Channel 4 has announced a raft of brand-new shows across all genres at the channel’s Content Showcase in London today.
Chief Content Officer, Ian Katz, unveiled the slate of “purposeful, provocative but never predictable” programming which will get people “thinking, arguing and asking questions about the world in which we live”.
New titles announced include Partygate the True Story (w/t). From Halcyons Heart, the makers of Killed by My Debt. The docudrama takes viewers inside Number 10 as staff partied while the Covid death toll soared and the country diligently observed lockdown restrictions.
Wonderhood Studios is to produce a three-part landmark documentary series, Evacuation, which brings to light the largely untold, inside story of the British military campaign to evacuate Kabul airport in 2021, through testimony from the British servicemen and women who found themselves at the epicentre of an unfolding crisis.
Also announced was Depp V Heard (w/t), from Bitachon365 and Empress Films, a three-part series examining the infamous defamation trial, raising huge questions along the way about violence, gender and the nature of justice in the era of post-truth.
Davina McCall returns to Channel 4 with The Pill (w/t), produced by Fine Stripe, a follow up to her documentaries on the menopause, in which she turns her attention to the state of contraception in the UK, investigating the myths and misconceptions and looking at what choices women in the UK have today.
The Content Showcase also reflected Channel 4’s commitment to young audiences and its shift to a digital-focused commissioning strategy including an update on its recently launched Channel 4.0, a dedicated platform for youth content, which less than five months post launch has acquired 100,000 subscribers and has achieved 25 million views. Plus a 14% year-on-year increase in streaming numbers.
17 series have been commissioned for Channel 4.0 thus far, with over half produced by independent producers who are new to Channel 4, with over 80% of the on-screen talent brand new to Channel 4. Its newest commission is Tapped Out, a brand-new six-part prank series commissioned by Evie Buckley and produced by Wall of Productions, where Nella Rose and friends will turn practical jokers.
Katz also revealed that this summer Channel 4 will tackle one of the biggest global conversations of our time: the climate emergency. With a season of dedicated programming including a three-part series fronted by some of the Channel’s biggest talent, the intention is not to remind audiences of the scale of the problem facing us all, but to spur on government and big business to make tangible changes to fix the problem.
Channel 4 also announced the return of The Windsors, from Noho Film and TV, for a fourth series with Harry Enfield reprising his role as the newly crowned, King Charles III.
While international survival hit Alone – produced by The Garden – lands on Channel 4 with ten contestants dropped into the Canadian wilderness, self-filming their battle against the elements to see who can last the longest.
Adding to the new line-up are a range of new commissions including: Gender Wars; Secrets of the Female Orgasm, from Spun Gold; Andrew: The Problem Prince (w/t); A Paedophile In My Family: Surviving Dad (w/t); Untold – Series 2; Amputating Alice; and Adam Hills: Grow Another Foot; as well as new Channel 4.0 digital series, Tapped Out.
Ian Katz said, “This is a slate of programmes that shows Channel 4 is as disruptive, original and purposeful as it has ever been. From holding politicians to account over partygate to examining the vexed debate over gender identity, from exposing the unspoken side-effects of the pill to seeking solutions to avert climate disaster, these are shows that speak to the concerns of young British viewers and create real world impact.”
CHANNEL 4 CONTENT HIGHLIGHTS FOR 2023
Producer: Halcyons Heart
As the horrors of Covid unfolded – three national lockdowns, PPE, 40,000 care home deaths, socially distanced funerals, a peak of more than 1,000 dead a day by January 2021 – Downing Street staff kicked back at a string of parties lubricated by quantities of alcohol.
From the makers of the BAFTA-winning dramas Killed by my Debt, The Left Behind and Murdered by my Father, this factual drama, based on meticulous research and sources, will tell the real, untold story of partygate, juxtaposing the revelry inside the nation’s seat of power with the hardship and sacrifice being experienced across the rest of the country.
Producer: The Garden
The first UK series of international hit Alone – TV’s most extreme and uncompromising survival experiment – comes to Channel 4. The six-part series sees 10 contestants dropped into the remote Northern Canadian wilderness, where each must survive entirely alone. Equipped with only a handful of basic tools, they must film their adventure themselves as they battle the elements, loneliness and wild animals including bears, moose, and wolverines, in a trial of skill, mental strength and resilience. Whoever lasts longest will win £100,000.
DEPP V HEARD (w/t)
Producer: Bitachon365, Empress Films
This three-part documentary series is the first in-depth look at the defamation trial of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard, which went viral and captured the public’s interest in a way rarely seen before.
The trial of Depp v Heard, in which both parties accused each other of domestic abuse, was a global media event and dubbed “the first TikTok trial”. It raised huge questions about violence, gender and the memeifcation of justice in the era of post-truth.
The series, made by Bitachon365 and co-producer Empress Films, places Depp and Heard’s testimonies side by side for the first time, bringing together courtroom footage, news sources, existing interview footage and User Generated Content from various social media platforms to explore some of the extraordinary moments of the trial and the impact this had on public opinion at the time.
From BAFTA-nominated series director Emma Cooper, these films aim to be an incisive needle into the vein of what society and popular culture is in the 2020s.
THE PILL (w/t)
Producer: Fine Stripe
There’s a revolution going on in contraception. The pill was a game changer but now, over 60 years after it was introduced, women are turning their backs on putting synthetic hormones into their bodies. Oral contraception use has more than halved, while natural family planning methods have nearly tripled in the last 10 years. On social media, women are speaking out about side effects they’ve put up with for years and saying enough is enough.
Following her hugely successful documentaries on the menopause, Davina McCall is now turning her attention to the state of contraception in the UK and the struggle women face to access it. Concerned about the contraception choices that are available to her daughters and their friends, Davina investigates what is really happening. She reveals the results of a Channel 4 survey, which asked over 4,000 people about the effects of contraception on their mental and physical health, and how easy it is to find the right information and solutions. She investigates the myths and misconceptions that surround contraception and asks – are we doing enough to give women the care they need?
Producer: Wonderhood Studios
Evacuation tells the untold, inside story of the British military campaign to evacuate Kabul airport in 2021, through raw, intimate, never-heard-before testimony from the British servicemen and women who found themselves at the epicentre of an unfolding crisis as the Taliban closed in.
Channel 4 has commissioned Wonderhood Studios to produce a three-part landmark documentary series. With top-to-toe access to the British military, and never-seen-before MOD footage shot by combat camera teams and personal footage, Evacuation reveals how Operation Pitting became Britain’s biggest airlift since WW2 and an incredibly complex and perilous military operation.
This series goes beyond the headlines and parliamentary debates of the time, focusing instead on the personal stories of the British servicemen and women who found themselves dealing with a humanitarian crisis on a scale they’d never experienced before. Some 15,000 British nationals and eligible Afghans were flown out in a matter of days, but the human dilemmas on the ground for the armed forces sent to extract them play out like drama in this gripping series.
THE CLIMATE EMERGENCY SEASON (w/t)
In a season of provocative programming, Channel 4 tackles one of the biggest questions of our age: How can we stop climate change? Some of the channel’s most recognisable faces will kickstart real change, by identifying the practical steps that governments and big business can take to eliminate our carbon emissions.
THE WINDSORS – SERIES 4
Producer: Noho Film and TV
With Charles now on the throne, he can finally be the sort of hands-on King he always dreamt of being. It starts with him extending the half hour Audience with the PM to an all-afternoon brainstorming session, and quickly escalates to him demanding a place in the cabinet. But is a resurgent monarchy exactly what a politically divided nation wants? Or will he end up going the same way as Charles I?
Meanwhile Wills’ investiture as Prince of Wales is thrown off course when he has a bromance with an ardent Welsh nationalist. Meghan and Harry save the day when New Zealand threaten to pull out of the Commonwealth. And Beatrice and Eugenie travel back in time and by mistake change the order of succession.
SECRETS OF THE FEMALE ORGASM
Producer: Spun Gold
Yewande Biala is a biochemist and author with two degrees and is a former Love Island contestant. She’s articulate, charismatic and outwardly confident. But like as many as one in eight women, she’s missing one big thing in her life –being able to orgasm.
Brought up in a strict Catholic family, she struggled with anxiety and shame about sex and she didn’t find out that women could have orgasms until she was 19 or 20. In this one-off film, Secrets of the Female Orgasm, Biala meets other women, scientists and therapists to hear their stories, research and advice. Biala will attempt to learn everything there is to know about the complexity of the female orgasm in a bid to experience one herself for the first time.
ROSIE JONES: AM I A RETARD?
Celebrated comedian Rosie Jones spends her days bringing smiles and laughter to her audiences on screen and on tour. But ever since her first appearance on television, she’s kept a dark and upsetting side of her life in the spotlight private – she is trolled online, daily, and with horrific ferocity, even receiving rape and death threats because of her disability.
In this unflinchingly personal film, Rosie, who has cerebral palsy, sets out to try to understand how prevalent disability trolling is in the UK, and why it’s often left completely unchecked. She sets herself the challenge of confronting a troll directly, as well as exploring the role social media has to play in the rise of this abuse. Rosie wants everyone in the UK to be made aware of ableism and to stand up to it when they see it. The film is a call to arms for all of us to play our part in ending the suffering of those who are abused simply because of their disability.
A full list of content revealed at today’s content showcase can be found below:
Partygate (w/t), Depp V Heard (w/t), Evacuation, Andrew: The Problem Prince (w/t) Frankie Boyle’s Farewell to the Monarchy, A Paedophile In My Family: Surviving Dad (w/t), Gender Wars, The Pill, Untold – Series 2, Amputating Alice and Adam Hills: Grow Another Foot.
The Change, The Curse (series 2) and The Windsors Coronation Special + The Windsors Series 4
The Climate Emergency Season (w/t), Secrets of the Female Orgasm, No Strings Attached (w/t), Open House: The Great Sex Experiment (series 2), Alone and Boris.
Wonders of the World I Can’t See and Rosie Jones: Am I A Retard?
DAYTIME AND FEATURES
The Unique Boutique and Love My Face
Alan Must Win (w/t)
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