C4 to transform former mining town for makeover series

LONDON – Channel 4 is embarking on its most challenging makeover series to date, the regeneration of an entire former mining town in Yorkshire to be fronted by 'Grand Designs' presenter Kevin McCloud.

Castleford, a former mining town located 10 miles from Leeds with a population of 40,000, was chosen for the task because of its red brick housing and run-down 1950s council estates.

The town has been proactive in its plight to the local authority to "save the town from decay", which in turn helped them win the project.

David Barrie, project executive for Castleford, said: "In all the places we 'interviewed' we were looking for actual evidence that the towns people had the ability and the conviction to drive the process, and for a town that really needed improvement. We found that here."

The residential and commercial developments will include houses, flats, cafes, bars and restaurants. Four children's play areas are planned, alongside a riverside walk, public open space including a formal square, moorings for boats and angling facilities.

The, as-yet-to-be named, series is currently being made by Talkback Thames, the production company behind Channel 4 hits 'Da Ali G Show' and 'Grand Designs'. Talkback has signed McCloud, the presenter of 'Grand Designs', to front the series.

Channel 4 is investing a sizeable amount of its public service remit into the project, Wakefield district council has invested £6m and the rest of the money will come from private regeneration companies.

The show is currently in production and is due to air in a primetime slot at the end of this year or beginning of next.

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