ITV announces childhood development series Planet Child

The documentary series will observe children aged four to seven from around the world, looking at the new generation of children from the UK, Japan, Africa and America to see how childhood development varies across different locations and landscapes.

Filmed over two years, the three-part series will explore the children’s attitudes and behaviour in response to different challenges affecting their development, including gender awareness, independence, morality and risk-taking. 

Channel 4 commissions Syrian conflict documentary

(Credit: Channel 4)

Filmed from 2011 until 2016, For Sama begins with Al Kateab as a student at the University of Aleppo and follows her journey as she joins the uprising against the regime, falls in love, gets married and eventually gives birth to her daughter, Sama.

In 2016, Waad Al Kateab and her husband Hamza made the difficult decision to remain in Aleppo despite the looming approach of Syrian forces.

Channel 4 to air a new documentary series on Michael Jackson abuse allegations

Michael Jackson (Credit: Channel 4)

From award-winning director Dan Reed (This World), Leaving Neverland (w/t) documents the accounts from James Safechuck and Wade Robson as they describe the sexual abuse they went through as children by Michael Jackson.

At the time of the allegations, Safechuck was 10 years-old and Robson was seven as they were befriended by Jackson during the height of the music star’s career.

BBC Two searches for the greatest icon of the 20th Century

(Credit: BBC)

Co-produced with The Open University, Icons will tell the history of the 20th century through the people who shaped it, inviting the public to vote on 28 icons shortlisted by a panel of academics.

Each episode will focus on different categories of excellence, including leaders, explorers, scientists, entertainers, activists, sports stars, and artists and writers.

The series follows influential figures such as Nelson Mandela, Marie Curie, Billie Holiday, Martin Luther King Jr and Virginia Woolf.

Top TV picks: 29th December

(Credit: BBC)

The Secret World of Emily Brontë

Channel 4, 6.05pm

(Credit: Channel 4)

Emily Brontë superfan Lily Cole hosts a one-off documentary, The Secret World of Emily Brontë, exploring the Yorkshire landscape that influenced Brontë’s Wuthering Heights.

Cole also makes her own film in this special, Balls, which reimagines Heathcliff’s early life in Liverpool.