A four-part serial drama, National Treasure examines accusations of sexual misconduct against a fictional public figure and explores their impact on the accused and those most closely associated with him as he is brought to trial. Channel 4 has ordered the timely drama that’s created by Jack Thorne and is due to air next year.

The ripped-from-the-headlines story follows Paul Finchley, one half of a much loved comedy double act — a cherished household name with a career that spans several decades. He’s not quite as successful as he once was, but nevertheless he’s frequently recognized on the street, affectionately called upon by taxi drivers to repeat his famous catchphrase and is a familiar face in the TV schedules. He’s a bona fide national treasure.

Faced suddenly with an accusation of rape from the 1970s, his life begins to unravel as he and all those closest to him are put under the intense pressure of the investigation and the merciless media circus that accompanies it. And, of course, his accuser, now in her 50s, must run the same gauntlet in parallel. The series will trace the investigation and criminal trial.

Thorne says, “Paul is a man who could be innocent or guilty. We’re going to examine him from all sides and ask that big question — how well do we know the people closest to us?”

Thorne’s credits include This is England ‘86, ’88, and ’90 and The Last Panthers (Sky). He also penned the upcoming West End show Harry Potter And The Cursed Child. Marc Munden (Utopia, The Crimson Petal And The White), is directing. Newbie indie The Forge is producing with George Ormond and George Faber as exec producers.

Separately, C4 has ordered three-part documentary series Murder which will follow every step of a police investigation into the horrific murder of a teenager. Neil Grant is exec producing.

Earlier this week, the channel announced Broadchurch star Olivia Colman will lead new comedy series Flowers. The darkly comic six-parter is directed by BAFTA nominated writer and director Will Sharpe. Julian Barratt co-stars in the Kudos production that’s made in association with NBCU’s new comedy focused subscription VOD platform.