Media Road Test: Red Riding

- What's new?

Channel 4 is aiming to create a 'Yorkshire noir' genre with its drama trilogy, Red Riding. Based on the novels of David Peace, Sean Bean heads a cast that includes Warren Clarke and David Morrissey. The first episode painted a depressingly bleak picture of 70s Yorkshire with no respite from police corruption, murder and misery. It was gripping nonetheless.

- What's in it for viewers?

Three two-hour episodes in consecutive weeks is a lot of time to devote to a one-off drama. Although each episode is linked and contains some of the same characters, each also houses a self-contained story, and can therefore be watched in isolation. This could work in Channel 4's favour as it avoids deterring would-be viewers because they have missed an episode.

- What's in it for advertisers?

Red Riding's cinematic quality and hard-hitting subject matter aims it squarely at an ABC1 audience. The first instalment drew 2.5m viewers - great news for advertisers. However, seemed an odd fit as the sponsor; its brief execution did not seem to complement the programme at all. A brand more closely linked to the subject matter might have found the sponsorship spot the perfect conduit to a large and highly engaged audience.


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