Factual Entertainment

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Channel 4 Factual Entertainment tells us something about the world – but crucially, in an entertaining way. Our primetime shows have scale and aim to grab viewers with their ambition, whilst engaging them with warmth and humour.
Our department is home to a wide range of award-winning and ground-breaking constructed reality, popular documentaries and entertaining features programming including The Great British Bake Off, Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds, The Island with Bear Grylls, The Undateables, Gogglebox, Child Genius, Travel Man and Naked Attraction.

We have a wide range of exciting new series in production, more of which below – and are now looking ahead to our key priorities for 2019:

8pm
We are looking for warm popular factual propositions that are shared viewing. They will have universal themes, with a lightness of tone - prime examples are The Great British Bake Off, Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds, Child Genius, The Secret Life of 4 Year Olds or Legomasters. What are the new entertaining series with a breadth of subject matter that will bring an audience to this slot?

9pm
We need a range of tonality in our growing 9pm slate – what all our of series have in common is scale.

Firstly, we are searching for audacious ideas that provoke with their topline, visual execution and narrative.

These should be bold propositions that challenge ours and the viewers’ comfort zones, feel epic and examine a contemporary issue whilst also being entertaining. Crucially, these should be ideas that feel like they could only play on Channel 4.

They often have a construct in them whilst cutting to the heart of popular debate – the recent series of The Island with Bear Grylls exploring the wealth gap is a prime example. Recently, we have looked at race in My Week as a Muslim and Genderquake took us into gender-fluidity, bringing together 11 people from across the gender spectrum. In the forthcoming Alone at Home (w/t), we look at modern parenting by observing sibling groups whose parents have gone away for a long weekend and in Bride and Prejudice, we explore issues in relationships – race, gender, class, religion amongst others – in Britain through the prism of the lead up to family weddings. What are the next generation of formats that can twist their subject-matter in a counter-intuitive way – and what territories should we be in?

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As a counterpoint at 9pm, we need formats that warm the heart. Authenticity of subject-matter is key to success, but unlike classic docs, they are cast and produced, albeit with a real lightness of touch. They have purpose and look at key PSB issues, with emotion at their core. The Undateables continues to perform well, and Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds was the channel’s highest rating new series last year after GBBO – it will return this year supersized in a new location. Indian Summer School followed British white working-class boys who have struggled in the education system as they go to one of India’s top schools. Coming up, Flirty Dancing matches people through dance with the tone of a Hollywood musical. Where to next?

What’s more, with GBBO playing until 9.15, we are seeking feel-good series to play straight afterwards that speak to its core audience.

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Young audiences: 10pm and E4
We want to entertain 16-34s and reflect their worlds back at them, in new formats that can make noise at 10pm on Channel 4 or that could work on E4. Upcoming series Sex Tape sees couples film themselves in order to try and fix their relationships and A Year to Fall in Love sees 20 young people uncover the challenges of modern dating as they give themselves a year to find The One, filming themselves throughout. Hello Stranger is a dating show with a twist where a couple at a crossroads will get to meet each other again as strangers after being hypnotised. What other territories should we be looking at next? What is the next stylistic innovation or format twist that can be rolled out and excite a young audience?

Friday nights
At 8pm, we are looking for entertaining Features shows, often but not exclusively with celebrity talent, that are shared viewing and with a clear Channel 4 tone, like Travel Man and Jamie & Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast which have worked well in this slot. Coming up in this vein we have Joe Lycett’s Got Your Back (w/t), a light-hearted talent-led consumer series.

At 9pm, we are actively looking for returnable, funny Fact Ent that has a Channel 4 backbone and the breadth and accessibility of Gogglebox to play when the latter isn’t on. Where else could we go that feels escapist, warm and must-watch?

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New talent
We are proud to work with the fantastic hosts and judges on The Great British Bake Off: Paul, Prue, Sandi and Noel, as well as first-class talent such as Jamie Oliver, Jimmy Doherty, Richard Ayoade, Richard Osman, Anna Richardson and Ashley Banjo. We are also excited to announce a 3-part comedy-polemic with Kathy Burke, w/t Kathy Burke: All Woman about what it means to be a woman, in a world where despite 100 years of women having the vote, there is the gender pay gap and #metoo.

We are now looking for the next generation of surprising diverse talent to build shows around. Elijah Quashie, aka internet sensation Chicken Connoisseur, is fronting Peng Life, a brand new series for us and we are working with Joe Lycett, Aisling Bea, Alice Levine and Mo Gilligan as well as Liam Charles from GBBO. Who else can we develop to offer a unique take on the world?

Factual Entertainment