Channel 4 is set to air a new musical about Prince Andrew as part of the station’s 40th anniversary celebrations.
As The Guardian reports, the upcoming show was written by comedian Kieran Hodgson, who also stars as the royal who this year paid a multimillion-pound settlement over an accusation of sexual assault from Virginia Giuffre. The Duke of York denies the claims.
The musical is said to delve into the “key events, relationships, and controversies of Andrew’s life”, including his infamous interview with Emily Maitlis on Newsnight in 2019. It’ll form part of a new season of programmes that have been created to reflect Channel 4’s “radical, irreverent and iconoclastic roots”.
The broadcaster has also commissioned a documentary about the “hidden minority of men who have an extra-large penis”. Other new shows will include a doc about a woman who fled the Taliban and is now a successful porn star, a show in which comedian Jimmy Carr explores “cancel culture”, and a reboot of Ben Elton’s ’80s comedy show Friday Night Live.
Further details on the Prince Andrew-based musical – including a title or air date – are currently not known.
The Conservative government are pushing ahead with plans to privatise Channel 4, which has been under public ownership, and advertising-funded, since it launched in November 1982. The channel has repeatedly said that is unique status as a publicly owned broadcaster means it’s able to produce shows that for-profit stations couldn’t afford to make.
Channel 4 often displeases Tory MPs owing to its coverage of current affairs, and they argue that it’d thrive in the private sector. Liz Truss, who is the frontrunner in the race to become the next UK Prime Minister, has suggested that she intends to proceed with the sale.
A deal could be completed next year, meaning that the latest programme announcements could be among the final shows to be commissioned under Channel 4’s existing model.
Channel 4’s programme boss, Ian Katz, said the new commissions serve as “a collection of irreverent, thought-provoking and hugely entertaining shows that no other broadcaster would air”, adding: “If we must age, we plan to do it disgracefully.”
Back in 2021, former Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said that the privatisation of Channel 4 was “needed” in order for it the broadcaster to “compete with the streaming giants” (via Sky News).
Ricky Gervais – who appeared on The 11 O’Clock Show on Channel 4 in the late ’90s, before co-creating The Office – spoke out against the potential sale last summer. “For almost 40 years, Channel 4 has been a launch pad for new ideas and new talent,” he tweeted.
“It’s been able to do that because of its remit and not-for-profit structure and it would be a real shame if that was destroyed by selling off the channel.”
Last month, it was reported that Hugh Grant had been lined up to play Prince Andrew in movie about his notorious BBC interview in 2019.