Jack Thorne

Channel 4 promises more distinctive content for 2019

Ed Stafford will explore homelessness for Channel 4 (Credit: C4)

The new shows are part of a deliberate drive by the channel to offer distinctive content, in a bid to beat competition from streaming services and other broadcasters.

At the launch of the new slate, Ian Katz, the channel’s Director of Programming, said he wants to focus on “entertaining, mischievous and innovative shows about the big issues and arguments in Britain today.”

He added: “Many of the shows [launching in 2019] are not ones that the global digital giants, even as they plough billions into new content, would be remotely interested in making.”

Jed Mercurio's advice for screenwriters

Line of Duty (Credit: BBC)

Now's a great time to get into writing for TV. There have never been more opportunities for scripted programming. To stand out from the crowd, an idea should seem original and distinctive.

While the breadth of programming has increased, the traditional formats have remained dominant. Your writing should fit the standard models for a mini-series, a serial or an episodic series; 30 minutes for comedy, 60 minutes for drama.

RTS winners unite for new Channel 4 crime drama Kiri

Sarah Lancashire RTS Programme Awards 2013-14

Happy Valley actor Sarah Lancashire stars as social worker Miriam who is thrust into the spotlight when a child in her care, Kiri, is abducted and killed after an unsupervised visit to her biological family. The no-nonsense social worker loves and believes in her job, but has a maverick and instinctive approach to dealing with the children she looks after, which draws attention as the media buzz intensifies.

Miriam (Lancashire) and the families at the centre of the storm are forced to ask tough questions, not just of themselves, but of those they love the most.  

Dramatist Jack Thorne discusses the truth of storytelling

The Last Panthers

As a child, Jack Thorne was a devoted TV viewer who’d some-­times risk compromising his personal hygiene – all for the sake of his favourite programmes. He was reluctant to leave the box’s magical embrace and delayed taking a shower until the commercial break rolled round.

“That’s fine when you’re eight, but less good when you’re 14,” says Thorne. He has a wide, open face, which lights up like a Belisha beacon when he recalls his childhood and adolescent TV addiction.