< Back

Channel 4 and Sandi Toksvig to explore adult illiteracy in The Write Offs


Imagine not being able to read a text message, the destination of a train, or use the internet. Five million people in Britain wake up to that reality every day with 1 in 5 adults considered functionally illiterate. *

The Write Offs, an empowering and uplifting new two-part series hosted by Sandi Toksvig will explore Britain’s staggeringly low adult literacy rates and offer a group of adults – aged from 22 to 66 years old – a lifechanging opportunity to overcome the one thing that has always held them back.

The eight adults, all of whom lack the basic skills necessary for many everyday situations, have different personal motivations for wanting to improve their literacy. From the 66-year-old town crier who hopes to one day write a thank you letter to all those who’ve supported him to the young mum who wants to be able to help her kids with their homework, all the contributors are united in their quest to shed the shame and lift the stigma around illiteracy.

Each member of the group will receive one-to-one tuition over a four-month period, during which they will also face a series of extraordinary reading, writing and spelling challenges that will put their new found reading, writing and spelling skills to the test. The intensive process culminates in an emotional final test fronted by Sandi and held in front of an audience of family, friends and teachers, will their hard work pay off?

Gilly Greenslade, Commissioning Editor for Factual Entertainment at Channel 4 said,

“The Write Offs is a joyous way of tackling this important issue and will enable our learners to experience some of the pleasures that come with being able to read and write. We’re delighted to be working with Shine and Sandi Toksvig. Sandi’s humour and warmth coupled with the scale of the challenges make it a fantastic Fact Ent proposition.”

Sandi Toksvig added,

“Working on The Write Offs has been one of the great honours of my working life. I have had the extraordinary pleasure of spending time with eight courageous people who have approached their deepest fears with humour and determination. Like me, I just know not only will everyone fall in love with them, they will review what they think they know about reading and writing. I believe the ripple effect from these eight will be astonishing.“

Lana Salah, Executive Producer for Shine TV said,

“It has been emotional and inspiring to see the eight brave learners face their biggest fears and internal shame so publicly and we hope, as much as they do, that their journeys inspire the millions of other adults in a similar situation.”

The Write Offs (2 x 60’) was commissioned by Gilly Greenslade and Ian Dunkley, Commissioning Editors for Factual Entertainment Channel 4. It is a Shine TV production (part of EndemolShine UK) and the Executive Producer is Lana Salah.

The Write Offs will air on Channel 4 in 2020.


Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now