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Channel 5 ready to receive Cold Call

Cold Call centres on the victim of a telephone scam

Viacom-owned UK broadcaster Channel 5 (C5) has revealed it is keen to push further into original drama ahead of the premiere of its first scripted project in four years, Cold Call.

The 4×60’ series revolves around a single mother in Manchester whose life is suddenly upended after she falls victim to a cold call that cons her out of her life savings. She is determined to get her money back and seek revenge on the perpetrators.

Cold Call stars Sally Lindsay (Mount Pleasant, Ordinary Lies) in the lead role, which she described as “definitely a career high.”

The show is the broadcaster’s first collaboration with UK-based prodco Chalkboard TV and is written by Karyn Dougan-Buckland and Mark Buckland.

At the show’s screening on Thursday, Mike Benson, Chalkboard’s MD and producer of the series, spoke about the benefits of carrying out the project with C5.

“I think C5 wanted to partner with us because we were quite young in scripted and because of our factual background,” he said.

“C5 is massively involved in the best of ways. It’s passionate about the show and creative. Some channels take a step back whereas C5 was very immersive.”

Benson said that Chalkboard’s previous work with factual content informed how it “structured and budgeted the production.”

“Drama is factual – the best drama is,” he pointed out. “A lot of the dramas you see at the moment have got a cultural reference point at the heart of it, and that gives you an entry point as an audience member.”

“Obviously drama is an interesting place to be at the moment and C5 is one of the most exciting channels in that respect, and in terms of the risks it takes.”

Cold Call is the first of three new drama productions in C5’s pipeline.

Earlier this year, Ben Frow, C5’s director of programmes, said he was aiming to release between six and eight dramas a year, adding that he was “very willing to be experimental with directors and writers.”

In related news, C5 has commissioned ITN Productions to make a special one-off fundraising special working-titled 100,000 Trees with Chris Packham. The Autumnwatch host will host alongside guests including former BBC Radio 4 presenter John Humphrys.

The aim of the special, which will air in November, is to raise enough money to plant 100,000 trees across the UK by asking viewers to donate online to charity The Woodland Trust.

The project is in association with the Trust’s Big Climate Fightback campaign to encourage tree planting.

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