Viacom’s Channel 5 Lures Former BBC Presenter Jeremy Paxman With Royal Doc Series

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EXCLUSIVE: British broadcaster Channel 5 has certainly been stepping up its ambitions since Viacom paid $580M for it four years ago and there’s no better example than luring former BBC presenter Jeremy Paxman to the network.

Deadline understands that Paxman, who worked for the BBC for over 40 years, most notably as host of late night current affairs show Newsnight, is making All The Queen’s Children for Channel 5.

The two-part documentary looks at the lives and roles of the Queen’s four children and examines their changing relationships with the British public over the course of the last 60 years. It will see Paxman explore the lives of Charles, Prince of Wales; Anne, Princess Royal; Andrew, Duke of York; and Edward, Earl of Wessex.

The series, which was ordered by Factual Commissioning Editor Lucy Willis, is produced by Spun Gold, the British production company behind ITV entertainment hit The Full Monty Live as well as a raft of royal programming such as The Queen’s 90th Birthday for ITV and The Royal House of Windsor for Channel 4.

Bringing Paxman to C5 is a coup on another front as the presenter had previously worked at Newsnight under Ian Katz, who is eight months into his job as Director of Programmes for rival Channel 4. Paxman’s last travelogue, Rivers with Jeremy Paxman, aired as a four-part series on Channel 4 last year.

The news comes one day after C5 demonstrated its new-found ability to secure A-list names to the channel as former BBC presenter Jeremy Vine, who now has a daytime talkshow on the network, interviewed Michael Palin, the Monty Python co-founder known for BBC travel shows such as Around The World In 80 Days, at the premiere of the latter’s new North Korea documentary.

Earlier this year, C5 won its first BAFTA award for Cruising with Jane McDonald.

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