Channel 4 reveals new Specialist Factual line-up

Buzz, Reviews, TV


Channel 4 bolsters its specialist factual slate by announcing a range of new programmes that tackle big questions of identity, memory and what makes us human. What Makes a Murderer? (w/t) looks at whether advances in neuroscience can help us to piece together the hidden factors that may have led murderers to commit their crime. In The Unremembered (w/t) David Lammy MP travels to Africa to uncover a shocking story from World War 1 that’s remained untold for a century: how Britain overlooked the Black Africans who died fighting for the Empire. History, and how we choose to mark it, is also at the fore in My Grandparents War (w/t) a series that sees leading British stars take deeply personal and immersive journeys to uncover what happened to their grandparents during World War 2. Pushing the boundaries of the possible, Bradley Wiggins: Tour de Flight (w/t) sees the five-time Olympic gold medallist embark on his most daring cycle yet- across the English Channel.


What Makes A Murderer? (w/t) 3 x 60’

In this three-part series pioneering neuro-criminologist Professor Adrian Raine teams up with leading forensic psychologist Dr. Vicky Thakordas-Desai, to take three convicted murderers on a documentary journey of self-discovery. Made by Dragonfly and Underworld, a production company that brings together programme makers and convicted ex-criminals, the series will see each perpetrator explore their life and crimes in unprecedented detail, while experts will help them to uncover the previously hidden sociological, biological and psychological factors that may have influenced their behavioural traits, their actions and ultimately, their path to criminality.

Production Company: Dragonfly Film TV and Underworld TV
Series Director:  James W Newton
Executive Producer: Tom Pullen (Dragonfly), Adam Boome (UWTV)
Commissioning Editor: Jonah Weston



The Unremembered (w/t): 1 x 60’

To mark Remembrance Day 2019, David Lammy MP explores the decisions taken to deny individual memorials for thousands of Black Africans who died in their own continent fighting for the British in World War I. The war graves commission is widely respected for its inclusive approach to the graves of soldiers, who died fighting in Europe. All were given the same gravestone regardless of rank, background or creed. But this programme reveals how a conscious decision was taken not to grant the same dignity to untold numbers of black African soldiers and porters who were categorised as not needing to be individually memorialised. David Lammy travels to Africa and sees the sites of mass burials and considers what ought to be done for those who gave their life for Britain’s First World War effort and who are now still unremembered.

Production Company: Uplands Television
Producer/ Director: John Deol
Executive Producer: Mike Smith
Commissioning Editor: Shaminder Nahal


My Grandparents’ War (w/t) 4 x 60’

To mark the 80th anniversary of the start of World War 2, some of country’s most high-profile actors will re-trace their grandparents’ footsteps.  At historic locations from the beaches of Dunkirk to the PoW camps in Asia, each will learn about the life and death decisions their grandparents faced.  The actors all have unanswered questions about the scars war left on their grandparents and will explore how six years changed their family’s lives and Britain forever. At the heart of this series will be extraordinary human stories of ordinary people caught up in one of the greatest man-made catastrophes of all time. Filming has been completed with Kristin Scott Thomas and Mark Rylance, and episodes featuring two other award-winning actors is scheduled to film next month.

Production Company: Wild Pictures
Series Director: Leo Burley
Executive Producer: Tom Anstiss and Paul Hamann
Commissioning Editor: Fatima Salaria


Bradley Wiggins: Tour de Flight (w/t) 1 x 90’

In this extraordinary feat of engineering and human stamina, British cycling legend Bradley Wiggins is attempting to smash a world record in a bid to pedal across the English Channel in a human-powered aircraft in the fastest time possible. His cycling skills will be pushed to its limits – he now has to learn from scratch how to cycle lying flat – and he will embark on a gruelling training scheme to shed the pounds he’s gained since winning the Tour De France – he needs to lose almost 20 kilos to be anywhere near light enough to make the crossing . Bradley’s challenge will push him to his mental and physical limits in this incredible technical feat – can he pedal the hardest 22 miles of his life to reach the shores of the nation that gave him his yellow jersey?

Production Company: BBC Studios Science
Producer/Director: Laura Blount
Executive Producer: Paul Overton
Development Executive: Claudia Lewis
Commissioning Editor: Jonah Weston


Fatima Salaria, Head of Specialist Factual at Channel 4, said: “These are programmes with impact at their core- the power to challenge and provoke, shock and inspire. From using cutting edge science to radically re-think criminality to campaigning for an overhaul of a hallowed institution, these are films that aim to the set the agenda. It’s especially exciting to draw on the multi-talents of David Lammy, Mark Rylance, Kristin Scott Thomas, Bradley Wiggins and many more- all with unique and audacious stories to tell.