Channel 4 reveals slate of access documentaries

British pubcaster Channel 4 has strengthened its programming lineup with the announcement of a slate of new documentary commissions for the year. The forthcoming access films added to the network’s programming ...
June 13, 2019

British pubcaster Channel 4 has strengthened its programming lineup with the announcement of a slate of new documentary commissions for the year.

The forthcoming access films added to the network’s programming block will turn its focus on sites of power and decision-making across public bodies and private enclaves, investigating the nerve center of law enforcement, the UK’s largest mental health trust, Britain’s global banking empire and one of the country’s largest online fashion retailers.

Anchoring the slate is the tentatively titled Cop Control from Optomen Television. Filmed over a six-week period, the 8 x 60-minute docuseries will provide an all-encompassing look into the Command and Control Unit, which covers the largest geographical policing area in England and Wales – Devon and Cornwall, as law enforcement officials attempt to meet the most pressing policing needs under constant strain. Cop Control will be executive produced by Amelia Hann and Nick Hornby, with Chris Rowe serving as senior producer and director. Charlotte Wassermann is series producer. Alisa Pomeroy is commissioning editor.

Elsewhere, Story Films’ The Decision (4 x 60 minutes; working title) will gain access into the Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust to explore, via first-person perspectives, the pressure on mental health services and the complex decisions they must make each day. Executive producers include Adam Hopkins, Peter Beard and David Nath. Sophie Jones is series producer. Charlotte Desai and Rita Daniels are commissioning editors.

The Bankers’ Fortress from Halcyons Heart Films, meanwhile, will provide access into London’s Broadgate, the center of Britain’s global banking empire. Made over two years, the hour-long film will provide intimate insight into the lives of the men and women who populate Broadgate while also exploring how the firm plans to rise once more despite financial crashes and the threat of Brexit. Simon Ford is executive producer alongside Laura McCutcheon as producer and Joseph Bullman as director. Danny Horan is commissioning editor.

Pulse Films’ Inside Missguided (4 x 60 minutes; w/t) will allow for exclusive access into the online fashion retailer Missguided, exploring what life is like for their young, female-dominated workforce.The series follows the brand as they double down and attempt a comeback after the company lost £26 million in 2017/2018. Nelesh Dhand, Jon Alwen and Sharyn Mills are exec producers. Commissioning editors are Rita Daniels and Fozia Khan.

Wrapping up Channel 4′s documentary commissioning slate is the long-running observational docuseries Born to Be Different. First commissioned in 2000, the project began following the lives of six children, each born with a disability, and the impact that has on them and their families. The latest episode will catch up with the children – now turning 19 – as they take their place in the world as adults. Ricochet produces with Joanna Ball as exec producer. Cat Green is producer alongside Laurence Turnbull, who is also directing. Fozia Khan is commissioning editor.

“Getting deep access into institutions is at the heart of what we do – whether it’s a police force having to make critical decisions where to place their resources, a NHS Trust deciding a priority of mental health needs or a multimillion pound fast fashion business that is feeding the hunger for the latest trends. They are often the bellwether of our society,” said Danny Horan, head of factual at Channel 4, in a statement.

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.