The WORST Episodes of Channel 4 (UK) Documentaries

Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!

Last Updated: Jan 29, 2021

Network: Channel 4

Channel 4, in common with the other main British stations, airs a highly comprehensive range of programming. It was established in 1982 with a specific intention of providing programming to groups of minority interests, not catered for by its competitors, which at the time amounted to only the BBC and ITV.

Jamie Oliver - Eat to save your life

#1 - Jamie Oliver - Eat to save your life

Season 2008 - Episode 2 - Aired Jan 16, 2008

I have done another show for Channel 4's Food Season and it's airing tonight at 10pm. I'm not usually on TV as much as I am at the moment, but I just really believed in these shows. This next show is called Eat To Save Your Life and basically it's another studio-based show with 18 members of the great British public, all of whom have bad diets. With the help of a doctor and my good mate Jane Clarke, they each learn what is wrong with their diet, what's likely to happen to them if they don't take action and, most importantly, what action they can take to improve their diets. Essentially, it's a massive wake-up call to everyone and offers some practical solutions on how we can all eat better and maybe even prolong our lives. One of the most amazing parts of the show is when the famous German doctor, Gunther von Hagens, performs an autopsy on a 25-stone man who literally ate himself to death. It's not pretty but I urge you not to turn away because the fascinating insight into what our diets are doing to our insides could inspire you to change your eating habits in a positive way.

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Fast food junkies go native

#2 - Fast food junkies go native

Season 2008 - Episode 3 - Aired Jan 15, 2008

Fast Food Junkies Go Native, as part of The Big Food Fight, a season of programming which aims to raise awareness and encourage debate about food production, animal welfare and healthy eating, follows four self-confessed fast food fans as they trade processed food and sugar-laden treats for the diet of one of the healthiest communities in the world.

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Power Houses

#3 - Power Houses

Season 2007 - Episode 9 - Aired May 5, 2007

It says a lot that whereas the US President resides in a massive mansion and the Russian premier has a medieval fortress, our own Prime Minister has to make do with running the country from a modest terraced house. In this one-off documentary, affable English Heritage chief Simon Thurley looks at buildings as manifestations of power and charts the history and symbolism of Downing Street, the Kremlin and the White House and what they tell us about their respective nations. It's full of diverting details, including one neat architectural gag: when he redesigned the state rooms at Downing Street in the 1980s, architect Quinlan Terry included above a doorway, as a cheeky reference to Mrs T, a tiny goldleaf figure of a thatcher. Simon Thurley, head of English Heritage, takes you inside the buildings whose tenants rule the world.Love, hate, treachery, barbarity, and base politics have all left their mark, as the presidents and prime ministers come and go. But the buildings remain silent witness to their deeds, and misdeeds. Each of them is expressive of national character: the pokiness of Number 10, a reminder to prime ministers that they are our servants; the pristine set of the White House, a stage from which the planet is run; and the overpowering brutality of the Kremlin, testament to so many dark deeds, and the line of unchallenged power that links the Czars to Russia's present day leader. The programme enjoys unique access to these places: the Russians even cleared Red Square for Simon, so impressed were they by the Queen's adviser on architecture. And it poses a key question. In the age of international terror, as these buildings defences are shorn up, are their inhabitants increaingly divorced from the very people they're supposed to serve, by the places they work in? The decision to go to war, the decision to assassinate, is now so much more easily taken from within their walls. So are we, just as much as they, prisoners of the Powerhouses?

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Charles Manson - The man who killed the 60s

#4 - Charles Manson - The man who killed the 60s

Season 1994 - Episode 1 - Aired Aug 12, 1994

25 years since Charles Manson and his "family" tortured and murdered Sharon Tate, the film star wife of Roman Polanski, and eight others in a vicious and senseless crime that added fuel to the establishment's fear of long-haired, drug-taking hippies and, some suggest, ended the peace and love era.

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The Devil and Daniel Johnston

#5 - The Devil and Daniel Johnston

Season 2005 - Episode 0 - Aired Jan 1, 2005

Daniel Johnston entered the wider public consciousness when Nirvana's Kurt Cobain appeared at the 1992 MTV awards wearing a Daniel Johnston T-shirt featuring a line drawing of a frog-like creature with eyeballs on stalks and the slogan "Hi, how are you?". It was the artwork from a demo tape Johnston had made in his bedroom as a teenager in the early 1980s. The son of respectable, middle-class Christian parents from Texas, the precocious Daniel gets heavily into music, comic books, home movies and a girl called Laurie. These might seem like the staples of any American adolescence, but as he shoots to fame via MTV and the fledgling grunge scene, he begins to lose his grip on reality and finds himself heading for manic depression, drug use, violence, religious fanaticism and a life spent in and out of mental institutions.

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Directors: Jeff Feuerzeig
Writers:
Ten Days that Made the Queen

#6 - Ten Days that Made the Queen

Season 2006 - Episode 4 - Aired Apr 20, 2006

A look back at ten momentous and demanding days in the Queen's life - days that helped to define what her role as sovereign meant for both herself and the country - from the abdication of Edward VIII in 1936 to the Suez Crisis, the murder of Lord Mountbatten, and the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. Featuring archive footage, eyewitness accounts and interviews with Countess Mountbatten of Burma, Lady Pamela Hicks, Sir Roy Strong, Douglas Hurd and Jilly Cooper. Elizabeth the Second is the most famous woman in the world. To mark her eightieth birthday, Ten Days That Made The Queen will analyse a life which has intersected the most important people and events of the modern age - from Stalin to the Spice Girls; from Dunkirk to Diana; from the era of the British Empire to the age of Big Brother. Ten Days That Shaped The Queen will identify the most significant and dramatic days which have affected the Queen in a personal or political sense, or often in both. Dramatic events in each day will allow us to chart the wider narrative of the changing fortunes of the monarchy and of Elizabeth herself.

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The Perfect Vagina

#7 - The Perfect Vagina

Season 2008 - Episode 8 - Aired Aug 17, 2008

In an age where boob jobs, liposuction, tummy tucks and botox are now commonplace it would seem that women have found a new part of the body to worry about... their vaginas. Vaginal cosmetic surgery on the NHS has doubled in the UK over the past five years and in the private sector there has been a 300% increase in labiplastys, making it the fastest growing form of cosmetic surgery in the UK. In this honest, witty and compassionate film Lisa Rogers tries to find out why more and more women are considering vaginal surgery for either aesthetic or cultural reasons. Through meeting a variety of people including her friends, family, girls who are considering surgery, sex therapists and plastic surgeons, Lisa tries to understand why girls as young as sixteen are requesting this surgery on their labia and in doing so will not only reveal how British men and women feel about vaginas but she will also be forced to confront her own feelings about her own vulva. However, after seeing one woman undergo vaginal plastic surgery under a local anaesthetic Lisa is determined to encourage women not to go under the knife, but to seek alternative methods. ‘I’m trying to understand why a growing number of women seem to hate their vaginas’ she says, ‘I want girls to love their bits, not cut them off!’’

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Other People's Breast Milk

#8 - Other People's Breast Milk

Season 2008 - Episode 9 - Aired Sep 9, 2008

Kate Garraway investigates the pros and cons of cross-feeding, breast milk donation and wet-nursing by meeting some of the growing numbers of women who share each other's breast milk

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Gok Wan: Too Fat Too Young

#9 - Gok Wan: Too Fat Too Young

Season 2009 - Episode 2 - Aired Jan 27, 2009

Gok looks at the extent of Britain's teenage obesity crisis. He talks to the experts and teenagers who have been affected by food addiction and body image pressures.

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Jamie Saves Our Bacon

#10 - Jamie Saves Our Bacon

Season 2009 - Episode 3 - Aired Jan 29, 2009

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My Fake Baby

#11 - My Fake Baby

Season 2008 - Episode 4 - Aired Jan 28, 2008

Documentary exploring the lives of women who spend hundreds of pounds on life-like baby dolls. Loved like real babies, they're taken for walks, cuddled and even have their nappies changed.

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The Rise And Fall Of Tony Blair (part 1)

#12 - The Rise And Fall Of Tony Blair (part 1)

Season 2007 - Episode 10 - Aired Jun 23, 2007

The Definitive Assessment Of The Blair Decade In a landmark series, the policies and personality of the man who has ruled Britain for the last decade are examined by Andrew Rawnsley, the award-winning broadcaster, author and commentator who is widely regarded as one of the most authoritative chroniclers of New Labour's time in power. This major two-part series both provides the definitive assessment of the Blair decade and tells the inside story of New Labour over the past ten years. The series features exclusive interviews with senior Cabinet members, civil servants, generals, and allies, opponents and intimates of Tony Blair, who speak to Rawnsley with extraordinary candour about the Prime Minister's greatest successes and his gravest misjudgements. The series includes interviews with close friends of Tony Blair who have never before spoken on the record and to camera. The programmes deliver a comprehensive, revelatory and incisive examination of the events at home and abroad that shaped the Blair premiership. Rawnsley analyses the political relationships forged by Blair, the opportunities, threats and challenges he has faced from 1997 until his final days at Number 10, and the successes and disasters of his period in power. Rawnsley shows that Blair was hugely daunted by power and arrived at Number 10 with deep inner anxieties about whether he was up to being Prime Minister. He soon found that his promises were not matched by detailed strategies to fulfil them. Senior members of Blair's Cabinet admit to Rawnsley that the Government suffered from a lack of worked-out policies. Blair's closest aides and allies express regret that they too often concentrated on the spin at the expense of the substance.

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The Rise And Fall Of Tony Blair (part 2)

#13 - The Rise And Fall Of Tony Blair (part 2)

Season 2007 - Episode 11 - Aired Jun 24, 2007

The Definitive Assessment Of The Blair Decade In a landmark series, the policies and personality of the man who has ruled Britain for the last decade are examined by Andrew Rawnsley, the award-winning broadcaster, author and commentator who is widely regarded as one of the most authoritative chroniclers of New Labour's time in power. This major two-part series both provides the definitive assessment of the Blair decade and tells the inside story of New Labour over the past ten years. The series features exclusive interviews with senior Cabinet members, civil servants, generals, and allies, opponents and intimates of Tony Blair, who speak to Rawnsley with extraordinary candour about the Prime Minister's greatest successes and his gravest misjudgements. The series includes interviews with close friends of Tony Blair who have never before spoken on the record and to camera. The programmes deliver a comprehensive, revelatory and incisive examination of the events at home and abroad that shaped the Blair premiership. Rawnsley analyses the political relationships forged by Blair, the opportunities, threats and challenges he has faced from 1997 until his final days at Number 10, and the successes and disasters of his period in power. Rawnsley shows that Blair was hugely daunted by power and arrived at Number 10 with deep inner anxieties about whether he was up to being Prime Minister. He soon found that his promises were not matched by detailed strategies to fulfil them. Senior members of Blair's Cabinet admit to Rawnsley that the Government suffered from a lack of worked-out policies. Blair's closest aides and allies express regret that they too often concentrated on the spin at the expense of the substance.

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Miracle on the Hudson Plane Crash

#14 - Miracle on the Hudson Plane Crash

Season 2009 - Episode 5 - Aired Feb 19, 2009

Few people have faced death in a plane crash and lived to tell their tale. On Thursday 15 January 2009, 155 people on board US Airways flight 1549 met potential disaster in the sky over New York City. Yet somehow Captain 'Sully' Sullenberger executed a textbook ditching in the Hudson river and saved the lives of everybody on board. Miracle of the Hudson Plane Crash tells the minute-by-minute story of that day through the compelling first-hand testimonies of those who were there, including passengers, eyewitnesses and rescuers.

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The Nazi Expedition

#15 - The Nazi Expedition

Season 2004 - Episode 10 - Aired Jul 1, 2004

In the 1930s, Adolf Hitler's Germany presented a glittering surface sheen of technological modernity. At the annual Nuremberg rallies, fleets of sleek bombers roared over the upturned faces of the Nazi Party faithful. A system of autobahns carried traffic at speed the length and breadth of the Reich. In Berlin in 1936, a magnificent stadium housed the Olympic Games. But beneath the tread of marching feet and the rumble of tanks on Nuremberg's Zeppelin Field, there pulsed the rhythms of a different and much older set of beliefs, a philosophy that animated the Nazi Party's early ideologues and, crucially, the man who stood behind Hitler himself – Heinrich Himmler, chief of the SS. These beliefs were anything but technological. They were a curious mixture of ancient Teutonic myth, Eastern mysticism and late 19th-century anthropology. Whether Adolf Hitler took them wholly seriously is open to debate. But Heinrich Himmler certainly did. They lay at the heart of the SS empire he created and which became the most dreaded arm of the Nazi state. They were also the mainspring behind a Nazi expedition to secure the secrets of a lost super-race in the mountains of Tibet.

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The World's Biggest Penis

#16 - The World's Biggest Penis

Season 2006 - Episode 2 - Aired Feb 1, 2006

No doubt about it, society celebrates the big penis. Seen as a sign of adequacy, virility and manliness, those lucky enough to be well endowed are heralded by both sexes and all sexualities. As women have always maintained, and men have always thought, size matters, but not in the way that most of us imagine. Sometimes having a Big Johnson is a bigger problem than you'd guess. Meet the men, including the man claiming to have the World's biggest penis, who reveal there is a bittersweet side to nature's gift, and who lift the veil on a taboo subject and to show the reality of what it's like to have what all men dream of.

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Directors: Simon Kerslake
Writers:
America's Deadliest Prison Gang

#17 - America's Deadliest Prison Gang

Season 2007 - Episode 13 - Aired Aug 2, 2007

As the title suggests this film explores the world of the Aryan Brotherhood within the North American prison system. The film looks back at the development of the gang and charts its rise to vicious power and the investigation that sought to bring down as many of the leaders as possible. As such the film does a good job of presenting how violent and intelligent the gang is and it never allows us just to see these guys as white racists, no, that would be far too simple.

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Worlds Biggest Airliner: Building The Airbus A380

#18 - Worlds Biggest Airliner: Building The Airbus A380

Season 2005 - Episode 27 - Aired Jun 16, 2005

The answer to the growing demand to carry more air passengers in ever more crowded airspace, the Airbus A380 is a bold and challenging project. Dwarfing its predecessors, the plane will carry nearly 600 people, and overshadow all its rivals. Recording the craft being built and interviewing the movers and shakers involved, the programme tracks the tense 20 months when the huge plane moves from dream to reality. From the astounding injections of investment cash needed to take it from the drawing board to the runway, to the technical headaches of lifting the heavy wings off the ground, and transporting the huge components to the assembly factory in France, it was never an easy ride. The A380 is only possible because of advances in material and construction techniques, allowing its trans-European team to rival the famous Boeing 747 Jumbo that has dominated the aviation industry for more than 30 years. It also offers comparison with a similarly ambitious scheme which ended in economic failure, and considers what the future holds for a truly heroic project in a world of cut-throat business rivalry and environmental anxieties.

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Bleach, Nip, Tuck: The White Beauty Myth: The Body

#19 - Bleach, Nip, Tuck: The White Beauty Myth: The Body

Season 2009 - Episode 15 - Aired Oct 27, 2009

The Body follows the emotional journeys of ethnic minorities desperate to change their bodies, as well as showing incredible surgery including pioneering limb lengthening procedures.

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Bleach, Nip, Tuck: The White Beauty Myth: Face

#20 - Bleach, Nip, Tuck: The White Beauty Myth: Face

Season 2009 - Episode 18 - Aired Nov 3, 2009

The Face follows three people who are desperate for 'whiter' facial features. We also find out how westernisation surgery is thriving across the globe - from double eyelid and 'face smashing' surgery in South Korea, to nose jobs in Pakistan.

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Waking the Baby Mammoth

#21 - Waking the Baby Mammoth

Season 2009 - Episode 20 - Aired Dec 4, 2009

A team of scientists investigate the carcass of a one-month-old mammoth who was alive 40,000 years ago in the hope of finding out more about the creature's life and times.

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Russel Brand: Skinned

#22 - Russel Brand: Skinned

Season 2009 - Episode 21 - Aired Dec 8, 2009

The cameras follow Russell back stage and on the road in early 2009 as he completes an international tour of New York, Australia and the UK, culminating in a sell-out performance to 17,000 fans at the O2. Combining previously unseen footage of his early gigs, the documentary tells the story of the Scandalous Tour, Russell's rise to fame, sexual notoriety and the media storm around 'Sachsgate' giving a unique insight into the man himself.

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Is it Better to Be Mixed Race

#23 - Is it Better to Be Mixed Race

Season 2009 - Episode 16 - Aired Nov 2, 2009

Before 1967, it was illegal in 16 American states for a black person and white person to marry. Right wing groups on both sides of the Atlantic continue to espouse that the mixing of races is destructive and against some kind of natural order. Aarathi Prasad, a geneticist and mother of a mixed race child, sets out to challenge the ideas of racial purity and examines provocative claims that there are in fact biological advantages to being mixed race. It's a controversial subject that has aroused much opposition from both ends of the political spectrum, but does greater genetic diversity confer advantages in humans, as seen in the breeding of plants and animals, or are lifestyle and environment the primary influences?

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Munich: Mossad's Revenge

#24 - Munich: Mossad's Revenge

Season 2006 - Episode 1 - Aired Jan 26, 2006

Documentary looking at how the Israeli Secret Service, Mossad planned and carried out assassinations around the world on those they believed to be linked to the Black September Palestinian terrorist group responsible for the murder of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympic Games in 1972. Includes interviews with former Mossad agents, experts, and family members of Israelis and Palestinians killed, and re-enactments.

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Withnail and Us

#25 - Withnail and Us

Season 1999 - Episode 1 - Aired Feb 4, 1999

Channel Four's Documentary celebrates the remarkable story behind this film and the impact it has had across generations, rising from cult status to one of the most popular and critically acclaimed British comedies of all time. Featuring interviews with cast & crew including a rare interview with director Bruce Robinson, as well celebrity fans and members of the public, it offers a great insight into a nations favourite.

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