Ever desperate to wrestle the docudrama crown from its Benefit Street competitors Channel 4, Channel 5 has announced a host of new shows today, including the sensationally titled Special Needs Hotel and Meet the Psycopaths.
Three-part series Special Needs Hotel will centre around the working life of Foxes, a residence which employs staff with a range of different disabilities as a form of training.
It follows both new students joining the hotel for the first time, and those moving on from the training programme to take their skills elsewhere.
Meet the Psychopaths will also be a three-part series. It aims to explore what defines psychopathy, including in-depth analysis by scientists into some of the world’s most infamous personalities.
The first episode, aptly named "Psycho Killers", will looking to the minds and cases of serial murderers past and present, including that of Joanna Dennehy, the first woman told by a judge to die in jail after she murdered three men.
"When Psychos Rule the World" will assess historical "super-fuctional" psychopaths throughout the ages, like Hitler, General Gaddafi and… Former US President Richard Nixon.
26 Netflix shows you need to watch
26 Netflix shows you need to watch
1/6 Breaking Bad / Talking Bad
If 37 of your friends haven't convinced you to watch this masterpiece by now, I'm not going to be able to. If not the best TV series of all time then certainly the most entertaining, Breaking Bad tells the story of a cancer-stricken chemistry teacher who throws his hand in and decides to cook crystal meth instead. If you're a devout fan and missing the series, its sister discussion show Talking Bad is also on Netflix and may be worth checking out, if just to reminisce on the weekly theorising that gripped us.
2/6 Orange is the New Black
Taylor Schilling plays a middle class woman who is forced to trade her comfortable New York apartment and Mad Men boxsets for a tough, tyrannically-run women's prison, but it’s the supporting cast you'll stick around for. As well as being very funny, OITNB packs an emotional punch as you learn how the rest of the Litchfield inmates came to be incarcerated, challenging your preconceptions of them. Season 1 is up now, and season 2 is right around the corner (arrives 6 June).
3/6 Trailer Park Boys
A seven season micro-budget mockumentary might sound like hard work, but actually you'll find yourself chomping your way through this hidden gem in no time. It centres on the recidivists and down and outs of a Canadian trailer park, whose daily struggles include scraping enough money together to buy smokes, repelling cats who piss on their weed plants and trying not to pass out drunk in the street. You'll instantly feel bonded to protagonists Julian and Ricky, while their neighbour Bubbles is comedy gold. Each episode is only 20 minutes, get binging.
4/6 Louie (US only)
Start by watching Louis C.K's stand-up Live at the Beacon Theater (also on Netflix) then plough on into this series. It sees the comedian play a semi-autobiographical version of himself gigging, raising his two kids and trying to cope with the world of dating far later in life than he expected to. It doesn't pack a high laughs-per-minute ratio, but that's not really what he's going for in this series. It's more Woody Allen territory really (indeed he went on to star in Blue Jasmine last year), and has a surprising emotional depth. Season 2 is shaky, but worth sticking through for season 3 which is brilliant and incredibly thoughtful.
5/6 House of Cards
For too long US political dramas were all flags slowly unfurling in the wind to bugle calls and overblown final-hour speeches, but this Netflix original takes a much dimmer view of Washington. Kevin Spacey plays conniving congressman Frank Underwood, who will walk over anyone's dead body (maybe literally?) to get into power. Season 2 is even better than the first and watching it is like sitting down to eat a 16oz steak, so dense is the political plotting.
6/6 Arrested Development
Living in a pre-fab show house with his shallow, avaricious family, Michael Bluth (Jason Bateman) is surrounded by fakery. When patriarch George goes to prison Michael must take charge of the family business, which turns out to be something of a poisoned chalice. Very funny and very innovative, though the latest season, a half-Netflix original, may be too meta and ambitious for its own good.
Programme three will be “The Psycho Next Door”, and will look into people with “degrees of psychopathy”, who tend to end up in positions of power or stress like law, politics, sport and neurosurgery.
Other shows set to be broadcast by the channel include Alex Polizzi-hosted Secret Italy – a four-part travel exploration of the country’s rich cultural heritage – Britain's Biggest Primary School, Underground Britain and Saving Babies.
Britain's Bloodiest Dynasty rounds off the new commission. It will explore the historical family the Plantagenets, in a story Channel 5 commissioner Simon Raikes calls "more shocking, more brutal and more astonishing than anything you'll find in Game of Thrones".
"The Plantagenets are like the Tudors on steroids," he said. "Their story is so shocking and brutal, the characters so ruthless and flawed, their impact on the history of this country so profound it's hard to believe they weren't dreamed up by Hollywood. But they weren't."
Details of when the programmes will air will be released in due course.Reuse content