Factual Entertainment

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Channel 4 Factual Entertainment tells us something about the world – but crucially, it’s told 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 2018:

We need both feel-good formats that warm the heart and ideas that provoke with their topline, visual execution and narrative. Our growing 9pm slate is a balance of the two.

With the former, the authenticity of the 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 this year after GBBO. Finding me a Family is about adoption and those children seen as hard to place, filmed on just one day that could change their lives. Coming up, Himalaya High (w/t) follows British white working-class boys who have struggled in the education system as they go to one of India’s top schools. Where to next?

We are also searching for series that feel truly audacious. These should be bold ideas that challenge ours and the viewers’ comfort zones, examining a contemporary issue whilst also being entertaining. These often have a construct in them – such as in the recent My Week as a Muslim which looked at race in Britain. The forthcoming Genderquake (w/t) which takes us into gender-fluidity, bringing together 11 people from across the gender spectrum and Alone at Home (w/t) – which looks at modern parenting by observing sibling groups whose parents have gone away for a long weekend – are also good examples of this. What are the next generation of formats that can twist their subject-matter in a counter-intuitive way?


We are actively looking for big reality plays for the latter end of 2018 and beyond. Whilst we have several projects already in development, we are always open to more: what is the reality show that only Channel 4 could make which is playalong and reflects the world we live in?

Young audiences
We want to entertain 16-34s and reflect their worlds back at them, in new formats that can make noise at 10pm. Upcoming series include The Peng Life (w/t) with the Chicken Connoisseur and A Year to Fall in Love which sees 20 young people uncover the challenges of modern dating as they give themselves a year to find The One, filming themselves throughout. First Impressions (w/t) 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
We are looking for entertaining Features shows that could play on Friday evenings at 8pm in 2018 – tonally, Travel Man and Jamie & Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast have worked well in this slot. At 9 or 10pm, we are seeking returnable, funny television that is shared viewing and has the breadth, accessibility and longevity of Gogglebox. Where else could we go that feels escapist, warm and must-watch?

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 Bear Grylls. We are now looking for the next generation of surprising diverse talent to build shows around. Elijah Quashie, aka internet sensation Chicken Connoisseur, will front a brand new series for us and we are working with Joe Lycett and Alice Levine as well as developing ideas with Aisling Bea, Rob Beckett, Mo Gilligan and Sophie Willan. Who else can we develop to offer a unique take on the world?

Factual Entertainment