Benedict Cumberbatch will play Vote Leave boss Dominic Cummings in upcoming Channel 4 drama Brexit.
The announcement comes amid a slew of new commissions and announcements from the broadcaster, as Chief Executive Alex Mahon and Director of Programming Ian Katz, addressed Channel 4 staff about the future of the channel.
Katz revealed a five-point plan which, he believes, will secure the broadcaster against threats posed by competitors, and will ensure that Channel 4 retains its crown as the youngest-skewing public service channel in the world.
Among those aims was a renewed focus on comedy for the channel and its on-demand platform All4.
Happy AF (w/t) comes from comedian Aisling Bea and is a poignant comedy about moving on and trying to find happiness after a “teeny little nervous breakdown”. Sharon Horgan will co-star as Aine’s (Bea’s) sister Shona.
Next Week’s News is another comedy offering, this time from The Guilty Feminist podcast’s Deborah Francis-White. The late night satirical news show will see Francis-White take on the stories of the day with the wit and verve fans of her podcast will expect. She’s teamed up with Sharon Horgan and Clelia Mountford of Merman, for the show.
As part of its mission to make the 11pm hour the home for “experimentation with entertainment, live, and topical humour”, Channel 4 has also commissioned a one-off topical comedy pilot called Antisocial Media. The anarchic, fast turnaround show aims to “combine the immediacy and irreverence of the internet,” said commissioner Josh Buckingham.
Elsewhere E4 is getting a boost in the form of an extra £10m into its budget and a dedicated channel controller, with the aim of realising its “potential to be a powerful young brand across On Demand and social media,” Katz revealed.
New six-part comedy Maxxx centres around formerly famous, now notorious drug-shamed superstar Maxxx (played by writer and star O-T Fagbenle). Maxxx needs to prove to the world that he still has what it takes – and win back his popstar ex-girlfriend.
Katz also promises to reaffirm Channel 4’s commitment to “distinctive” content, building strong relationships with the indie sector, and broadening their commissioning remit to include digital and online.
Benedict Cumberbatch will star in a brand new drama exploring the data-driven political campaign behind one of the most contested, controversial government referendums in modern history. Brexit (w/t) is a feature-length thriller from RTS winner James Graham (Quiz, Ink, The Vote). Cumberbatch plays Dominic Cummings, the divisive Vote Leave leader and strategist. The show is not an analysis of the result, but the story of how it happened.
Other commissions include The Big Narstie Show (w/t) which will see the MC joined by celebrity guests as they dig into the juiciest stories of the week, and Futureproof in which Jamili Maddix takes a fun look at how changes in the way we use technology will change our lives.
Kathy Burke will present a three-part documentary series on how to be a woman in 2018, and from Studio Lambert and Motion Content Group, The Circle takes reality TV to a new level: strangers will be given apartments in a block, but will only be able to communicate with each other through The Circle. Players can choose what to reveal, and who to reveal it to, as well as communicating publicly or privately with other players. Alliances may be formed, friendships broken, romance may bloom. What matters is that you do not get ‘blocked’ by the other players, and kicked out of the game.