Channel 4’s Chief Creative Officer, Jay Hunt announced a number of major commissions for the broadcaster including a brand new eight-part comedy drama series from acclaimed writer Paul Abbott, No Offence; the announcement of a new five-year partnership with Cancer Research UK for Stand Up To Cancer; and two powerful factual series tackling social issues – My Last Summer and I Want A Council House (w/t).
Announcing the new commissions, Jay Hunt said: “We are continuing to invest in the sort of innovative and distinctive content that only Channel 4 would bring to screen.
“This year great authorship will be a big theme with dramas Top Boy, Southcliffe, Run and Dates. And I am delighted that as Shameless ends Paul Abbott will be back on 4 with a new jet black comedy drama about cop life, No Offence.
“2012 was a reminder of Channel 4’s power as an agent for social change with our BAFTA award winning Paralympic coverage helping change attitudes to disability. Now we will bring creative flair to bear on subjects as varied as end of life care and the evolution of the welfare state.”
“Last year’s launch of Stand Up to Cancer in the UK exceeded all expectations and showed that we could harness the power of 4 behind a major event that raised millions. Our new five-year partnership with Cancer Research UK is a terrific opportunity to build on that success and raise even more for a great cause.”
The announcement of a new commission from Shameless-creator Paul Abbott follows a year in which Channel 4 has championed distinctive authored work across its genres – from Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror, Guy Hibbert’s spy drama Complicit and Dennis Kelly’s acclaimed Utopia to Leo Maguire’s film on Dogging or Olly Lambert’s Dispatches, Syria: Across the Lines.
Set in a crumbling Victorian cop shop on the wrong side of Manchester, No Offence is a new eight-part comedy drama following a group of bobbies on the front line – wondering what they did to end up here, in this force, on this side of town. Raucous, riotous and razor sharp, No Offence is a new and completely original take on the world of the police procedural.
Channel 4 launched Stand Up To Cancer in the UK in 2012, working alongside Cancer Research UK, and raised over £8m to fund ground breaking cancer research – the most successful first year for any UK commercial TV fundraising event. Following on from this debut and the success of the channel’s coverage of major events from the Paralympics through to The Grand National – Channel 4 has confirmed a new five year partnership with CRUK that will see Stand Up To Cancer on screens again in 2014.
From changing perceptions of disability to confronting prejudice against mental illness, 4 has tackled difficult social issues over the last year – and this commitment to being an agent for social change continues with two major new factual series:
A four-part series, My Last Summer brings together a group of five strangers who are terminally ill and have been told they are dying. The group will meet regularly at a residential manor house in the Cotswolds to help support one another through the final stages of their life while they contemplate the reality of their own death.
Death affects everyone and often in different ways yet it is not a subject we find easy to talk about. Taboos around death can leave us poorly prepared for the loss of those we love and even for our own mortality. My Last Summer will explore society’s emotional, cultural and spiritual attitudes around dying and how we face and cope with death in 21st century Britain.
Filmed over six months in Tower Hamlets and Manchester, with access to the councils’ homeless persons’ unit and lettings teams, new three-part series I Want A Council House (w/t) will step inside the council, onto the estate and into the bedsit to document the reality of life for some of the 1.8 million people living on Britain’s social housing list.
Through these personal stories the series will address the housing headlines and challenge our preconceptions of the way housing is allocated and our view of the deserving and undeserving poor. I Want A Council House (w/t) will also follow the journeys of the families and individuals already on the housing list bidding for homes, the system by which the council decide who should get a property and the decision making process of those who are eventually offered a home.
The new programming was announced at the presentation of 4’s 2012 annual report. It follows a confident start to 2013 in which the Channel 4 portfolio has maintained its share of audience across the first quarter of the year; with record breaking starts to the year for E4, More 4 and Film 4. Continued investment in innovative UK content has yielded a range of critically acclaimed new shows over 2013 so far, from Utopia and My Mad Fat Diary through to Richard III: King in the Car Park and Gogglebox – in addition to the return of hit series such as 24 Hours in A&E and The Undateables and the successful debut of The Grand National on 4.