Channel 4 commissions new slate of history singles

Channel 4 today announces a slate of forthcoming single history films for the winter schedule and 2012.

The one-off films include: Our Holocaust which records the experiences of the last generation of British survivors of the genocide, made by the multi-award winning director Daisy Asquith; Victoria and Abdul - about how Queen Victoria's friendship with her Indian servant Abdul Karim threatened to throw the first Royal Diamond Jubilee into chaos; Britain's Wicca Man which explores the cult invented in the 1950s by eccentric Brit Gerald Gardner and The Archbishop who brought down a King, a compelling film about Cosmo Gordon Lang who conspired to bring down King Edward VI11.

Commissioning Editor for History Julia Harrington says: "My door is wide open for more strong single films. They can create real impact and are also a great base from which to build a relationship with indies we haven't worked with before. I particularly love a journalistic scoop - like the cache of never before seen letters in Telesgop's recent Wallis Simpson film."

Our Holocaust (w/t)

Made by the multi-award winning director Daisy Asquith, Our Holocaust (w/t) takes a unique approach to recording the experiences of the last generation of British survivors of the Holocaust.

Made in Daisy's inimitable warm documentary style, the film takes viewers into the homes of a small group of extraordinary survivors, telling their stories with sensitivity, warmth, humour and compassion. Most were still children at the time of the Holocaust, and their experiences have shaped their lives and relationships in often surprising ways.

Dir: Daisy Asquith

Exec producer Morgan Matthews

Prod Co: Minnow Films

Comm Ed: Julia Harrington

Victoria and Abdul (w/t)

This documentary tells the revealing behind-the-scenes story of the first Royal Diamond Jubilee, in 1897 - and how Queen Victoria's friendship with her Muslim Indian servant Abdul Karim threatened to throw the entire event into chaos.

To tx in the year of Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee, the film reveals how Queen Victoria's event was almost hijacked by a scandal that set the Queen at loggerheads with her own family and the Royal Household.

Drawing on documentary evidence, including Victoria's secret Hindustani Journals and the diaries of the Royal Household, the film shows how Abdul Karim became such a close confidante of the Queen that the rest of her Royal Household threatened to resign.

The film provides a fascinating insight into attitudes towards race and Empire in Britain at the turn of the 20th century; and into the behind the scenes machinations of court politics in the Royal Household.

Dir/ Prod: Rob Coldstream

Exec Prod: Denys Blakeway

Prod Co: Blakeway

Britain's Wicca Man (w/t)

Britain's Wicca Man tells the extraordinary story of Britain's fastest growing religious group - Wicca - modern pagan witchcraft - and of its creator, an eccentric Englishman called Gerald Gardner.

Historian and leading expert in Pagan studies, Professor Ronald Hutton, explores Gardner's story and experiences first hand Wicca's growing influence throughout Britain today.

Born of a nudist colony in 1930s Dorset, Wicca rapidly grew from a small new forest coven to a worldwide religion in the space of just 70 years. It's a journey that takes in tales of naked witches casting spells to ward off Hitler, tabloid hysteria about human sacrifices and Gerald Gardner himself appearing on Panorama.

Prod/Dir: Andrew Abbott/ Russell Leven

Exec Prod: Ross Wilson

Prod Co: Matchlight

The Archbishop who brought down a king (w/t)

A revelatory film about the extraordinary Archbishop, Cosmo Gordon Lang, who conspired to bring down King Edward VIII, based on a large archive of unpublished diaries, personal notes and his own secret account of the abdication.

Lang was a bold appointment as Archbishop of Canterbury in 1928 - designed to breathe new life into the Church of England at a time of crisis and decline. Yet his elevation to the heart of the establishment transformed this priest who was once dedicated to helping the poor into a royal sycophant who curried favour with the King.

Lang decided that by aligning the monarchy with the Church of England he could bring religion back into the heart of society but following George V's death he faced an adversary in the ‘playboy prince' Edward - an undeclared atheist who wanted to modernise the royal family - and marry a twice-divorced woman. Behind the scenes, along with Cabinet ministers and media editors, Lang helped launch a campaign for the King's removal. His rigidly moralistic stance contributed to the King's abdication - but it would also prove to be his undoing - as his public criticism of Edward backfired and his campaign to recall the country to religion fell on deaf ears.

Prod/Dir: Louise Wardle

Exec Prod: Denys Blakeway

Prod Co: Blakeway


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