The Black Takeover (w/t) is an ambitious day of programming for Autumn 2021 which will see Channel 4’s entire programming schedule fronted by Black talent as part of the Channel’s ongoing commitment to improve Black representation both on and off screen.
To ensure that the project drives significant and sustainable change within the industry, Channel 4 is working with The Sir Lenny Henry Centre for Media Diversity to help shape meaningful off-screen commitments to ensure the day leaves a lasting legacy.
The day’s programming will reimagine some of Channel 4’s biggest flagship shows including Celebrity Gogglebox, Countdown and the Channel 4 News with an all-Black presenting and reporting team. Hollyoaks will be an hour-long special written, directed and performed by its Black talent and Mo Gilligan will front a one off special of The Big Breakfast.
Crucially, The Takeover will also launch a series of new commissions including original scripted comedy led by Black talent; a returnable unscripted prime-time popular factual series providing an authentic look at Black lives and a provocative, live late-night topical discussion show.
As part of the day of programming we have committed to launching a new 4 part 10pm unscripted series that reflects Black British life. We are totally open to what shape this series takes, it could be reality, docusoap, a new format, constructed, provocative in form and tone or of course broad factual entertainment.
The series should be relatable and absolutely authentic in its portrayal of Black lives and the ambition is for this to be something we can grow so it should ideally be returnable rather than a one off.
This is a great opportunity in a space no other broadcaster is currently working so what do you think Channel 4, born risky, the home of underrepresented groups should be doing in this space?
LATE NIGHT TOPICAL LIVE SHOW
We are looking for a bold, provocative new live topical show as part of The Takeover to TX at 11pm. We want to hear ideas for a new late night programme that will feel totally of the moment, disruptive, challenging and full of Channel 4 attitude.
Combining the unfiltered, unpredictable energy of After Dark with the attitude of Channel 4’s best-loved live topical and entertainment shows. We want to be immersed in the most interesting arguments of the day but also to tackle the arguments about race and representation which the Takeover seeks to address.
We want the programme to feel dynamic and provocative in the best traditions of Channel 4 - but don’t want it to feel like we’re just chasing clickbait. It should feel challenging, surprising, entertaining and intelligent. We want to hear how your live late night topical show will come crashing into a new age, pushing the genre on.
We are keen to hear ideas involving the most exciting talents around - from the established to the new. Please think broadly about people who would really bring an audience and create a buzz. They may well not be from TV, but instead from politics or film, journalism or music. But they must have a point of view and be compelling and charismatic enough to add a tone and flavour to the show that feels C4 and makes you want to watch.
Talent names should be attached to submissions - with interest secured if possible.
Interactivity is important – but it should flow naturally from the way the show is designed.
We want to explore what could be done with the look and layout to deliver a show that’s energetic and visually stimulating. We’re also keen to know whether you want to include VTs – and what these would be like. And what would you do that would create a buzz around the show and work across all platforms, not just within the live linear show.
We’re on the hunt for original scripted comedy ideas that come from, celebrate and support Black talent front and centre.
The industry is speaking about race and diversity with a passion that is vital, demanding, timely and exciting and some key themes have emerged in the discourse.
- On-screen, representation of Black British life and experience is lacking.
- Off-screen, we have an industry wide problem that talent from BAME backgrounds aren’t getting enough experience and support to progress in the industry.
We want funny, ambitious ideas that take these issues to heart, using them to help shape the pitches we receive. There will be lots of routes to making this happen, so we’re open to collaborative, imaginative conversations from indies big and small about how best to do this together.
In terms of what type of show, the wider C4 Comedy brief is simple: We want sitcoms that reflect the UK back at itself. Broad, clever, returnable shows, full of memorable characters that help us feel connected to each other. Think about what we make and how that makes us distinctive. Writer performers have a long and successful legacy with us (Catastrophe, Stath Lets Flats, Chewing Gum, This Way Up, Maxxx, Feel Good) but writer led projects that celebrate a specific take on the universal are also a big win for us. (Derry Girls, Friday Night Dinner) The sweet spot for C4 comedy? Surprising, truly original and bloody funny!
A real gap for us is new family sit-coms. Derry Girls and Friday Night Dinner are two of our biggest shows – instantly recognisable characters, high gag count, multi-generational and covering universal themes of family and relationships. So we’re especially keen to hear ideas in this territory from writers new and established. Ideas will dictate what path development takes.
Process for Submissions:
NEW SUBMISSIONS ARE NOW CLOSED FOR THE LIVE TOPICAL SHOW.
NEW SUBMISSIONS ARE NOW CLOSED FOR THE COMEDY BRIEF.
10pm unscripted ideas can be pitched to any commissioning editor in any unscripted department.
All commissions will need to be ready to TX by September 2021. In light of the ever changing restrictions caused by the pandemic, proposal documents should include an outline of how your production can be produced Covid safe.
We want to know how under-represented voices, groups and topics will be involved in your programme on and off screen given the aims of the the Takeover project.
We particularly welcome pitches from production companies where the main shareholders, the leading decision-makers or the creative leaders comprise those from a Black, Asian and minority ethnic background.
The deadline for submissions for the Unscripted 10pm idea is midday Wednesday 27th January 2021.
By the very nature of this process, Channel 4 may receive different pieces of work from different producers which resemble each other and in some cases similar or identical ideas may be generated independently.
By taking part in this process, you are confirming that the idea submitted will be original, owned by you and free of third party rights.