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Channel 4 searches for next prime minister with new competition format

UK commercially funded pubcaster Channel 4 has commissioned a competitive format in which contestants compete to be voted into office as the next ‘prime minister.’

Phil Harris

Coproduced by ITV Studios’ Twofour, AOP and Motion Content Group, Make Me Prime Minister (working title) will follow 12 ordinary but opinionated Brits with views from across the political spectrum in a contest to see what it really takes to operate in the cutthroat world of politics.

The 6×60’ series will follow the candidates on the campaign trail, where they will be put through their paces in a series of prime ministerial-style tasks designed to test their leadership skills, resilience and integrity. These weekly group challenges will be set and adjudicated by Alastair Campbell, who was the spin doctor for Tony Blair during his time as PM, and politician Baroness Sayeeda Warsi.

During the competition, candidates will face the pressures, challenges and accountability of being in power. Can they avert triggering an international crisis by carefully negotiating with an enemy of the country? Will they be able to explain their new education policy to a group of five-year-olds? How will they cope with being grilled by one of the country’s top journalists with only minutes to prepare?

To keep their campaign hopes alive and make it through the weekly vote, each candidate will need to persuade and convince former politicians, experienced journalists and, most importantly, the public that they have the charisma, vision and political acumen to lead. Across the series, the candidates will be whittled down until just one secures victory to be crowned Channel 4’s Alternative Prime Minister.

Exec producing for Twofour are creative director David Clews, head of entertainment Louise Hutchinson and Chloe Court. Exec producing for Motion Content Group is head of formats and entertainment Martin Oxle. AOP co-founder Matt Edmondson also exec produces with Francis Ridley.

Phil Harris, head of entertainment and events at Channel 4, said: “We usually tackle politics through our studio-based satire. Now we are injecting some of that attitude into an innovative new competition series that has purpose, scale and humour. Make Me Prime Minister will give real people the chance to prove their leadership credentials.”

In related news, C4 has teamed with AVoD service Roku to commission a six-part series from UK prodco Voltage called Tempting Fortune. The series will debut in the UK on Channel 4 and exclusively on The Roku Channel in the US.

In the format, 12 strangers spend 19 days in paradise. Arriving with basic survival gear, the group will think they have what it takes to become heroes of the latest reality adventure show. But to win the substantial cash prize, they will have to resist the temptation to spend any of it, in the ultimate test of willpower.

Tempting Fortune was commissioned for C4 by Harris and Jonathan Rothery. Voltage’s Sanjay Singhal is exec producer on the series, which will be overseen at Roku by Olivia LaRoche and Brian Tannenbaum.

C4 has also announced that celebrity competition format The Greatest Snowman will return for a second run later this year, produced by Southshore and Motion Content Group.

Sue Perkins will again host as a new intake of celebrities travel to a mountain top to have their creativity challenged in a snow building competition. It was commissioned for C4 by Tom Beck, head of live events, and Harris. The exec producers are Caroline Davies, Melanie Leach and Andrew Mackenzie for Southshore and Martin Oxley for Motion.


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