C4 lines up “Drugs Live,” “Food Hospital”

UK terrestrial Channel 4 has unveiled Drugs Live and The Food Hospital, two commissions that form part of a slate promising "creative risk" and "difficult subject areas."
May 12, 2011

UK terrestrial Channel 4 (C4) has unveiled Drugs Live and The Food Hospital, two commissions that form part of a slate promising “creative risk” and “difficult subject areas.”

Unveiling the new commissions as part of C4′s annual report presentation in London, the network’s chief creative officer Jay Hunt said: “C4′s future lies in pieces that take risks: risks on new talent, risks on difficult subject areas, risks with style and execution.

“It’s more important than ever that C4 is prepared to challenge the status quo, to provoke debate and – above all – to be brave.”

Drugs Live, a four-part series from Renegade Pictures, will controversially show live drug-taking on screen. Hunt said the science series was one of a number of commissions that would tackle “vital issues of social policy in frank and engaging factual programming.”

Under “strict clinical conditions,” the series will explore how addictive different substances are and examine their effects on the human body, both in the short and long term, the network added.

C4′s specialist factual commissioning editor David Glover said: “This subject is fraught with controversy and confusion – this series will provide viewers with unmediated access to a live drug trial. Viewers will be able to see for themselves the actual effects the drugs have in scientific detail.”

The Food Hospital, meanwhile, is as a cross-platform, specialist factual commission examining the science behind using food as medicine. Patients suffering from a range of medical conditions and symptoms will be prescribed specific diets to find out if their health problems can be alleviated by the food they eat.

Viewers will then be invited to take part in a scientific study into how changes in diet can improve, if not cure, illnesses and ailments. C4′s specialist factual commissioning editor Tanya Shaw commissioned UK indie Betty to make the 8 x 60 minute series.

“The experiments taking place at The Food Hospital, under the supervision of the medical team, will aim to reveal the untold health benefits and medicinal properties of certain foods, whilst busting myths about some of the widely-held misconceptions and old wives tales,” said Shaw.

C4′s annual report showed revenue increased 12.6% to £935.2m (US$1.52bn) in 2010. Operating profit rose to £49.3m from £3.9m the previous year, with profit up £300,000 to nearly £40m thanks to an improved ad market.

The network warned, however, that revenues for the coming year would likely be flat.  “2010 was a year of transition and Channel 4 has entered 2011 ready for the future,” said CEO David Abraham. “We have a new management team in place, we are refreshing our schedules and we are ready to provide content wherever our audiences want to consume it.”

About The Author
Jonathan Paul is a Toronto-based writer into creativity, content, advertising, tech, comics, video games, film, TV, time and space travel.