Speaking at Channel 4's 2013 Upfront event for advertisers and clients, Channel 4's Chief Creative Officer, Jay Hunt today announced new programme commissions for the 2013 Channel 4 schedule.
The new commissions include The Mating Season - a major new season of programming examining modern relationships in Britain and exploring the intricacies involved in forming new human pairings; Bedtime Live, a series which uses interactive technology to tackle the most stressful time of the day for parents across the nation - bedtime ; as well as a comedy strand showcasing new acts, 4Funnies; and new comedy drama for E4, Drifters.
The announcements follow a year in which Channel 4 has successfully launched more new programmes than any other terrestrial broadcaster as part of the on-going creative renewal of the Channel 4 schedules.
Across 2012, 25 of Channel 4's top 30 performing shows have been new titles - including successful new returning series such as The Undateables, Make Bradford British, 999: What's Your Emergency as well as the most talked about drama of the year, Homeland - and Channel 4's acclaimed coverage of the 2012 Paralympic Games.
The Mating Season, overseen by Head of Factual Ralph Lee, will include: Date Night, a brand new documentary series about first dates with an interactive twist - viewers will have the opportunity to date someone they're watching, on the following week's episode.
The season also includes brand new original drama with Dates - written by Bryan Elsley (Skins), a series of witty, touching and honest half hour episodes about two people on a date; The Sex Clinic (w/t), a documentary series following the results of dangerous liaisons, exploring the potential repercussions of sexual relationships; as well as a number of other one-off documentaries by leading film-making talent as well as a report from the flagship current affairs strand Dispatches.
For parents across the nation, putting their kids to bed is one of the most stressful times of the day but help is at hand; through an innovative interactive format, Bedtime Live will share the best practise for parents across the nation and will tap into into how modern Britain is really bringing up its kids.
Channel 4 also announced today a new comedy strand, 4Funnies, showcasing new comedy with thirty minute pilots - and replacing the comedy showcase strand. The pilots will provide an opportunity for talent who have already made a mark within the industry and have series potential; and it also announced the commission of a new comedy drama for E4, Drifters, about three twenty-something young women experiencing their first slice of the real world post University - making terrible decisions, but having a brilliant time doing it.
In the coming months, Channel 4 is launching a hugely varied range of original new drama commissions on the channel including The Fear, a new four-part series starring Peter Mullan as Brighton crime boss Richie Beckett; Utopia, a new six-part enigmatic thriller written by Dennis Kelly centred around The Utopia Experiments, a legendary graphic novel shrouded in mystery; Complicit, a compelling new single film exploring the murky moral compromises that underpin the hidden intelligence war from writer Guy Hibbert; Southcliffe, a four-part drama from award-winning writer Tony Grisoni telling the story of a fictional English market town devastated by a spate of shootings which take place over a single day; and Run, a four-part series which reveals the interconnectedness of apparently separate lives, through the stories of five people faced with impossible choices. And 30 years after Channel 4 broadcast The Snowman, the original team behind the film have produced a new sequel - The Snowman and The Snowdog.
In 2013 Mary Portas returns to Channel 4 with a new series Mary Queen of the High Street as she attempts to rejuvenate ailing British high streets; The Excavation of Richard III follows the extraordinary hunt for the remains of one of the most notorious Kings of England from beneath a council car park in Leicester; childhood friends Jamie Oliver and Jimmy Doherty join together on TV for the first time at the end of this year in an exciting new food series, Jamie and Jimmy's Food Fight Club; Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners follows people who, by their own admission, are obsessed with cleaning as they are matched with someone whose home is in dire need of a spring clean; and in Hilary Devey's Interns (w/t), businesswoman Hilary Devey offers talented, ambitious and deserving candidates the opportunity to break into highly competitive industries by giving them the chance to win an internship with some of the most exciting employers in the UK.
Following the success of the first series, The Undateables returns to follow more people who feel they struggle to find love because of their disability or long-term condition; following on from last year's huge success of Fish Fight, Hugh is back with a brand new series exploring why Britain doesn't do more to preserve marine life; and there's more unprecedented access to one of Britain's busiest A&E departments with the return of 24 Hours in A&E.
Brand new comedies for 2013 include the bitter sweet comedy starring Ricky Gervias as Derek about a group of outsiders living on society's margins; and new sitcom Man Down stars Greg Davies as Dan, a childish idiot trapped in an adult's life.
Over on E4, there's brand new original content with My Mad Fat Diary which takes a hilarious and honest look at teenage life in the 90s from the perspective of sixteen year old Rae; and the witty comedy drama Youngers, set in South East London which follows a pair of aspiring musicians trying to negotiate their way through teenage life whilst trying to break the urban music scene.
On More 4, Yotam Ottolenghi goes on a culinary journey through the sun-soaked Lavant, from the spice markets of Morocco and Tunisia, to the exotic eateries of Istanbul in Ottolenghi's Mediterranean Feast; and 16 Kids and Counting takes a new in-depth look into the lives of Britain's biggest families.
The Mating Season
Announcing The Mating Season, Channel 4's Head of Factual, Ralph Lee says: "This season explores the complexities and nuances of forming relationships in 2013. Dating has profoundly changed over the past 10 years in Britain. The mammoth online dating industry has transformed the art of finding love - there are new rules and new codes of conduct. But at a time when internet dating has made it easier than ever to find dates this season explores why it can seem harder than ever to find your perfect partner."
Date Night (w/t)
(6 x 60 mins) Twenty Twenty Productions, Executive Producer: Meredith Chambers.
Channel 4's Deputy Head of Factual, Nick Mirsky, has commissioned a brand new documentary series about first dates with an interactive twist - viewers will have the opportunity to date someone they're watching, on the following week's episode.
Using a discreet fixed camera-rig within a restaurant/bar, Date Night (w/t) will film singletons who have arranged to meet via a range of internet dating sites as they embark on their first date - in the same location. Every tiny detail will be captured, unmediated, from first impressions to the parting at the end of the night.
If sparks do not fly, unsuccessful daters will be given an opportunity to pitch themselves to the viewers at home who can apply to date them the following week.
Following real people on their quest for love, this documentary series will lay bare the reality of detailed anatomy of a first date - uncovering the very different emotional cores for each date.
The Sex Clinic (w/t)
( 3 x 60 mins, Friel Kean Films, Exec Prod: Michelle Friel Kean
Commissioned by Documentaries Commissioning Editor Emma Cooper, The Sex Clinic (w/t) is a brand new observational series exploring the relationships and personal lives of patients attending sex clinics in London and Birmingham - warts and all. With the number of people visiting sex clinics almost doubling in the last five years, this series will unpick the sexual habits and relationships behind the increase.
Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Trust oversees the UK's busiest sexual health service seeing over 90,000 people a year. The three main clinics include one which sees a large number of under 19s - including children as young as 13 and another, in the heart of Soho, which has a predominantly gay patient group. This clinic offers several outreach clinics including visiting gay saunas and one of Soho's busiest bars G-A-Y once a week for on the spot testing and offers a specialist clinic for people from the transgender community and one for people working in the porn industry.
Whittall Street Birmingham is the UK's second busiest clinics. The 80 strong team welcome through the door 41,000 patients every year. Herpes, Chlamydia, HIV, Gonorrhoea and pregnancy- testing- this team have seen it all. The staff here know only too well how patients are not restricted by age, culture, race or sexual proclivities.
Dates (9 x 30') written by Bryan Elsley (Balloon Entertainment Ltd) - commissioned by Piers Wenger
An original drama series of witty, touching and honest half hour episodes about two people, on a date. Some characters may recur, perhaps going on return dates or having new ones, so the stories gradually start to build around them. Some characters we'll root for, some we'll hate. Dates is about the infinite diversity of people, and the complicated, infuriating, hilarious ways we interact with each other.
(6 x 60 mins) TwoFour
For parents across the nation, putting their kids to bed is one of the most stressful times of the day but help is at hand; through an innovative interactive format, Bedtime Live will share the best practise for parents across the nation.
It's not just about toddlers. A recent poll of one thousand 9 to 11 year olds revealed that the kids themselves knew they were not getting enough sleep and instead preferred to spend more time on their phones, laptops and games consoles. This show will highlight the dangers, expose the extreme cases and provide an open forum for kids and their parents to share best
The series will cover a wide range of topics - from separation anxiety to bedwetting, temper tantrums to teething troubles. Bedtime Live is the one-stop shop for parenting that taps into how modern Britain is really bringing up its kids.