Channel 4 has commissioned from Rogan Productions a one-hour fast turnaround film that will go out on Tuesday 15th March: What if Putin goes Nuclear? The channel is seeing a dramatic rise in viewers coming to its news coverage and has launched a dedicated Conflict in Ukraine section on All4.

What if Putin goes Nuclear will see Jon Snow will explore what the threat of nuclear attack might mean now that Putin has announced he has put his strategic nuclear force on high alert. The film will explore the unthinkable: the possible Russian use of nuclear weapons as part of the Ukrainian conflict. Presenter Jon Snow will attempt to unpick why Putin is threatening nuclear escalation, what it means for the conflict in Ukraine and the implications for the UK and the rest of the world.

For further insight and context to the war and the state of Putin’s Russia, All 4 has launched a bespoke ‘Conflict in Ukraine’ section including Channel 4 News’s extended coverage of the invasion, the award-winning Putin: A Russian Spy Story and last year’s The Man Putin Couldn’t Kill about imprisoned opposition politician Alexei Navalny.

What if Putin Goes Nuclear? is directed by Simon Gilchrist. Producers are Hannah Henderson and Teresa Cherfas, with exec producers Sandy Smith and James Rogan

Louisa Compton, Head of News, Current Affairs, Specialist Factual and Sport at Channel 4, says: “Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has led to the threat of something that was thought to be beyond belief: potential nuclear war in Europe. As this devastating conflict unfolds audiences are looking for clarity and probing analysis in current affairs programming. …..We are also pleased to platform All 4 as an invaluable resource for making sense of the on-going conflict.”

The invasion of Ukraine has led to a dramatic rise in numbers of people turning to Channel 4 News’ social media channels and its evening bulletins.

Editor of Channel 4 News Esme Wren said: “This is Channel 4 at its very best. Our journalists are on the front line reporting the reality of what’s happening to people caught in the middle of this terrible situation.

“It’s vital that UK audiences witness the impact of this invasion on the lives of ordinary people but equally important that we bring an understanding of the wider implications this crisis has on the world.”

Channel 4 News’ weekday evening bulletins have seen a dramatic 103% rise in viewers aged 16-34 vs the same time last year, an increase in its total audience of 54% and an 82% increase in viewers aged 16-24*.

Channel 4 News’ content across social media platforms – key to reaching younger audiences – has attracted millions of views across YouTube, Facebook, TikTok and Twitter.

As well as highlighting the devastation caused by Russian bombing, the resistance of the Ukrainian people and the growing refugee crisis as well as interviews with Ukraine’s Deputy Head of the President’s Office Rostyslav Shurma and the country’s Head of Foreign Policy, Ihor Zhovkva.

Louisa Compton, Channel 4’s Head of News and Current Affairs and Specialist Factual and Sport, said: “Reports from Channel 4 News journalists on the ground in Ukraine have brought home the terrible human cost already inflicted by Russia as well as the determination and courage of the Ukrainian people.

“These stories have clearly touched our audiences, particularly younger viewers and it’s at times of crisis like this when the importance of trusted, factually accurate public service broadcasting come to the fore, particularly on social media channels.”

Shocking footage of a Russian armoured vehicle crushing a civilian car with a driver inside on Channel 4 News’ Facebook page has been viewed 8.2 million times.

And the page also showed that people are keen to understand the background to the conflict. A two-minute film entitled “Russia Ukraine invasion – this is how we got here in 160 seconds” – explaining the basics of the invasion has attracted nearly 7.6 million views.


Pippa Considine

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