TV

C4′s fall season tackles Turing, gender transition

UK net Channel 4 has unveiled its autumn season slate, with new factual titles including a four-part series following people undergoing gender transition, and a docu-drama focusing on the life of British war hero and mathematics genius Alan Turing (pictured).
September 16, 2011

UK net Channel 4 (C4) has unveiled its autumn season slate, with new factual titles including a four-part series following people undergoing gender transition, and a docu-drama focusing on the life of British war hero and mathematics genius Alan Turing (pictured).

The Hero of Station X (w/t) examines the life and legacy of Turing, one of the most important figures in British scientific history, whose code-breaking work during World War Two is credited with shortening the war by two years.

Yet instead of being celebrated, Turing’s life ended tragically – in 1952 he was convicted of “gross indecency” for being homosexual, and was chemically castrated. Two years later he killed himself.

The 90-minute program is being made by Furnace Television and was written by Craig Warner (The Queen’s Sister, The Fall of Lehman Brothers). It was ordered by C4′s commissioning editor for history Julia Harrington, who said: “Turing is a fascinating and controversial figure who lived before his time. He’s an incredibly inspiring character who deserves to be a hero beyond the world of the technophiles, who already sit at his feet.”

Elsewhere, Girls Will be Boys and Boys Will be Girls (w/t) “explores the challenges of being ‘trans’ in a world that can be quick to judge, prejudiced and abusive,” C4 said.

The series is made by Twenty Twenty Television and follows the stories of seven people, who are at different stages of their transition, coming together to support each other as they make “the ultimate journey to realize their true identities.”

Other titles on the slate include The Empty Homes Show (w/t), which aims to shed a light on the the British housing crisis, examining why two million British families currently don’t have adequate housing; and Mummify Me, which aims to examine how the Ancient Egyptians were able to perfectly preserve their pharaohs for millennia.

Meanwhile, in a major five-part science series, Professor Stephen Hawking presents a global exploration of the scientific breakthroughs that are transforming our lives in the 21st century.

Aided by leading scientific figures – including Sir David Attenborough, Richard Dawkins, Aarathi Prasad, Lord Winston and Maggie Aderin-Pocock – Brave New World reveals how science “is striving for humankind’s next leap forward from battling the world’s big killer diseases, breaking down the barriers between man and machine and expanding our understanding of the universe,” according to C4.

Also on the slate, The Food Hospital examines the science behind using food as medicine; while Digging the Great Escape (w/t) follows a team of engineers, archaeologists and RAF officers as they attempt to excavate the remains of an escape tunnel used by the Allies in 1944.

Finally, six-part series Living with the Amish (w/t) sees a notoriously private Amish community opening its doors to a group of British teenagers; Confessions of a Nurse promises to paint an intimate and revealing portrait of British nurses in 2011; Educating Essex follows a group of final year students at an English secondary school; and Fighting on the Frontline follows a group of servicemen and women fighting in Afghanistan.

C4′s ‘Cutting Edge’ strand will also be returning with a series of one-off docs, among them Britain’s Most Extreme Hoarder (w/t), which looks at a millionaire who is living in abject poverty with every room in his house stuffed with newspapers and other household items; and The Craigslist Killings (w/t), which looks at one of the worst serial killings in American history.

About The Author
Meagan Kashty is an associate editor of realscreen, an international print and online magazine that covers the non-fiction film and television industries. Meagan is an award-winning business journalist. Prior to joining the realscreen team, Meagan was online editor of Canadian Grocer, named Magazine of the Year at the 2015 Canadian Business Media Awards. She can be reached at mkashty@brunico.com, and you can follow her on Twitter @MegKashty

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