Our department is home to a vast range of programming, including some of the biggest titles on the channel, The Great British Bake Off, Grand Designs and Gogglebox. Our incredibly varied output ranges from highly constructed formats to observational documentary, and includes:
- Bold, audacious constructs like Hunted and Married At First Sight
- Ground-breaking topical series like The School That Tried To End Racism and 60 Days On The Streets
- Outrageous stunts like The Alternative Christmas Message presented by a deepfake Queen, and Smuggled
- Presenter-led series like Grand Designs, Travel Man and Kathy Burke: Money Talks.
- Quality popular documentaries like Caroline Flack: Her Life & Death, The Mum Who Got Tourette's, and Inside Poundland: Secrets From The Shop Floor.
What unites pretty much everything we make, is character-driven story-telling, and a desire to reach a broad audience.
If you have a new idea that you think might work for us, we would love to hear from you. You can email any of the team below, direct - and we will reply promptly. We will happily look at anything from a fully-worked up treatment, to a one-line email.
Our key priorities – with a deadline of September 1st 2021 – are as follows:
We want a brand new reality show that we can strip at 10pm.
Of particular interest are “social experiments”. Not pointy-headed thesis-led experiments - but big, splashy, character-led experiments, with entertainment at their heart. For the reality slot, they must of course sustain nightly stripped drama over 20 or more eps.
We are open to competitive elimination formats such as early Big Brother or the popularity contest The Circle to explore fresh big questions about us - perhaps our psychology, our relationships or our social hierarchies? Or to explore themes that resonate today, e.g. populism and leadership, or social fault-lines like the Haves and the Have Nots? We are also open to communities, rather than individuals, competing – perhaps using new filming technology to take fast turnaround reality out of the closed set altogether, and into the real world.
We are also interested in open-ended, non-competitive, and post-produced series such as Married At First Sight. At its heart is the real phenomenon of arranged marriages. Are there equally meaningful, equally extraordinary constructs, that could produce such dramatic, revealing and intimate stories?
To be successful, a proposed idea must have a brilliant simple one-line concept at its heart, that feels new and hugely entertaining. But we are not looking for the next Ex On The Beach, brilliant though it is: we also want a purpose of some kind beyond just pure entertainment.
PROPERLY BIG IDEAS FOR 9PM
The channel has created a number of new slots for big, new ‘poster-sized’ ideas. Fact Ent are seeking genre-defining ideas for high-tariff 9pm series in 2022.
We hope to be greenlighting ideas by the end of the year, and are informally working to mid-September for initial ideas.
Again, the same combination of entertainment and purpose must be at the heart of these noisy shows. They must get people talking and offer breathtaking scale or extremity. Territories we are considering include:
- Survival. With The Island off air for some years, what would feel like a fresh & compelling turn of the wheel in this space?
- Love and relationships. With Married At First Sight now moving to E4, is there an equally ambitious idea that could launch in this space on Channel 4?
- Spectacle. What could rival Guy Martin’s Wall Of Death for drama and bravery? Or Harry’s Heroes for pathos and humour. Or Race Around The World as a setting to explore relationships.
- Whittles. Are there other real life whittles as strange and extreme as SAS selection – or in its own way, Alan Sugar’s search for employees - that we could turn into a new fact ent format?
Some ideas in these spaces may also be suitable for The Contestable Pot, which we are prioritising in this department. The deadline for this Pot is the 1st Sept, and the channel-wide brief for this slot can be found here: https://www.channel4.com/commissioning/brief-contestable-pot-2022 If you have a big 9pm idea that might be right for The Contestable Pot, please get in touch and we can help you enter it into that process.
In addition to the above, we are also actively looking for:
AUDACIOUS IDEAS THAT MIGHT GET US FIRED
At a recent unscripted briefing Ian Katz issued a call for shows so audacious that he would be risking his job to commission them. They must of course have a worthwhile point to them, and say something about our times.
Before COVID, Smuggled sparked a vigorous debate about the porousness of our borders through the provocative device of getting six contributors to smuggle themselves into the country. And our deep fake homage to Her Majesty, The Alternative Christmas Message, elicited outrage and delight in roughly equal measure. We’re looking for more thought-provoking, mischievous ideas that will leave people asking: “Did Channel 4 really commission that?”
If you have an idea for one, we want to hear from you!
ALL 4 DRIVING IDEAS FOR 10PM
As the channel pivots to the digital future, 10pm has become increasingly important. Shows like Naked Attraction, First Dates and The Circle drive huge numbers of young views on All 4.
The first round of the Global Format Fund saw us commission two new 10pm formats: Open [working title] and The Love Trap. Now we are looking for another, brand new series at 10pm, through this fund. Deadline for ideas is 1st Sept, and the channel brief can be found here: https://www.channel4.com/commissioning/global-format-fund/factualentertainment-entertainment
Dating feels like an ever-more crowded territory, so anything in that space would probably have to be truly extraordinary to stand out. But if you have a compelling twist, we would love to hear it.
But we want to hear ideas in completely different spaces that might draw a young audience at 10pm, that could still deliver must-see TV. Gogglebox started life at 10pm, of course, and in the past, Bodyshockers has worked well there. And Ru Paul’s Drag Race is outstanding in every way.
We are constantly looking for access – whether to well-known people or places. We are very happy to work with you to shape an idea, if you have some access but aren’t quite sure what to do with it.
The bar is high: any access needs to have genuinely broad, mass appeal. But we would love to commission more celebrity-authored docs like our brilliantly opinionated Kathy Burke series, or Johnny Vegas’s joyous glamping adventure. We are also looking for more celebrity-focused singles, like our recent Caroline Flack: Her Life and Death, and upcoming Gemma Collins: Self-Harm & Me. These kinds of title tend to be hugely popular on both linear and All 4.
And we also want more pop docs and series about well-known companies or institutions. Successes in the past have included Cadburys and Poundland, and coming up, we have The Academy based in Crystal Palace FC.
LONG-RUNNING RETURNABLES AT 8PM & 9PM
We are looking for returnable ideas that can be made affordably – because either they are precinct-based, or they’re practical to film – but that can draw a broad audience at either 8 or 9pm.
Ideas might be self-contained, like The Dog House or The Undateables, or Dragons' Den. Or they might be arced, like Child Genius and the upcoming Handmade: Britain’s Best Woodworker. They can be based around ordinary people, or they can be talent-led such as Jamie & Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast.
Whatever form they take, the key is that ideas are simple to grasp, and open up distinctive worlds that are rich enough to return to time and time again.
To make sure we are inclusive and accessible to all, please let us know if you require any adjustments or assistance for meetings and communications with you.