Channel 4 has launched its latest slate of programmes with a raft of issue-lead titles including Lodgers For Old Codgers, The Surjury and Secret Teacher.
The broadcaster has commissioned a slew of series for its 2019 schedule, overseen by Channel 4 Director of Programmes Ian Katz.
Secret Life of the Four Year Olds producer is making Lodgers For Old Codgers. The show will pair lonely pensioners with hard-up millennials and will see surprising friendships form as young people priced out of the housing market move in with an OAP, providing them with companionship and help around the house in exchange for cheaper rent.
Gobstopper TV is making The Surjury, which puts cosmetic surgery under the spotlight and brings together young people who are desperate to go under the knife with a panel of peers and experts who will decide whether they get their life-changing procedure or not.
Some of the UK’s most successful business owners – all of whom struggled at school – will go back to school in Secret Teacher (w/t). The series will see them join staff at secondary state schools to share their skills and experience – without revealing who they really are. It is produced by The Jump indie Twofour.
Elsewhere, Dave Nath and his indie Story Films is making single drama The Cure (w/t), which tells the true story of Julie Bailey, an ordinary woman who single-handedly took on the might of the establishment to expose the worst scandal in the history of the NHS.
Filmmaker Paddy Wivell is going back behind bars for a second series of Spring Films-produced Prison, ex-soldier and adventurer Ed Stafford documents his first-hand experience of Britain’s growing homeless crisis in 60 Days on the Streets – a three-part series produced by Boundless.
In comedy, Harry Hill returns to the channel with a gang of up and coming comedians in an 11pm show produced by Hill’s Nit Television, and Nick Mohammed brings his comedy alter-ego Mr Swallow to the network in a pilot produced by Guilty Party Pictures. New comic Tez Ilyas makes his Channel 4 debut with an 11pm satire project produced by Expectation.
Finally, Sarah Lancashire will reunite with Jack Thorne in The Light, a previously announced co-pro with Hulu, and Judith Kerr’s classic children’s book, The Tiger Who Came to Tea is being remade by the makers of The Snowman and The Snowdog.
Katz said: “Over the last year I’ve argued that Dialling up the Difference is the only rational response to a world in which the viewer is drowning in choice. In a world of unlimited flavours, Channel 4 must surely be a stronger one. That doesn’t mean niche. But it does mean asking ourselves constantly whether we are offering the viewer something different. The question I often ask my commissioners is: what would the hole in Britain look like if Channel 4 was not there?”
“I think we answer that question best when we make entertaining, mischievous and innovative shows about the big issues and arguments in Britain today. At a time when the room for civilised public debate, for asking the most difficult questions, often seems to be contracting, I hope we are making space for the arguments and issues that others won’t. Certainly, many of the shows I have talked about tonight are not ones that the global digital giants, even as they plough billions into new content, would be remotely interested in making.”