CR8TIVE ROW and Optomen partner to bring Highlife to Channel 4

Category: News Release
Black to Front

Channel 4 confirms the commission for the Channel4 Represents: Black to Front 10pm slot

Channel 4 has announced the commission of the first Black British premium reality series in new four-parter, Highlife.

Co-produced by CR8TIVE ROW and Optomen, Highlife  follows the lives and loves of a group of ambitious, glamourous young Nigerian Brits all chasing their own idea of success. Showcasing a community where high family expectations often impact career choices, relationships and even friendship groups the series is an aspirational and authentic portrayal of British life through a totally distinct but utterly relatable lens.

Launching later this year, the series will air at 10pm as part of Channel 4 Represents: Black to Front, formerly announced as Black Takeover in August 2020.  Commissioned by Vivienne Molokwu for Channel 4, Highlife will be overseen by award-winning music video director for Stormzy and Cardi B, CR8TIVE ROW CEO Daps, BAFTA nominated Luti Fagbenle and Optomen’s co-CEOs Tina Flintoff and Nick Hornby.

Vivienne Molokwu, who is one of the forces behind Black To Front said: “This four-part series represents an exciting opportunity to portray  young Black Britain without a gun or gang in sight.  Glossy, ambitious and unapologetic, just like it’s cast, this confident new series will look different both in front of and behind the camera whilst still reflecting the highs and lows of life in a way we can all relate to.”

Daps said “There remains a lack of representation on British television. There are systemic issues that have disabled, or not enabled, certain groups to get key opportunities within the industry. This reality-doc series combats both these issues celebrating a group of young successful Black Brits and highlights issues this demographic face in an accessible way.”

Optomen’s Tina Flintoff and Nick Hornby added “We’re absolutely delighted to be working with the incredibly talented Daps and Luti on such a bold and visually exciting new series. Together we hope we can make something that’s totally different, giving a voice to a new generation of Black talent.”

Kelly Webb-Lamb said “Actively seeking out new creative talent to tell great, entertaining stories is exactly what Black to Front is about. It’s brilliant to be working with some incredibly talented people, on and off screen, all bringing fresh ideas and perspectives to the industry and our audiences.”

Black to Front is part of Channel 4’s ongoing commitment as an anti-racist organisation to improve Black representation on and off screen, amplify the conversations around representation and portrayal, and drive long-term change. 

Highlife will air as part of Black to Front alongside a one-off special of The Big Breakfast fronted by Mo Gilligan, and followed by some of Channel 4’s biggest flagship shows reimagined with  Black talent, including Celebrity Gogglebox, Countdown and Channel 4 News. Hollyoaks will be an hour-long special entirely written, directed and performed by its Black talent.

To ensure that Black to Front drives significant and sustainable change within the industry off-screen, Channel 4 is working with The Sir Lenny Henry Centre for Media Diversity to help shape meaningful off-screen commitments to leave a lasting legacy and to ensure we are addressing specific problems in the industry.

Black to Front was conceived by commissioning editors Vivienne Molokwu and Shaminder Nahal. It is led by Deputy Director of Programmes, Kelly Webb-Lamb with Vivienne and Shaminder working across the whole day alongside all commissioning departments.  Head of Creative Diversity Babita Bahal will oversee on and off-screen commitments alongside Director of Commissioning Operations Emma Hardy.