Channel 4 Sales, the broadcaster’s digital-first content partner for brands, is teaming up with Co-op Funeralcare for a social-first branded entertainment series, Celebrity Send Off.

The series was produced by Interstellar who worked with media agency TSL (The Story Lab). The digital content was commissioned by Hanzla MacDonald.Launching today at 6pm across YouTube and going live on social platforms on 10 July, the three-part series sees famous duos take part in a unique experiment to organise a pretend funeral for their celebrity counterpart, with support and advice from the experts of Co-op Funeralcare.

Channel 4 Sales’ Social Branded Entertainment division is the most viewed branded entertainment publisher in the UK on Facebook and YouTube.

Celebrity Send Off is the latest in the broadcaster’s branded entertainment projects this year, which include Philips Shave Club, Skipton Building Society’s Make Your Move and Dairylea’s Tiny Day Trippers.

The couples taking part include Happy Monday’s Shaun Ryder and Bez; Gogglebox’s Marcus Luther and his wife Mica Ven; and Kriss Akabusi and his daughter Shakira Akabusi. After seeing what they could be in store for, the celebrities open-up an honest conversation about how they’d like their funeral to run one day.

Hanzla MacDonald, Digital Development Executive for Youth and Digital at Channel 4 said: “Channel 4 are pioneers in tackling difficult issues and we are proud that Celebrity Send Off is a way of normalising conversations around death and smashing taboos through entertainment. Teaming up with Co-op Funeralcare to create this series allows us to push these barriers further by creating a talking point that lets people open up to their loved ones about their wishes for when they’re no longer here.”

Sophie Lloyd, Creative Solutions Leader at Channel 4 Sales said: “Celebrity Send Off typifies the creative capability of Channel 4 Sales’ new creative solutions team. The show is a concept that is as unique as it is thought-provoking and enables a leading brand to tap into the kind of bold and creative storytelling that Channel 4 is known for.”

Mandip Mann, Head of Client Marketing, Digital & Experience at Co-op Funeralcare, said: “As the UK’s leading funeral provider, we understand how difficult it can be for people to discuss topics related to death and bereavement, particularly with family and friends. And last year, we began our campaign encouraging the nation to talk about things such as your funeral wishes to help give loved one’s peace of mind later.

“That’s why we’re so pleased to be partnering with Channel 4 in creating a content series that builds on the success of that campaign and shows the difficulties people can face when organising a loved one’s funeral without first knowing what they wanted.

“Through this series, we aim to normalise what can often be seen as a taboo topic, using a mix of entertainment to highlight just how much of a difference these conversations can make, as well as inspiring the nation to talk to loved ones about it today.”

In the first episode, Bez takes on the role of arranger for Shaun’s funeral. Bez is proud of the working class roots he and Shaun have shared in Salford which informs his eulogy. Bez also wants to nod to Shaun’s experience with UFOs and Extra-Terrestrial life, which informs the themes of the floral arrangement and wake.

Bez described his experience: “Bit of a weird one this, I didn’t want to think about my best mate dying, but cos I know him so well I actually enjoyed getting creative and thinking of some ideas for his fake funeral that I knew he’d be chuffed with…I got really into it and imagined him looking down (…or up!) and laughing at what I’d organised for him. Some of the stuff I arranged was spot on, and it all went a bit leftfield, like with flowers designed in the shape of a grey UFO. Grey flowers?! Standing next to him when we watched his funeral together on the big screen got me a bit emotional to be honest! Does make you realise though, it’s a good idea to talk to the folk you love whilst you’ve still got them beside you so you can give them the send-off they deserve….and want!”

Shaun added: “Experiencing my own funeral arranged by Bez was a surreal moment to say the least. I always thought I’d have a burial, but Bez thought I’d go for a cremation. However, I loved his ideas. What I had in my own head and seeing what Bez created for me made me appreciate the importance of having open conversations about funeral wishes as it’s not something we really do. Overall, I think Bez did a good job at organising my funeral cos he’s such a good friend and knows me very well.”

Each episode will air on Channel 4’s YouTube channel:


Pippa Considine

Share this story

Share Televisual stories within your social media posts.
Be inclusive: is open access without the need to register.
Anyone and everyone can access this post with minimum fuss.