Channel 5 is re-affirming its commitment to move away from tacky programming with a new major 12-part documentary on the history of British Kings and Queens, writes Georgina Lipscomb
Channel 5 is re-affirming its commitment to move away from tacky programming with a new major 12-part documentary on the history of British Kings and Queens, writes Georgina Lipscomb

The 12 x 30-minute series will air near the end of June, well ahead of planned Kings and Queens series for both ITV and Channel 4.

It was commissioned at the beginning of the year by controller of factual Dan Chambers who said: 'We get there first. We've turned this series around really quickly. It's part of our policy to react to things more quickly than other broadcasters.'

Chambers, who joined C5 from C4 last November, has commissioned indie 3BM to produce the series.

Kings and Queens will be presented by Cambridge University historian Nigel Spivey and will reconstruct the reign of some British monarchs from 1066 including William the Conqueror, Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, Charles I and II, Queen Victoria and Elizabeth II.

The series reflects C5's repositioning away from its old image under new director of programmes Kevin Lygo.

Chambers explained: 'It's saying that we can do intellectual factual really well and is to say 'look, we've arrived'. It's got really high production values and is really accessible. What I want is for people to start talking about it. I hope it can create a buzz and over the 12 episodes can get quite a following.'

It will be executive produced by Simon Berthon and series produced by Marion Milne.

C4 has commissioned Granada Productions to produce an 18 x 60-minute documentary series on British Kings and Queens presented by David Starkey which is expected to air at the end of this year. Meanwhile, Blakeway Productions is producing Kings and Queens of Britain for ITV which is yet to start production.