Channel 4 has today announced its most ambitious ever plans for coverage of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, including a multi-location studio format and an all-star presenting team for the forthcoming Games.
The UK Paralympic broadcaster will broadcast over 300 hours and have a unique multi-location presentation model with its Paralympic Breakfast Show and morning sports competition coming live from Leeds, where the broadcaster’s National HQ is based.
The Highlights show will then come to UK audiences from Tokyo, before returning to Leeds for an early evening show celebrating ParalympicsGB medals of the day, followed by The Last Leg, which will be broadcast to audiences daily from London. Live overnight sport then comes from Japan.
In a first for the broadcaster, More 4 will be a dedicated team sports channel live from Tokyo which will see matches featuring ParalympicsGB teams in wheelchair rugby and wheelchair basketball.
Channel 4’s Tokyo Paralympics coverage will be produced by Whisper and sponsored by Toyota. The broadcaster has established itself since London 2012 with a world class presenting team featuring disabled presenters – and for the Tokyo Games Channel 4 will feature the largest number of disabled presenters ever seen on UK television (over 70 per cent).
The team bringing the Paralympics to UK audiences include Ade Adepitan helming the Highlights show from Tokyo, and established presenters including Sophie Morgan, JJ Chalmers and Ed Jackson will be joined Lee McKenzie and Vick Hope reporting from Japan.
In the UK Clare Balding will present live sport finals from Leeds, which take place UK morning time, whilst Arthur Williams and Steph McGovern will head up a daily Paralympics Breakfast Show from the same location.
The Last Leg, produced by Open Mike, will also be placed at the heart of Channel 4’s prime time schedule throughout the entirety of the Tokyo Paralympic Games, bringing together top-level sporting action and award-winning entertainment. Adam Hills, Alex Brooker and Josh Widdicombe will present their show daily from London and will be joined by Rosie Jones reporting from Tokyo.
Experienced pundits bringing sports action include Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson, Steve Brown, Liam Malone, Danny Crates and Liz Johnson.
Channel 4 has multi-platform broadcast rights within the UK and for the first time will have an unparalleled commitment of 16 live streams on its Paralympics Microsite, showing over 1,000 hours – meaning more live sport than ever before will be available to audiences.
Channel 4’s director of programmes Ian Katz said: “Channel 4 has long played a fundamental role in bringing a global audience to the Paralympic Games and for shifting perceptions of disabled people through our significant investment in coverage and award-winning marketing campaigns for London 2012 and Rio 2016.
“Now we’re finally able to get excited about bringing the long-awaited Tokyo 2020 Paralympics to UK viewers with even more coverage than ever before across multiple platforms, from multiple locations and hosted by a stellar presenting team.
“We’re looking forward to bringing the best coverage possible to the British public so we can all get behind ParalympicsGB and celebrate their success in Tokyo.”
The delayed Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games will see the broadcaster build on its acclaimed coverage of London 2012 and Rio 2016 which broke UK viewing records for Paralympic sport. London 2012 reached 69 per cent of the population.
Channel 4 aspires to maintain its prized position as a world leader in inclusion and accessibility and Tokyo 2020 will be the most accessible Paralympics ever.
Channel 4 and More 4 will carry live subtitles and the Opening Ceremony will have live signing and live enhanced open AD/commentary simulcast on 4Seven. The majority of content on the Paralympics Microsite will also have subtitles.
Between 2012 and 2016 Channel 4 showcased more hours of Paralympic sport than any other broadcaster in history and created household names of both athletes and presenters. The 2016 award-winning Superhumans campaign was the most shared campaign globally of any Olympic or Paralympic partner, reaching over 48 million people around the world.
A strong season of long and short form editorial build up build-up programming will commence later this summer including Jonnie’s Blade Camp, Billy Monger Changing Gear, which has been produced with Toyota, Sophie’s Great Escape and an exclusive series with Olympic athlete Michael Johnson meeting ParalympicsGB athletes.
The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games will take place from 24th August – 06th September. In 2020 Channel 4 was awarded the rights for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.
Channel 4 Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games programming
- Paralympics Breakfast – live from Leeds, hosted by Arthur Williams and Steph McGovern
- Live sport – presented from Leeds, hosted by Clare Balding
- Team sports – live on More 4, hosted by JJ Chalmers and Ed Jackson
- Paralympics Today in Tokyo – presented from Tokyo, hosted by Ade Adepitan
- Gold Rush – presented from Leeds, hosted by Clare Balding
- The Last Leg – live from London, hosted by Adam Hills, Alex Brooker and Josh Widdicombe and Rosie Jones in Tokyo
- Overnight live sport – presented from Tokyo
Channel 4 Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games & Last Leg presenting team
- Ade Adepitan: Ade competed as a professional wheelchair basketball player before pursuing a well-respected career in television. He has fronted documentaries tackling global issues such as climate change, presented the Paralympic Games for C4 and co-hosted Children in Need.
- Clare Balding: Clare is an award-winning broadcaster and author who has worked on every Olympics since 1996 and every Paralympics since 2000. Clare won BAFTA’s Special Award for her work on London 2012 and continues to present major events in sport, factual documentaries and Royal events. A passionate campaigner for equality and women’s sport, Clare is also a best-selling author of two memoirs and three novels for children. Her latest book, and first non-fiction children’s book, Fall Off, Get Back On, Keep Going, was released in April 2021.
- Arthur Williams: originally identified by Channel 4, Arthur received rave reviews for his presentation of Channel 4‘s London Paralympic Games 2012 as well as being named by Bafta as a ‘Break Through Brit’ and nominated for a Grierson award for ‘best documentary presenter’ for Channel 4’s The Plane That Saved Britain. Arthur has presented and authored a number of leading documentaries on his expertise of military history, travel and aviation, as well Paralympic Sport. In July 2019 Arthur presented alongside Peter Snow and Andi Peters on Plane Spotting Live for BBC.
- Sophie Morgan: Sophie is a TV broadcaster and disability advocate. In addition to presenting the Paralympics for Tokyo and in Rio 2016, she has made award-winning current affairs documentaries, travel programmes and consumer affairs shows including Dispatches and Unreported World. She’s also a patron of Scope & Back Up, a Global Ambassador for Women’s Rights and a board member of Ofcom. Her new C4 show, ‘Sophies Great Escapes’ (w/t) will air later in the summer, following her as she meets extraordinary people in extraordinary places across Britain.
- Steph McGovern: is the presenter of Steph's Packed Lunch on Channel 4. Prior to this, Steph worked in financial journalism for over 15 years and spent eight years on BBC Breakfast. Originally from Middlesbrough, Steph started out as an engineer at Black & Decker. She is a mentor for young people in Teesside and a patron of the charity Rubies.
- JJ Chalmers: The career of the former Royal Marine Commando was cut short following an IED explosion in Afghanistan. As a competitor and spokesperson for the inaugural Invictus Games JJ got an insight into TV and seeking a new adventure led JJ to embark on a broadcasting career. First as a Studio Presenter for the Rio Paralympics and since 2017 he has anchored The Invictus Games for BBC1. JJ has become a key part of the BBC's sport team with highlights including The Commonwealth Games and The London Marathon. Other credits include The One Show, Getaways, Wild Escapes, The Lord Mayor's Show and the acclaimed Documentary for Radio Five Live From Helmand and Back. Last year saw JJ join the cast of Strictly Come Dancing. 2021 sees JJ present BBC1's Money For Nothing showcasing his craft and design skills. Plus he'll be an integral part of the BBC's Olympic presenter squad and Channel 4's Paralympic coverage this Summer. The first disabled Studio Presenter to work across both Games.
- Ed Jackson: Former professional rugby player Ed Jackson is an adventurer, charity founder, broadcaster, speaker, author, brand ambassador and mentor, driven by a desire to encourage others to never let adversity stop them from achieving their goals. 2021 has seen Ed launch his debut podcast, It’s Good to Walk. His broadcasting talents were demonstrated when presenting Channel 4’s European Champions Cup rugby highlights and recent commentary for the Six Nations.
- Vick Hope: Award winning Television and Radio presenter Vick is live on BBC Radio 1 every Sunday currently hosting two shows (Life Hacks and The Official Chart: First Look). She has recently been announced as the new host on R1 DriveTime. Vick has written two children's books and is an active human rights campaigner and ambassador for Amnesty International UK and her local refugee charity Akwaaba. Vick is currently on the Women's Prize for Fiction judging panel and in 2018 appeared on BAFTA winning series, Strictly Come Dancing.
- Adam Hills: As host of 22 series of Broadcast and RTS award-winning The Last Leg, BAFTA nominated Adam is one of the most popular comedians in the UK. With 16 solo stand-up shows that have toured internationally, his combination of positive and uplifting comedy has seen him receive a swag of awards, glowing reviews and legions of fans around the world. An avid rugby league player, Adam can also be seen in the award-winning feature length documentary Take His Legs, which followed the remarkable story of the Warrington Wolves Physical Disability Rugby League team.
- Alex Brooker: Alex began his career as a sports journalist before successfully auditioning for Channel 4 after seeing an advert to find new disabled talent for the 2012 Paralympics. He joined Channel 4 in March 2012 and has been a co-presenter on the multi award-winning The Last Leg ever since. Alex has also fronted two very personal and critically acclaimed documentaries; BBC Two’s Disability and Me and Channel 4’s Alex Brooker: My Perfect Body. In 2019, Alex took part in Channel 4’s Sink or Swim for Stand Up To Cancer which followed his gruelling training regime and impressive swim across the English Channel.
- Josh Widdicombe: Josh is a stand-up comedian and television and radio presenter, best known for his appearances on The Last Leg, Hypothetical, Insert Name Here, A League Of Their Own, Mock The Week and his BBC Three sitcom Josh, among numerous other TV comedy shows. One of the most popular live stand-ups in the UK, Josh also hosts popular podcasts - Lockdown Parenting Hell - with fellow comedian Rob Beckett and Quickly Kevin Will He Score, a podcast about football in the 90s. His debut book Watching Neighbours Twice a Day...: How ’90s TV (Almost) Prepared Me For Life is out this autumn.
- Rosie Jones: Rosie is a British stand-up comedian, actor and script writer who has written for multiple TV panel shows and sitcoms. She recently presented her first travel series for Channel 4, Trip Hazard: My Great British Adventure, and her first children’s book, The Amazing Edie Eckhart, is published this August.