Channel 4 has doubled its core channel’s annual arts budget to £6m and has created a dedicated arts board headed by director of television and content Kevin Lygo.
More 4 editor Tabitha Jackson takes up the role of arts commissioning editor as part of the beefed-up arts strategy and, as well as a commitment to the core channel, C4 has pledged to invest £3m in projects for More 4 and online, which will mostly be delivered in partnership with arts bodies.
Jackson fills a role left vacant since last July, when Jan Younghusband left C4 after a decade to join the BBC. She will report to head of specialist factual Ralph Lee and will sit on the arts board alongside representatives from cross-platform commissioning, 4iP, Channel 4 Education, marketing and Channel 4 News.
Jackson, a former specialist factual commissioner who joined C4 three years ago, launched the More 4 Arts strand at the end of last year. This year, the strand will feature a six-part series in which the likes of Martin Scorsese and David Hockney mentor a young protegé over a year.
The Proudfoot Company is producing the series in partnership with the Rolex Mentors and Protegés scheme.
Lygo said Jackson would be tasked with delivering both a fresh strategy and a “coherent overview” for C4’s arts coverage after the channel scaled back its ambitions over the past year.
Other upcoming arts commissions include the first film from artists Dinos and Jake Chapman, funded from a separate Film 4 budget, plus The Genius Of British Art, a 6 x 60-minute series for C4 from Oxford Film and Television.
Current web projects include Lost Art, a joint partnership with Tate Media that will centre on works of 20th- and 21st-century art that have been lost, destroyed or decayed, and Such Tweet Sorrow, in which the Royal Shakespeare Company and Mudlark will rework Shakespeare plays via Twitter.
Channel 4 is now hunting for a More 4 editor to replace Jackson and cover output including the True Stories strand.