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U.K.’s Channel 4 to Tell ‘Trump: An American Story’

Variety logo Variety 6/12/2017 Stewart Clarke
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Donald Trump’s visit to the U.K. may be in question, but the U.S. president will be on British TV screens in a new documentary series, “Trump: An American Story.”

The four-part program for Channel 4 follows Trump across five decades as a businessman, developer, media star, and politician before he reached the White House.

The broadcaster said the series “tells the story of modern America through one man, showing how he has embodied many of the movements that have shaped U.S. society from the 1960s to the present day, from turbo-capitalism and political disenfranchisement to celebrity, reality TV, and social media.”

British broadcasting’s fascination with Trump, his background and motivations, is seemingly unabated. They have greenlit or bought several projects since he became president. The BBC has had programs including “Donald Trump: The People’s Billionaire,” ITV has shown documentaries including “Trump: The First 100 Days,” and Channel 5 has shown one-offs including “Who is Donald Trump?”

Channel 4 has also had several factual shows about the president, including an episode of its “Dispatches” current affairs show entitled “President Trump’s Dirty Secrets.”

Its latest Trump series is being made by 72 Films, the U.K.-based company set up by former Channel 4 executive David Glover and Mark Raphael, the ex-managing director of Endemol Shine producer Dragonfly. It is backed by BBC Worldwide.

“Trump: An American Story” was one of a trio of factual commissions from Channel 4, which also ordered “A Year of British Murder” from Arrow Media, which tracks a year of homicides in Britain, and “The Channel” from Blast Films!, and about the shipping lane that joins the U.K. and France.

“I’m excited by ideas that start by asking ‘What’s going on in the world?’ and then use specialist factual to interrogate, explain and challenge that,” said Channel 4’s head of specialist factual John Hay. “I think this slate shows a curiosity about the contemporary life, and a desire to shed fresh light on it, that’s at the heart of a lot of our best programming.”

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