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Channel 4 docs spy on Putin, Brexit

The Moffatt family and their new neighbours in The British Tribe Next Door

ETF: UK pubcaster Channel 4 (C4) has unveiled documentaries about Russian president Vladamir Putin and the Brexit negotiations at the Edinburgh Television Festival.

At a dinner in Edinburgh on Tuesday, C4 CEO Alex Mahon and director of programmes Ian Katz revealed a slate of new factual programming that includes Putin: A Russian Spy Story.

The three-part doc from UK indie Rogan Productions is described as the definitive account of Putin’s power and how it has changed the modern world.

Filmed across Russia, America, Europe and the UK, and using both Putin’s own words and testimony from those closest it to him, it aims to show how Putin brought his knowledge of spycraft to define the presidency of a nuclear power.

The doc was commissioned by head of specialist factual Fatima Salaria, who joined C4 at the start of the year from the BBC and recently spoke of her need for grittier factual content for C4.

Putin: A Russian Spy Story looks at the impact of the Russian president

C4 has also greenlit 1×60’ special Brexit Two Tribes (working title) from Bafta-winning director Patrick Forbes.

Filmed over the past nine months, with access to senior figures such as Jacob Rees-Mogg, Alan Duncan, Ken Clarke, Nicholas Soames, Anna Soubry, Nicky Morgan, Andrew Bridgen and Nigel Farage, it tells the inside story of the Conservative Party’s bitter struggle over the defining political issue of the day.

Dorothy Byrne, head of news and current affairs at C4, greenlit the show ahead of her MacTaggart Lecture later this week. Oxford Films is producing.

C4’s factual slate has also been boosted by the arrival of Smugglers (working title), a two-part series that looks at how effective Britain’s border security really is, commissioned by C4’s head of factual entertainment Alf Lawrie.

Meanwhile, Gogglebox star Scarlett Moffatt is taking part in a fact ent format The British Tribe Next Door (wt), a 4×60’ series from Voltage TV and Motion Content Group that will see Moffatt and her family relocate to a modern house built on the edge of a traditional Namibian tribe’s land to compare and contrast lifestyles.

Also announced in Edinburgh last night was comedy Lady Parts, from writer/director Nida Manzoor (Hounslow Diaries, Enterprise), which focuses on an all-female Muslim punk band.

The 6×30’ series follows Lady Parts’ appearance in C4’s shortform comedy series Blap in 2018. It follows the life of the band through its unlikely lead guitarist, a geeky PHD student called Amina Hussain. It was commissioned for C4 by Fiona McDermott, head of comedy, and Laura Riseam, commissioning executive, and is produced by WTTV.

The network has also announced a second season of Rufus Jones’ sitcom Home, which follows a Syrian immigrant living with a family in the UK after stowing away in their car at Calais.

The series is written by Jones, directed by David Sant, made by Jantaculum and Channel X, produced by Adam Tandy and the executive producers are Alan Marke and Jim Reid.

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