Channel 4 orders The Circle series three and The Celebrity Circle in aid of Stand Up To Cancer

Channel 4 has recommissioned award-winning The Circle for a third series alongside an additional celebrity series, The Celebrity Circle, as part of the Stand Up To Cancer campaign. 

The previous series of the reality format where ‘anyone can be anyone’, created by Studio Lambert and co-produced by Studio Lambert North and Motion Content Group, was a huge hit for young audiences. In 2019 it was Channel 4’s highest rating 10pm series for 16-34-year-old viewers since 2010 and was one of All 4’s top 10 most viewed titles of the year.

Host Emma Willis will return, and comedian Sophie Willan will resume her role as the inimitable voiceover in the brand-new third series, which will kick off with a special week-long celebrity edition in 2021.

Returning to Salford, Greater Manchester, the large-scale production is planned to begin later in 2020 and the search for new players is on.  Filming will proceed in line with Covid-19 filming guidelines prompting a change to the format that will see the UK series closely reflect the international versions of the show which are pre-recorded. Accordingly, there will be no studio audience or live shows.

The most talked about apartment block in Britain will welcome a new set of residents who will live in separate apartments and befriend each other using only a social media platform called The Circle. In the popularity game where anyone can be anyone players rate each other based on whom they like – and dislike. Competing against each other, the most popular players gain power and unpopular players get blocked. Once blocked, and before leaving the show, the eliminated players will get to meet other players in person for the first time. 

In addition, a set of famous faces will move in for a separate week-long celebrity edition where they will be invited to play the game in aid of Stand Up To Cancer, a joint national fundraising campaign from Cancer Research UK and Channel 4 that brings the UK together to speed up progress in life-saving research.

Presenter Emma Willis said: "The Circle is just brilliant, unmissable television. I loved every minute of being a part of it and I'm delighted to be returning to it for another series where I'll be right at the centre of all the mischief and drama! To add to that, we’re also doing a celeb version - I can't wait to see who’ll be in the line-up and whether they’ll play as themselves or as another celebrity, it’s going to be incredible.”​

Kelly Webb-Lamb, Channel 4’s Deputy Director of Programmes and Head of Popular Factual said: “The Circle series two was a great success for the channel – growing year on year, with a massive young share and hugely up on slot across the run. It also was brilliantly and effortlessly diverse and created hundreds of jobs for freelancers in the north. But, most importantly it was funny, touching, compelling telly – and I’m delighted that we’re able to bring it back despite all of the challenges that this year has thrown at us. Expect more incredible casting, bonkers game play, drama, and tears…”

Gilly Greenslade, who commissioned all three series for Channel 4 said: “When we were developing the series three years ago, I knew it would reflect how we live but I never expected it to be quite so prophetic. Now many more of us have had a taste of living our lives isolated and online, I am excited to see the strategies and tactics that the new players bring to the game. I hope that this show will bring some much-needed joy and hilarity to our TV screens.”

Speaking about the scale of the production Tim Harcourt, Studio Lambert’s Creative Director, said: “Our large freelance production team can’t wait to make another series of The Circle for Channel 4 and are excited to be launching a celebrity version for Stand Up To Cancer.  Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, people around the world have been learning the power of connecting remotely. Perhaps in the light of this, the new series will resonate even more for audiences as well as offer them the distraction of fun, warmth and strategy.”    

Martin Oxley, Motion Content Group’s Executive Producer, added: “After the success of last year’s second season, we’re really excited that The Circle is returning to Channel 4. This time, bolder and brighter than ever with a new celebrity run, we can’t wait to see the characters that the casting team will include to help entertain our own enforced televised lockdown.”

The Circle series three and Celebrity Circle for Stand Up To Cancer (w/t) are commissioned for Channel 4 by Gilly Greenslade, Commissioning Editor for Factual Entertainment, Vivienne Molokwu, Commissioning Editor for Features & Formats, and Kelly Webb Lamb, Deputy Director of Programmes and Head of Popular Factual. The series is executive produced by Sarah Fay, Tim Harcourt and Toni Ireland for Studio Lambert North and Martin Oxley for Motion Content Group.

The Circle series three and The Celebrity Circle for Stand Up To Cancer (w/t) are commissioned for Channel 4 by Gilly Greenslade, Commissioning Editor for Factual Entertainment, Vivienne Molokwu, Commissioning Editor for Features & Formats, and Kelly Webb Lamb, Deputy Director of Programmes and Head of Popular Factual. The series is executive produced by Sarah Fay, Tim Harcourt and Toni Ireland for Studio Lambert North and Martin Oxley for Motion Content Group.

Praised for its diverse and inclusive cast in previous series, applications are open for those across the UK aged 18+ to take part in the new series. Potential contestants can apply to take part at www.thecirclecasting.com

 

Notes to editors

In 2018 The Circle was the biggest new original commission launch since 2012, with over 10 million views on All 4.  Series two averaged 1.2m/8.7% across its 22-episode duration on Channel 4, up 36% share on the slot average. The series achieved 26% share of 16-34s, making it Channel 4’s highest rating 10pm series for young viewers since 2010 at the time of TX. Across series one and two The Circle has reached 25% of the UK (15 million viewers) and 28% / 4 million 16-34s.

 

About Channel 4

Channel 4 is a publicly-owned yet commercially-funded public service broadcaster and has a remit to be innovative, experimental and distinctive. Its public ownership and not-for-profit status ensure all profit generated by its commercial activity is directly reinvested back into the delivery of its public service remit.

As a publisher-broadcaster, Channel 4 is also required to commission UK content from the independent production sector and currently works with around 300 creative companies across the UK every year.

In addition to the main Channel 4 service, its portfolio includes: E4, More4, Film4, 4seven, Channel4.com, streaming service All 4 and The Box Plus Network, including 4Music.

 

About Studio Lambert

Studio Lambert is a fast -growing production company based in London, Manchester and Los Angeles producing high-quality scripted and unscripted series established in 2008 by Stephen Lambert, creator of many well-known global formats.

Recent Studio Lambert productions include The Nest starring Martin Compton and Sophie Rundle for BBC One and the second series of Race Across The World for BBC Two.  The company has made several versions of The Circle for Netflix – an American version which has been recommissioned for two more seasons, as well as a Brazilian and a French version Studio Lambert won the Best Independent Production award at this year’s Broadcast Awards.

 

About Motion Content Group

Motion Content Group is a global content investment and rights management company. It invests and partners with the world’s leading talent, producers and distributors to fund, develop, produce and distribute premium content. Motion supports editorially and commercially vibrant networks and platforms by helping meet the ever-increasing demand for premium content, for the benefit of advertisers and its content partners. Headquartered in London and Los Angeles, Motion currently operates in 26 countries worldwide and has a broad range of award-winning programming distributed globally. Motion Content Group is part of GroupM, the world’s leading full-service media investment management operation, a WPP company.

Follow Motion on Twitter here: @motion_content

 

About Stand Up To Cancer

Stand Up To Cancer is a joint national fundraising campaign from Cancer Research UK and Channel 4 that brings the UK together to speed up progress in life-saving cancer research. Launched in the UK in 2012, Stand Up To Cancer funds translational research, turning academic breakthroughs in the labs into new treatments that make a real difference for people with cancer.

More than £62 million has been raised in the UK to date, funding 52 clinical trials and projects involving 11,000 cancer patients across the country. Research projects include the development of pioneering technology to detect super low levels of cancerous DNA in blood to improve the way we diagnose ovarian cancer, developing a new immunotherapy drug to boost the power of the immune system against cancer, exploring an entirely new approach to treating bowel cancer, and much more.

Stars such as Naomi Campbell, Noel Gallagher, Tom Hardy, Gillian Anderson, Idris Elba, Andy Murray, James Corden, Martin Freeman, Jamie Oliver, Richard Ayoade, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Peter Crouch, Abbey Clancy, Danny Dyer, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson, Lily James, Rosamund Pike, Sophie Turner, Stephen Graham, Toby Jones, Maya Jama, Joe Lycett and Roman Kemp are just some of the talent who have supported Stand Up To Cancer .

To find out more about fundraising activities visit channel4.co.uk/SU2C or follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram