In what was her final Meet The Controller session at the Edinburgh International TV Festival, outgoing Channel 4 Chief Creative Officer Jay Hunt unveiled the broadcaster’s new slate of programming for 2018.
Leading said slate is Friday Night Dinner, which has been renewed for a fifth season; and Jerusalem, a new six episode spy thriller set after World War II from Bash Doran; and a new six episode comedy series starring Stephen Mangan, which is a local adaptation of Showtime’s Web Therapy.
Channel 4 has also picked up a new factual show featuring Guy Martin as part an elite F1 pit crew and a new Grayson Perry series exploring key rites of passage. Meanwhile, youth skewing digi-net E4 has given the greenlight to Dead Pixels, a comedy series from Fresh Meat’s Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong.
Full Details Of Channel 4’s 2018 Slate Follows Below
Friday Night Dinner
The popular comedy series from Robert Popper is set to return for a six episode fifth season. Friday Night Dinner revolves around the dysfunctional Goodman family who, every Friday, sit down to a family meal. The comedy series is produced by Big Talk Productions & Popper Pictures and stars Simon Bird, Tamsin Greig, Paul Ritter, Tom Rosenthal and Mark Heap. Production gets underway early next year, for a late 2018 premiere.
In the show’s fifth season Mum and Dad get a hot tub, much to the horror of Adam and Jonny, Adam accidentally sets his car on fire, Jonny won’t stop prank-calling Adam, Dad becomes obsessed with his old, terrifying ventriloquist dummy, Mum organises her own, terrible surprise party, Jim goes on a date from beyond hell, Horrible Grandma comes back for more horribleness – and the family have dinner.
“We’re thrilled to be heading back to the Goodman’s for another helping of squirrel and high jinks. Friday Night Dinner is always a real treat and this new series promises even more awkwardness, even worse practical jokes, more ridiculous mishaps and, of course, Jim”, said Channel 4’s Head of Comedy Fiona McDermott, who commissioned the new season. Big Talk CEO Kenton Allen returns as executive producer alongside Caroline Leddy. Robert Popper and Martin Dennis will direct.
Jerusalem is set in the aftermath of World War II in 1945 and follows Feef Symonds, a bold and ambitious 20-something woman who joins the Civil Service in 1945, just as Attlee’s Labour party sweeps to victory. Feef agrees to spy on her own government for the Americans, who have a hidden agenda in making sure England’s burgeoning Socialist ambitions don’t play into Soviet hands. Struggling to work out what she stands for, and what she’s capable of, Feef must learn to think for herself and play by her own rules at a time when knowledge becomes power and nothing and no-one is what they seem.
The period espionage thriller hails from Boardwalk Empire scribe Bash Doran and is being produced by management and production company 42 and Twenty Twenty Television. It commissioned for Channel 4 by Head of International Drama Simon Maxwell and Head of Drama Beth Willis. All3Media International is co-financing the project. The executive producers are Eleanor Moran and Rory Aitken for 42 and Tim Carter for Twenty Twenty Television.
“Bash’s writing is so evocative and immersive you can’t help but to hold on tightly to her extraordinary and diverse cast of characters and never let them go”, Channel 4’s Head of Drama Beth Willis said in a statement. “She has found contemporary resonance in the past at every turn. We are honoured and excited that Bash and the brilliant 42 and Twenty Twenty will be bringing 6 hours of this insightful, epic and sweeping tale to Channel 4.”
Hang Ups follows Dr. Richard Pitt (Stephen Mangan), a therapist with a chequered professional career, who finds himself at a crossroads in life – a crossroads precipitated by the startling realisation that his life appears to be falling apart at the seams. After the collapse of his previous group therapy practice, Richard is no longer able to conduct the traditional 50-minute sessions most therapists have with their patients. Instead, he’s developed a new form of therapy –weekly quick-fire sessions with his patients which take place online, through a webcam.
The six episode comedy series, which hails from Robert Delamere and Stephen Mangan, is an adaptation of Lisa Kudrow’s web series turned Showtime comedy Web Therapy (which, as it happens, never actually aired in the UK). Hang Ups is being produced by Slam Films and was commissioned by Channel 4’s Head of Comedy Fiona McDermott. The executive producers are Kevin Loader and Stephen Mangan. Louise Delamere is the series producer, while co-writer Robert Delamere will direct. FremantleMedia International will handle global sales.
Grayson Perry: Rites Of Passage
In this new four part series, Grayson Perry explore the various rites of passage we all inevitably experience – birth, coming of age, marriage and death. He will travel the world; heading to the Amazon, Indonesia and Japan to see how they treat these great moments. Back home Grayson will collaborate with British families to devise rites of passage ceremonies that will mark a genuine milestone in their lives. The series aims to reinvent what are essentially religious ceremonies for our modern secular age. Swan Films is producing, with Neil Crombie and Joe Evans serving as the executive producers.
Guy Martin’s Pit Stop
In this one-off factual show, Gut Martin will take on the most coveted job in automotive engineering by joining elite Formula 1 pit crew at the Belgian Grand Prix in Spa with Williams Martini Racing. Ahead of this, Guy will head to the team’s UK factory where the chief mechanic will run him through the major tasks he’ll be expected to perform during the race weekend. Guy Martin’s Pit Stop is being produced for Channel 4 by North One Television. James Woodroffe is the producer/director.
A one-off 90 minute film, Genderquake will explore gender-fluidity in the UK, why it has exploded into public consciousness and what it means for the future. To explore the topic, ten young Brits will live together under one roof for a week, with participants from the LGBTQ community embodying modern definitions of gender and others representing more traditional identities. During their stay they will take part in activities that will help them explore their differing views. The film was commissioned by Channel 4 Factual Entertainment Commissioning Editor Ian Dunkley and is being produced by Optomen. Nick Hornby and Tina Flintoff will executive produce.
Based on last year’s Comedy Blap ‘Avatards’, Dead Pixels is a part-live action, part-computer animation comedy that follows Meg, Nicky and Usman. Their world revolves around their obsession for the massively popular fantasy RPG Kingdom Scrolls – a mystical, magical and, more importantly, virtual world of wizards and wyverns. The show splits time equally between the characters real lives and their online domain inside Kingdom Scrolls.
The comedy series, which has received an order for six episodes, is being penned by Jon Brown and was commissioned by Channel 4’s Head of Comedy Fiona McDermott. Various Artists Ltd are producing, with Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong serving as executive producers.
Fiona McDermott, Head of Comedy at Channel 4, says: “We’re next level thrilled – which I think gets me enough experience points to buy an Ork Cudgel – to be working with Jon Brown and Various Artists on this brilliant show. It’s a bold, original precinct with a really distinct and funny voice. Moreover, it’s another success from the Blaps platform that’s been nurtured from online short to full series”