Channel 4 Cements Growing Digital Originals Slate with Range of New Cross-Genre Commissions

New short form content includes scripted comedy; explorations of culture and society, extraordinary real-life stories; and fresh takes on dating, confession and makeover formats

Channel 4 has commissioned a new slate of short form digital originals across the genre spectrum as it builds on its success in this area. Over the past year to May 2021, Channel 4 digital originals have seen over 200million views across social media platforms, with nearly 270million minutes watched and almost 4.5million engagements. In that time the digital commissioning team has worked with over 30 different production companies, of which over a third are based in the nations and regions or ethnically diverse in their leadership.

This new slate, which is commissioned by the newly cemented digital commissioning team who are based across Leeds, Glasgow and London and include Digital Commissioners, Navi Lamba and Laura Marks, and Digital Commissioning Execs, Thomas Pullen, Joe Churchill and Evie Buckley, delivers on the broadcasters’ Future4 strategy vision to represent unheard voices, challenge with purpose and reinvent entertainment.

The team report into the new Head of Digital Commissioning, Sacha Khari, who in turn reports into Head of Youth and Digital, Karl Warner.

Karl Warner said: “The digital commissioning team, working closely with 4Studio have already produced some brilliantly popular digital originals that our young audiences have been watching in their millions. With this fresh slate of content we continue to build on our ambitious digital strategy as part of Future4, with new talent and voices, stories of the unexpected and the trialling of a whole range of new entertainment formats, that we hope audiences will love.”

A whole host of exciting new content and returning formats are landing on Channel 4 and E4’s social platforms across the likes of Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube and Twitter, with some also appearing on All 4. The new commissions include:

Factual

The Garms Dealer
Prod co: Zig Zag
C4 Commissioner: Thomas Pullen

This new C4 social series follows the life of Sam Morgan, a young personal shopper, with an enviable lifestyle, who counts top footballers, musicians and big-name players in UK culture as his customers and close friends. He loves expressing himself through fashion and keeping up to date with the latest styles, ensuring he and his clients always look good.

The Garms Dealer will also be made into a longer form series available to stream on Insight TV outside of the UK.

Doggy Repair Shop W/T
Prod Co: Rogo Productions
C4 Commissioner: Joe Churchill

Doggy Repair Shop (w/t) follows disabled dogs on emotional journeys through rehab and beyond as bespoke wheelchairs are created to suit the individual needs, lifestyle and personality of each brave pooch.

Other new factual commissions that have recently landed or ongoing include:

Adrenaline Addicts with George King
Prod co: Parable
C4 Commissioner: Laura Marks

Adrenaline Addicts with George King is a new factual series from Parable, featuring 21 year-old, urban free climber, George King. In the three-part series, George meets some of the UK’s leading extreme sports enthusiasts and finds out what drives them to carry out such dangerous activities.

George made global headlines in 2019, when he climbed The Shard without ropes and was sent to prison as a result. Parable’s short-form series for Channel 4, The Boy Who Climbed The Shard, told the story of the climb and was a huge success on social platforms, reaching over 10 million views.

Gaming Changed My Life
Prod co: Bullion
C4 Commissioner: Thomas Pullen 

Four individuals tell inspiring stories of how gaming is not just their hobby, but how it has changed their lives.

Learn on TikTok
Prod Co’s: Connected Set and Afro Mic
C4 Commissioners: Laura Marks and Navi Lamba

The Connected Set and Afro Mic have been commissioned to create a range of short form educational content for TikTok, that will see a selection of well-known names take up the challenge to entertain Tiktokers and also teach them something.

Formats

Extreme Alter Ego
Prod co: Frieda
C4 Commissioner: Evie Buckley

A four-part digital series that sees deserving individuals undergo a spectacular transformation to experience their fantasy look for the day. In each of these moving films, the person will share their uniquely personal reasons for being there. And by the end we will see that a genuine, life-changing transformation take place complete with a jaw-dropping reveal.

Confession Couch
Prod co: The Connected Set
C4 Commissioner: Laura Marks

Ordinary Brits with burning secrets join their nearest and dearest on the Confession Couch to reveal all. Will sharing with the person whose opinion, advice and approval they value most, help them move past the fear that’s been holding them back?

Other new format commissions that have recently landed or ongoing include:

No Instructions
Prod co: Spirit Media
C4 Commissioner: Laura Marks

Two humans, one task, no instructions, who will be the successor? Tom Ward presents this brand new format where each episode he and a different and hilarious guest will unbox and compete to complete a baffling task, with no instructions. Hilarious and eclectic chat is sure to ensue.

First Impressions
Prod co: Spirit Media
C4 Commissioner: Laura Marks

A brand-new dating show based entirely on gut instinct and first impressions. Each episode, two total strangers will begin a date like no other, where they’ll state their assumptions about the person opposite them: who they are, what they do, what they love and what they fear, based only on what they see. Can their instincts correctly judge a book by its cover, or will their assumptions be wide of the mark and when they know the full truth, will they still want to date each other?

Comedy

Comedy Shorts
Prod Co: Daddy’s Super Yacht
C4 Commissioner: Thomas Pullen 

12 brand new broad, bold and relatable short form comedy strand featuring emerging talent and delivering disruptive, anarchic and high-impact comedy take on themes like nostalgia, pop culture, work, sport, socialising and more that aim to offer a smart-but-silly view on being alive in 2021.

They feature a huge array of UK comedy writing and performing talent, including names like Jack Barry, Felicity Ward, Mark Silcox, Sapphire McIntosh, Natasha Brown, Joe Sutherland, Nick Helm, Leila Navabi, Amy Gledhill, Jen Brister, Sunil Patel, David Mills, Jen Ives, Jordan Grey, Jason Forbes, and many more.

The talented comedy writers tackle everything from female pilots navigating sexism, to secret agents on a budget and the pitfalls of investing in gunge, the slimy substance ever-present on 90’s TV.

As well as exploring brand new formats and shows, a range of content that has been a hit with social audiences has been recommissioned, including:

Returners:

Would You Rather
Prod Co: Parable
C4 Commissioner: Evie Buckley

In this 10-part digital series, two people with polar opposite opinions come together to put forward their views on a specific topic that they feel strongly about. But what will be their final verdict at the end of the discussion, will they still be miles apart or have found some common ground?

How Not to be Racist Series 2
Prod co: Acme Films
C4 Commissioner: Navi Lamba

In this second series, we’ll see Chanté Joseph break down a series of misconceptions and explain the cultural, sociological and historic context of each one, while sharing some of her own personal experiences and hearing from members of the public.

How to Get Rich; My Body Rules; Invented
Prod co: Future
C4 Commissioner: Laura Marks

Following the success of formats How to get Rich, My Body My Rules and Invented, Future continue to produce a suite of films under these titles.

How to Get Rich tells unusual stories of how young entrepreneurs are making serious cash in unusual and often downright bizarre ways. My Body My Rules follows millennials taking control of their bodies in surprising, inspiring and ultimately empowering ways.  Invented meets the DIY scientists using science and technology, or those who have a burning inventing passion, to transform the lives of their family, friends or community.

The B@it, part of the Original Comedy on C4 strand
Prod co: Mother’s Best Child
C4 Commissioner: Laura Marks

Well-established scripted satirical comedy strand that has achieved over 36 million views and more than one million engagements over the last year.

Other short form

In addition to the new slate of content announced today, the channel will also be commissioning a whole host of content into the True Stories factual strand following the recent call out which closed in April, and in comedy via the recent comedy digital originals brief.

Other types of short form content that have been commissioned in recent months include:

Teens

A new strand of digital content aimed at 13-16 year-olds to be shared across E4’s social platforms, following an open call-out last year. The strand will be giving a platform to fresh, unheard voices from across the country, with at least 50% of the production companies based in the nations and regions or ethnically diverse in their leadership. The four production companies selected include Cornershop TV, True North, The Connected Set and Vice Studios.

Hollyoaks: IRL
Prod Co: Lime Pictures
C4 Commissioner: Joe Churchill

Hollyoaks: IRL is a short-form series of real-life documentaries in which individuals whose lives have been forever changed by issues portrayed in Hollyoaks tell their stories. The series will feature both Hollyoaks viewers whose lives have been forever changed by watching the show, as well as individuals whose lived experiences have helped shape some of the show’s most important and talked about storylines.

Short form Entertainment for E4

E4 has also grown its slate of original short-form entertainment commissioning with more new online shows. Navi Lamba, E4’s Digital Commissioner, alongside Phil Harris, Channel 4’s Head of Entertainment have green-lit digital shorts series for E4’s social platforms including, Sharp Jack and Initial’s Darling, What Have You Done to Your Hair? and What If…? with Munya Chawawa, produced by The Connected Set, both of which went out earlier this year. Other series recently landing on E4 socials include Blind Love on First Date Island produced by Blink Industries, an innovative animated dating series using the audio of genuine phone first dates between two people who have never met. Each animated episode, set on a surreal island where anything is possible, features one date comically visualised by different up-and-coming artists, and One Night Stand from Hello Marysees a pair of singletons who have previously had a one-night stand meet for a second-chance date that will determine whether their romance can be rekindled, or if the spark is well and truly dead. Could their former lover be the one that got away?

The team is also looking to commission more self-contained short form digital format pilots on social, that could have the possibility to expand and evolve into long form or linear shows.

Branded Ents

Since launching the first Branded Entertainment social series in September 2020, Channel 4 has become the UK’s most viewed social branded content partner, amassing over 55 million views for a multitude of successful and award winning campaigns across Facebook and Instagram alone (source: Tubular Labs).