We are looking for noisy and impactful journalism. The kind of programme that could only be made for Channel 4. The kind of programme that causes trouble or raises eyebrows. The kind of programme that gets talked about AND leads to real change. Programmes that make headlines and can win both ratings and awards. The more ambitious the better.
Our flagship current affairs programmes is Dispatches and we are seriously looking for major domestic and international investigations – real wow stories that have the ability to cut through and get talked about: think Royals for Hire, Starbucks & Nespresso: The Truth About Your Coffee, and Torn Apart.
We’re keen that some of our investigations have a real mischief-making feel about them like Celebs for Sale did – whilst also making headlines.
Unique access with strong current affairs purpose is important to us. Rape: Who’s On Trial is an example – it was raw and honest, but at its heart had a simple and bold journalistic premise that created impact. We would also be interested in films around a single interview or point of access that is exclusive and punches through, something that enables us to genuinely add to a wider story that is already making waves.
Everything we do should be rich in humanity. Viewers should feel our films are compelling and surprising in content and visuals, or speak to them and their experiences. We want films that hold truth to power, to expose hypocrisy and wrongdoing be it with brands, companies, institutions, or individuals.
Many stories with real impact are those hiding in plain sight – but where no one has yet proven it beyond doubt.
We’re also looking for strong counter-cultural programmes that challenge the current way of thinking, programmes that are truly diverse in their thinking. Are there subjects or reporters who will bring a fresh take on a subject everyone is talking about – or get us in to places or reveal things viewers have not seen? With robust and exclusive journalism can we challenge our viewers’ perceptions on important or controversial subjects? We want films that via access, reporter or exclusive and robust evidence examine a subject that would be bold or unexpected.
We want to invest in projects that require a long view. Dispatches should never feel like it is simply an extended version of the news, but we also want to be reactive where we can offer revelation or a genuinely new or inside view on an unfolding story.
We’re particularly keen to hear about ambitious ideas around climate change, British politics, the cost of living crisis, the treatment of women and underrepresented groups, the fallout from Brexit and Covid, and institutional racism. We also want strong and innovative consumer investigations.
We have no set rules when it comes to tone, format or content, but please think carefully about the journalism. Why should any film be made now, and what will be revealed that we do not already know?
New Youth Strand
Towards the end of quarter 2 2022 we are launching an exciting current affairs strand aimed at 16 – 34 year olds. The strand, title TBC, will launch as a digital first/All 4 proposition – with linear slots following. The strand will have the remit-defining, noisy and bold journalism for which Dispatches has won headlines and major awards. But its absolute focus will be to produce films that speak to younger viewers, on the subjects they care about fronted by diverse and authentic voices from across the UK: intelligent, brave and entertaining documentary making that holds power to account, reveals what is going on behind closed doors, reflects the lives of 16-34 year old and, crucially, ask what the solutions are to everything from inequality to climate change.
We want films that will work effectively as digital first propositions, and think creatively about form as well as content. These films must be authentic, thought-provoking, and beautifully made.
We are looking to begin commissioning from early 2022. We’re interested in singles – 30s/60s and some potential mini-series on the right topic.
Our consumer programming offers expertise and fresh insight. The focus should be exposing pricing tricks, uncovering sophisticated scams, finding good quality for less, saving money, and hearing insider knowledge. But for us they should have an added twist of being unpredictable, approaching the topic in a way that the other channels possibly wouldn’t do. We’re looking for pitches with a sense of fun and mischief that also have a topical edge.
These can be mini-series such as strong journalistic examinations of major brands – a good example was our recent The Truth About Amazon series. There are also opportunities for populist ideas for singles such as Coronavirus: How Clean Is Your House?, Inside John Lewis: Trouble at the Tills or Christmas Luxury For Less.
We’re also looking for ideas around healthy living. We have a new series with Michael Mosley that builds on the success of his Lose a Stone in 21 Days series, and we are always keen to see ambitious ideas in this area that will have a broad appeal.
In terms of subject areas, no subject is off limits if the journalism is significant and it has the potential to make a lot of noise.
Having great case studies or access can be brilliant, but nine times out of ten it is not enough. What is the journalism at the heart of the story that you are bringing those towards?
Once you have that revelation, consider what impact it will have. What are the news lines it will bring? Will those news lines create noise? And if not, is the subject enough or the way in which you treat it different enough to make the programme punch through in a crowded schedule?
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.