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Channel 4 to double drama programmes in 2011

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Channel 4 logo at Channel 4 Headquarters

© Rex Features

Channel 4 has announced that it will more than double the amount of drama programmes it broadcasts this year.

Camilla Campbell, the network's head of drama, revealed that 31 hours of Channel 4's annual output will be allocated to new drama programmes, as opposed to 14 hours in 2010.

The move is due to the drama department's budget being increased by £20m to £80m following Big Brother's move to Channel 5. The axing of the long-running reality show in 2009 is said to have freed up an estimated £60m in programme spending.

"Channel 4 has never had this much new drama coming up," Campbell told The Guardian. "We want [dramas] for Channel 4 that have impact and scale. Dramas for E4 can be funny and entertaining with a capital E, but with Channel 4 [they need to have] that extra dimension."

Campbell further teased that Channel 4 viewers could expect a range of different drama programmes from both untested new talent and established writers.

"If you are doing your job properly you feel pressure to have ratings but I don't commission for ratings," she said.

"It is not unusual for us to commission a full series from an untested writer. We don't have the muscle to poach talent, we need to grow our own. It's really important for us.

"I have got important things, fun pieces, small jewels, big things. In terms of tone and format I have got all the range I could possibly hope for."

An adaptation of Nick Hornby's teen pregnancy novel Slam and a campus-based series from the creators of Peep Show entitled Fresh Meat are amongst the new dramas heading to Channel 4 this year.

Channel 4's latest drama series Sirens debuted with 1.6m viewers at the end of June.

Watch the trailer for Sirens below:

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