It’s Channel 4 day here in Edinburgh. CEO David Abraham is giving the annual MacTaggart speech this evening at the Edinburgh TV Festival, and the company earlier announced it had taken minority stakes in four British indies. It’s also come forth with a quartet of commissions including North Korean political thriller Opposite Number. The 10-part action series explores the closed worlds of North Korea and the charged nexus of relationships between London and Washington, from power-players to opposing CIA and MI6 agents secretly deployed on the ground in Pyongyang. Matt Charman, whose untitled Cold War project will be directed by Steven Spielberg and star Tom Hanks, penned the series. It’s produced by Mammoth Screen (Parade’s End) and hails from C4’s newly formed international drama division. Mammoth Screen and ITV Studios Global Entertainment are actively looking for an international partner on the project which kicks off when a British nuclear scientist is taken prisoner in North Korea, triggering an international crisis which itself must be kept secret.
The network also announced 90-minute political drama Coalition, which traces the rise of British Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg. It hails from James Graham (Privacy) and will be directed by Alex Holmes (House Of Saddam) and produced by Cuba Pictures (Jonathan Strange And Mr Norrell). Also on deck is E4 comedy series Chewing Gum from and starring Michaela Coel. She plays a religious Beyoncé-obsessed 22-year-old who is fast finding out that the more she learns about the world, the less she understands. The series is inspired by Coel’s award-winning one-woman play Chewing Gum Dreams which ran at the National Theatre this year.
Also announced is a four-part documentary series that will explore the day-to-day family life of a rural African tribe. Shooting starts in Ethiopia in September for air in early 2015.
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