Entertainment and Events

In Entertainment, we commission award-winning, channel defining unscripted content across Channel 4, E4 and All4, working with an array of new and established talent both on and off screen. Our growing slate covers everything from the live spectacular of Stand Up To Cancer, to the award-winning topical satire of The Last Leg, the unique mix of consumer and comedy in Joe Lycett’s Got Your Back and gold standard comedy entertainment like Taskmaster, Cats Does Countdown and The Lateish Show with Mo Gilligan.

Entertainment and Events: 2021 / 2022

In 2021 and 2022 we’re on the hunt for big entertainment and comedy entertainment brands to help grow our existing talent and launch new names. We want to hear ideas with scale, ambition and humour that can bring big broad linear and All4 audiences. This page details our areas of focus for the next 12 months and the contact details of the team for submitting your ideas.

 

Submission Process

When sending in submissions to any Commissioning Editor in the department, please ensure you always copy Alex Bootherstone (ABootherstone@channel4.co.uk).

Ideas MUST be submitted via a production company; Channel 4 cannot accept unsolicited material from members of the public.

SU2C

Piloting Opportunities 2021

We are looking at three key areas to pilot new content (both TX and non-TX). They are:

  1. Panel Shows (Non-TX)
  2. Christmas Specials (TX)
  3. Social Pilots (TX on social)

This approach allows us to work with a greater range of suppliers in a more efficient way. Here is what we’re looking for:

    1. Panel Shows (Non-TX)

    This Autumn we’re funding another series of smart pilots - non-TX testers designed to be slicker than an office run-through but cheaper and simpler than a traditional full pilot. We’ve hired regional studio space directly, along with all the technical elements and studio crew; all we need are your ideas. 

    We’re looking for primetime panel formats that could sit confidently alongside our existing slate.  Shows like Taskmaster and Shooting Stars redefined this genre, and we’d love to hear innovative new ideas with the same scale, imagination and wit that do more than sit two teams behind buzzers with a host in the middle. 

    Ideas should be joyful, clever and funny with a clear top line, and while they might be built around big names, they have to offer a showcase for new and unusual talent to shine, especially female and diverse talent. Any format should be designed to draw out character from our cast as well as comedy.

    And they need to drive viewers to All4 too, so think about what makes it a comedy ents show that people will seek out at their leisure, stick with and return to, whether that’s a returning cast, a series long competition or brilliant built-in VT that can drive online viewing.

    We are not looking for:

    • Topical shows
    • Satirical panel shows
    • Quick fire gag competitions

    We’re aiming to record these in Autumn 2021, the deadline for submissions is Friday May 14th with successful ideas being shortlisted thereafter.

     

     

    2. Christmas (TX)

    As an ongoing brief, we are looking for ideas that use Christmas as a springboard to pilot new formats which could be supersized into a series (like we did with One Night in Hamleys in 2020).  Surprising big-name talent, especially comedy voices are a good way to tempt viewers in. 

    Comedy is at the heart of what we want, but ideas don’t have to be big studio shows – is there something more innovative we could do with our comic talent?  We already have “reviews of the year’ with The Last Leg NYE and Big Fat Quiz, but we would be open to something more satirical and to trialling new faces in this space.  And finally, is there something big, noisy, and audacious - a schedule stopping stunt for example - that could be a returner each Christmas?

    We are not looking for:

    • Chat, travelogue or quiz Ideas
    • List shows
    • Music

     

    3. Short form social pilots

    Like last year we want to use our 2021/22 development pot more effectively by piloting a set of short form digital formats on social. These pieces should be self-contained while also offering a neat way of testing new formats. They’ll be produced to sit online and socially, but with a clear eye on how they could expand to make the leap to long form or linear.

    What do we want?

    • The format must feel scalable and developed with linear/longform in mind; think about how this would work from the outset.
    • Short-form, shareable ideas with clear and definitive format beats.
    • A simple top line with a real-world premise. 
    • They can be led by new talent or contributors but the casting, setting and subject matter must feel authentic
    • We want them to be original and experimental but please don’t make them cruel; audiences really respond to warmth.
    • They should be young skewing, aimed at a core demo of 18-24.
    • Each piece should be able to serve a range of platforms; Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook each have slightly different lengths and formats – we can help guide you here.

    9PM Blockbuster Reality

    Channel 4 has always been an innovator in reality: home to the most daring, funny and genre defining shows, from the original Big Brother via bonkers social experiments like Shattered, to the octane-fuelled adventure of The Island or Hunted and the high concept of The Circle.

    We are looking for a big, bold, reality show with a provocative top line idea at its heart. It will probably be a formatted show with eliminations, winners and losers; we’re not after open ended social experiments.  What reality precinct can we drop a celebrity cast into that feels truly original and untapped? The Jump sent celebs to the Alps to try and master winter sports; where else could we take them and what could we challenge them to do that will create similar must-see moments? While we’d like a competitive structure, we don’t just want challenges; the show must deliver layered narratives, must-watch dramatic moments and surprising comedy.

    Ideas should be broad and appeal to both linear and All4 audiences and while we feel that a celebrity cast will help to achieve this, we are also open to ideas with compelling civilian casts at their heart.

    Ideas here will be funded by the Global Format Fund, the submission deadline is 11 June 2021. Further details will be shared soon.

    10PM Comedy Entertainment

      

    Comedy Ent Hybrid

    We know from shows like Friday Night Dinner and The Last Leg that both scripted and unscripted comedy can work at 10pm on Friday.  We are on the hunt for broad, young skewing shows with comedy or humour at their heart that can play here while also feeling like a treat on All4.

    We’re particularly interested in ideas that blend elements of scripted comedy with unscripted entertainment, to tell stories in fresh ways that appeal to a comedy loving audience. Much as Star Stories did, fusing comedy and celebrity biography in a way that felt fresh, broad and confident.

    Please avoid anything too topical; we’re looking for universal themes that reflect the zeitgeist, but we’re not after Spitting Image.  Feel free to play with form; it could be hidden camera, it could have a real world setting or a mix of the two, in studio or out.  Or of course it could be something completely different. 

     

    Satire

    We would love to land a new take on satire that also has a long online shelf life; this means less slavishly topical and more focussed on popular culture; perhaps a format that covers big, broad issues with universal themes.

    We really want to hear from voices across the political spectrum. How do we best reflect the diversity of thought in Britain whilst still speaking truth to power in a way that feels uniquely Channel 4?

     

    Modern Nostalgia

    What entertainment formats could help some viewers relive a special slice of history or a introduce a younger audience to a particular story or moment for the first time?  Or perhaps even do both?

    How can we tap into these areas for comedy and drama? This doesn’t need to be a studio or a list show; we are open minded about approach and we’d love you to be imaginative with the form. Remember what an innovative blast ‘Bring Back’ was at the time, turning nostalgia from celebrity talking heads into a heist movie.

     

    Talent

    With all these areas, talent is key in setting tone and expectation. Trusted and familiar voices are still essential to bring in an audience, but the right format can offer a fresh way of using existing talent and give a creative leg-up to newer voices.

    Across each of these briefs we are especially excited to hear thoughts built around a distinct female voice, we are also open to hear about female gang shows.

    Events

    Ambitious event television has always been a key part of the C4 entertainment landscape as demonstrated by this year’s Stand Up To Cancer telethon and the forthcoming National Comedy Awards with Stand up to Cancer.

    Event TV is at its best when it reflects the times we’re living in – so think about which real world themes, landmarks, events or unrepresented voices we could amplify with the might of Channel 4. Think also about which commercial and/ or charity partner could help make it happen. Attitude and humour must be baked into any pitch, so please also think about which talent can sit at the heart of your idea to provide this.

    E4

    We have two areas of focus for E4

    Comedy/ Reality - Out of the Studio

    We would like to mix the worlds of reality and comedy with a broad and authentic unscripted, comedy ent format that happens away from the studio.  We are interested in simple and funny top lines as well as access to new and interesting subcultures, people and places. We are open to travel, but please don’t bring us soft travelogues.

    Ideas could be built round an established name going on a lightly formatted but authentic personal journey, or a gang of up and coming funny people out in the real world; in either case ideas must be returnable with both episodic and series arc narratives.

     

    E4 Competition Formats

    We want to create a young skewing and celebratory competition show that gets the nation rooting for the contestants across both E4 and All4. 

    How can the series show off enviable talents in a super fun, colourful and entertaining way, while still overflowing with competitive and driven characters?  We’d love to hear about competitions based in unexplored or alternative territories and are open to embracing heavy formatting. The subject of expertise probably shouldn’t be too obviously young skewing, unless it has a novel twist; we want this series to attract intrigue and attention on a large scale.

    Head of Entertainment: Phil Harris

    based in London

    ASSISTANT: Alex Bootherstone

    pharris@channel4.co.uk

    Head of Live Events and Commissioning Editor, Entertainment: Tom Beck

    based in London

    GENRE ASSISTANT: John Cannon

    tbeck@channel4.co.uk

    Commissioning Editor, Entertainment and TV Events: Steven Handley

    based in London

    GENRE ASSISTANT: Alex Bootherstone

    shandley@channel4.co.uk

    Commissioning Editor, Entertainment: Jonny Rothery

    based in London

    GENRE ASSISTANT: Alex Bootherstone

    jrothery@channel4.co.uk

    Commissioning Editor, Entertainment: Cimran Shah

    based in London

    GENRE ASSISTANT: Alex Bootherstone

    cshah@channel4.co.uk

    Commissioning Editor (Temporary): Genna Gibson

    based in London

    GENRE ASSISTANT: Alex Bootherstone

    ggibson@channel4.co.uk

    Commissioning Executive, TV Events and Sport: Antonia Howard Taylor

    based in London

    GENRE ASSISTANT: John Cannon

    ahoward-taylor@channel4.co.uk

    Assistant Editor, Entertainment and TV Events: Katie Buckley

    based in London

    CONTACT: 020 7306 5591

    kbuckley@channel4.co.uk

    Project Coordinator, Live Events and Paralympics: Maddie Ireland

    based in London

    CONTACT: 020 7306 8282

    mireland@channel4.co.uk

    Genre Assistant, Entertainment and Live Events: John Cannon

    Based in Glasgow

    CONTACT: 0141 483 4106

    jcannon@channel4.co.uk

    Genre Assistant, Entertainment and Live Event: Alex Bootherstone

    Based in London

    abootherstone@channel4.co.uk