv drama.

"Creativity in general flourishes here in all arenas - film, theatre, music and visual arts, which makes for a stimulating environment in which to live and produce great television."

Herald View: Why Channel 4 should tune into case for Glasgow

Glasgow's bid comes after Birmingham effectively declared itself a frontrunner. The mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, has declared getting Channel 4 a priority. The Conservative has even suggested he is sure his city "will get the nod", sparking a complaint from Liverpool, another potential pitcher, over the integrity of the entire process. 

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