Channel 4 was born different. It has pioneered diverse, experimental and challenging programming since 1982, 40 years of pushing boundaries in every genre. It has forever been on a mission to make mischief and noise and dares to tell the truth about modern Britain and how we live.
To mark this important milestone, an impressive roster of programming has been commissioned that speaks to its radical, irreverent and iconoclastic roots.
Each of these new shows in the Truth and Dare season are set to do what Channel 4 was created for: to give voice to the unheard, say the unsayable and show the unseen. Each connect with the Channel’s core values, and vividly reflect its purpose in 2022.
The iconic season includes a scabrously funny satirical musical about Prince Andrew, a provocative exploration of cancel culture in art, and a revival of Friday Night Live, the much-loved Channel 4 show that made household names of Ben Elton, French and Saunders, Julian Clary, Fry and Laurie and Jo Brand.
It also includes The ‘80s: The Future is Now (w/t), a revealing documentary series that charts the role of Britain in shaping much about our modern world during the 80’s, the decade that saw the birth of Channel 4. It also features Too Large for Love (w/t), a documentary that follows the experiences of the hidden minority of men who have extra-large penises. And Afghan Porn star, the remarkable story of a young Afghan woman who escaped first Afghanistan and then her UK-based family, finding liberation in a successful career in the porn industry.
Additionally in Frankie Boyle: Monarchy, Frankie turns his wry eye to the state of the British monarchy and its future, by looking back at its 1,000 year history. And in Art Trouble (w/t) Jimmy Carr will present an arts event like no other that will include stunts, surprises and special guests.
The Channel will also air What is a Woman? (w/t). At the very moment that free speech is at the top of the news agenda, after the attack on Salman Rushdie, this one-off documentary will test the limits of free speech in the UK today by getting to the heart of what has become a highly controversial debate - what is a woman?
Ian Katz said: “From musical satire about Prince Andrew to an exploration of cancel culture in art via men with very large penises, this season shows that Channel 4 is still as mischievous, disruptive and distinctive as when it was born 40 years ago. Instead of a nostalgia-thon of highlights from the last four decades, we are celebrating with a collection of irreverent, thought-provoking and hugely entertaining shows that no other broadcaster would air. If we must age, we plan to do it disgracefully.”
Art Trouble (w/t)
Jimmy Carr presents an arts event like no other. A profoundly provocative exploration of the limits of free expression in art, and whether we can separate the moral calibre of the artist from the value of their work. Combining stunts, surprises and special guests with a public experiment conducted by well-known artists across Britain, Art Trouble celebrates C4’s disruptive roots by exploring the boundary between controversial art and freedom of expression. What we should do with historic art we find offensive or has been created by artists who are now cancelled? In the post-Colston age, should problematic art be displayed in public spaces? Should it be traded for profit? Who decides?
Production Company: ClearStory
Executive Producer: Russell Barnes
Showrunner: Anna Blue
Commissioners: Shaminder Nahal & Tom Beck
Frankie Boyle: Monarchy
Comedian Frankie Boyle turns his wry eye to the state of the British monarchy and its future, by looking back at its 1,000 year history. As he discovers the qualities of our most infamous child-murdering, wife-beheading, empire-building, nation-destroying monarchs and how they’ve shaped our royals – and our country – today, he wonders will the monarchy soon be put out of its misery as it slips gently away under the soft pillow of our collective apathy? Do the Royal Family have any place in the modern world?
1 x 75 min
Two Rivers Media
Producer/Director: Ross Wilson
Exec: Alan Clements
Commissioning Editor: Anna Miralis
Too Large for Love (w/t)
A documentary that follows the experiences of the hidden minority of men who have an extra-large penis. Research has revealed that almost half of all men wished they had a larger penis, driven by its historic association with virility and masculinity. But while it’s an object of desire for many, some of those men who do have an extra-large penis find it seriously complicates their private and love lives - from the embarrassment of people gawping in changing rooms to condoms which don’t fit properly, uncomfortable sex and even causing injuries to their partners. The film will feature men who are very proud of their size but also those whose extra-large penises are ruining their lives and their relationships and explores the options they face – including learning to live with their bodies or seeking a more radical answer – penis reduction surgery.
1 x60 min
Spun Gold TV Production
Exec: Anna Edwinson
Commissioner: Adam Vandermark
The Return Of Friday Night Live
Hosted by Ben Elton, the legendary comedy show ran from 1985 to 1988 and launched a plethora of world-class comedy talent including Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie, Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders, Harry Enfield, Lee Evans, Jo Brand and Julian Clary. Now, for one night only, Ben is back as ringmaster to unite the hottest new wave stand-ups and character comedians alongside some original show legends in a dangerously live night of comedy.
1 x 90 min
Boffola Pictures / Phil McIntyre Television
Exec Producers: Shane Allen and Lucy Ansbro
Commissioned for Channel 4 by Tom Beck, Head of Live Events and Phil Harris, Head of Entertainment
The ‘80s: The Future is Now (w/t)
A story of ‘80s Britain told in a new way: how a cocktail of politics, culture and technology – along with some extraordinary personalities - reshaped the nation and arguably, the world. But it’s not simply about the past; the series will serve as a prism for looking at the our present - a letter to the future showing how sometimes as a nation, when we are our most divided, we are also at our most brilliant. This eye-opening account of the 1980s will explore how - in a decade of division and conflict - Britain reinvented herself through radical politics, ferocious culture wars and futuristic technology. And by doing so, laid the foundations for the world we live in today.
The three episodes will range across how the threat of nuclear Armageddon dominated politics and seeped into the nation’s psyche; how popular culture brought about change by stealth in an atmosphere of moral panic; and how Thatcher’s Britain replaced coal with computers to pioneer some of technology’s biggest innovations.
Exec Producer: James Rogan
Series Director: Simon Gilchrist
Commissioner: Shaminder Nahal
Afghan Porn Star
28-year-old Khadija Patman, is better known as Yasmeena Ali, a top Afghanistan p**nstar, with millions of viewers on P**nhub and legions of fans across OnlyFans, Instagram and Twitter. She makes tens of thousands of pounds a month. Her life has been laced with drama from fleeing the Taliban, escaping an arranged marriage and foiling an alleged murder plot by her father and uncle. She has defied all the odds to pursue a career deemed by many in her culture as abhorrent. Yasmeena thought running away from a potential arranged marriage would help her. She had no idea the impact this would have on her personal safety. Now she is ready to share her raw and emotive story that spans the globe. It will unravel family secrets, community, religion and domestic abuse. It will also discuss the role of women in society, friendship and sex work. At its heart is one woman’s fight for independence.
1 x 75 min
Exec Producer: Caroline Short
Commissioner: Anna Miralis
What is a Woman? (w/t)
At the very moment that free speech is at the top of the news agenda, after the attack on Salman Rushdie, this one-off documentary will test the limits of free speech in the UK today by getting to the heart of what has become a highly controversial debate - what is a woman? Exploring the arguments around transgender rights and women’s rights, the film will investigate how and why this issue has become so contentious, promising to take the spikiest of subjects to the mainstream.
Commissioner: Shaminder Nahal
Prince Andrew: The Musical
Kieran Hodgson leads a cast of comics in a satirical send-up of the life and times of Prince Andrew, set to a musical score. Written by and starring Hodgson as the Prince himself, with original music co-written by Freddie Tapner, the story centres on the key events, relationships, and controversies of Andrew’s life, including a reimagining of the former-HRH’s bombshell interview with Emily Maitlis in which the man behind the headlines faces the music.
1 x60 min
A Hat Trick Production
Producer: Adam Reeve, Executive Producers: Stu Mather & Jimmy Mulville
Commissioned for Channel 4 by commissioning editor, Cimran Shah, and Head of Entertainment and Events, Phil Harris