C4Quite a bit of UK news this week, as the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 all seemingly acting on previously announced commitments to diversify their programming.

For example, see the following items published this week:

— Young, Black Jazz Band Members Travel Back in Time to Roaring Twenties in New ITV (UK) Series, ‘Timewasters’;

— BBC One Orders Series Based on Malorie Blackman’s ‘Noughts and Crosses’ (Racism Explored in a Dystopia);

— Thandie Newton Joins BBC One’s ‘Line of Duty’;

— And BBC Three Goes Stateside with ‘American High School’ and ‘Reggie Yates: Life and Death in Chicago’.

And there are others…

Today, Channel 4’s Deputy Head of Factual, Amy Flanagan, has announced the commission of an ambitious documentary series from Minnow Films, which will, over 5 years, chart the progress of teenagers from diverse, low-income families as they attempt to follow their dreams and push against the tide of seemingly insurmountable inequality facing them.

The commission, currently titled “Youth” comes in the wake of a recent government report which concluded Britain has among the worst social mobility of any developed nation – the richest 20% are seven times more likely to get into a top university and 50% of children from the poorest families get zero GCSE passes above a D grade. Prime Minister Theresa May has pledged to fight what she calls the “burning injustice” that, “if you’re at a state school, you’re less likely to reach the top professions than if you’re educated privately.”

Channel 4’s Flanagan says: “The Brexit vote revealed how deeply divided Britain has become – throwing the gulf between the ‘have’s and the ‘have nots’ into stark relief. We want to explore the barriers young aspirational people from disadvantaged backgrounds face and prevent them achieving their dreams and the levers that can push them up or down the social ladder.

“We’ll follow these teenagers at the pivotal points in their lives over the next half decade and weave in the multiple perspectives of the key people in their lives – their parents, carers, siblings, teachers or employers. Only by observing these young people over a long period of time will we be able to see the forces working against them in modern Britain and the strength of will needed to triumph.”

Colin Barr, Executive Producer of the project, adds: “We’re not just interested in young people who are academically bright, we are interested in raw ability in all its forms and how we all lose out when that potential is lost or thwarted. Through witnessing the key turning points in young people’s lives – those moment where futures are written and re-written – we will create a profoundly dramatic picture of how social mobility and inequality really works in the UK.”

The contributors will be teenagers from across Britain aged approximately between 13 and 16. The first episodes are planned to air in 2022.

Channel 4 is a publicly-owned British network, owned and operated by Channel Four Television Corporation, a public corporation of the Department for Culture, Media & Sport. The channel was established to provide a 4th TV broadcaster to the UK, in addition to those under the BBC and ITV.