Ian Katz

Channel 4 sets out 2021 content priorities

Category: News Release

All 4 is focus of creative decision making as part of new Future4 strategy

Channel 4’s Director of Programmes Ian Katz today outlined the broadcaster’s content and commissioning strategy aimed at driving significant growth in digital viewing as part of Channel 4’s Future4 strategy – with a clear target of doubling viewing to All 4 over the next five years.

An increased focus on investing more in content that performs strongly on All 4 such as - young skewing factual entertainment, “box-setable” and noisy documentaries, reality, comedy entertainment, scripted comedy and young-skewing “bingeable” drama - will help Channel 4 build on the success that it has already seen in the growth of All 4, with views to the award-winning streaming service up +27% this year.

Announcing the strategic shift in focus to digital today, Director of Programmes Ian Katz also reaffirmed Channel 4’s commitment to delivering to the organisation’s purpose and public service remit with a renewed creative drive to commission more programmes that create noise, can be scaled up and importantly bring a dose of fun into the lives of viewers as they emerge from the grip of the pandemic next year.

Ian Katz said “To ensure that Channel 4 remains a relevant and vibrant voice in a digital world we know we must now bring all the passion, originality and disruptive flair that we brought to the world of terrestrial TV 38 years ago, to the world of streaming and social media.

So after a breakthrough year for All 4 which saw it achieve record growth, we’re doubling down on the types of programmes that will drive further digital growth. That doesn’t mean the character of the channel will be changing - we’ll be just as noisy, inquisitive and unruly as ever, from uncompromising dramas such as Jack Thorne’s blistering piece on the care home crisis to our upcoming investigation of the power once yielded by notorious publicist Max Clifford. 

But, more than anything, over the coming year we’ll do our best to offer viewers an escape from the grimness of a Covid ravaged world with a schedule packed with fun and joy including sparkling new scripted comedy, fabulous new formats like Living Wild and more of viewers’ favourites from The Dog House and Snackmasters to uproariously funny entertainment like Taskmaster. I’m determined that however miserable the news is outside our living rooms, Channel 4 will be an oasis of joy in a joyless age.”

New drama Help (working title) from one of Britain’s most prolific writers Jack Thorne alongside two of the country’s finest acting talents, Jodie Comer and Stephen Graham, will take an uncompromising look at the crisis that engulfed British care homes during the first wave of the pandemic.  Made by The Forge with director Marc Munden at the helm, filming in Liverpool will begin in the new year.

Brand new comedy Big Boys starring Dylan Llewelyn (Derry Girls) joins a sparkling scripted comedy slate featuring the return of two of this year’s big BAFTA winners, Stath Lets Flats and This Way Up, as well as new titles Frank of Ireland and Lady Parts.   Based on comedian Jack Rooke’s award-winning live shows, the series from Roughcut TV will follow two students embarking on their first year at University.

Sandi Toksvig and a host of her celebrity friends including Bake Off’s Prue Leith will be getting away from it all on a staycation like no other in Extraordinary Escapes, a new travel series from Tuesday’s Child TV.  This theme of joyful escapism will be threaded through our new popular factual programming with Mel Giedroyc proving that carpentry can be every bit as creative and competitive as cooking in Good with Wood; comedian Rosie Jones embarking on an adventure in Rosie’s Trip Hazard and the return of The Circle, which promises to be bigger than ever with a new celebrity version.

Finding inventive and entertaining ways to engage people with the most important issues and representing all of the UK is at the heart of Channel 4’s mission and the inimitable Kathy Burke will be returning with a new series All Money from Flicker Productions that will probe the gap between rich and poor in Britain today.

Channel 4’s acclaimed news and current affairs coverage will continue with a landmark new series on the policing of rape from Hardcash productions and a series from Story Films following a covert police operation hunting a crime group believed to be trafficking women into the UK. 

Following the huge success of Channel 4’s award-winning noisy documentaries,  The Max Clifford Story from Story films will go behind the headlines to explore the rise and fall of publicist and ruthless manipulator Max Clifford who was one of the most powerful figures in Britain before he was convicted of serious sexual offences against young women.

Channel 4 will also step up its commitment to original short form content distributed on social media, from its new digital content hub, 4Studio, based in Leeds.  Over 2021 there will be social shorts commissioned across most genres in addition to branded entertainment partnerships such as this year’s Mission Accessible travelogue series with Rosie Jones, and Unseen Kingdoms featuring stories of young women who have experienced homelessness.  Following the success of E4’s lockdown digital hit, Remote Comedy, there will also be new E4 digital shorts with new talent including Rap Therapy, a brand-new animated series featuring the UK’s leading Grime stars, talking openly about mental health and how to cope with it.

Full details of the programmes announced today can be found at www.channel4.com/press

Press contact:

Donna Mathews, Head of Content and Programme PR, dmathews@channel4.co.uk