Troubled kids at heart of Channel 4 season

New hard-hitting strand: 'Britain's Forgotten Children'

LONDON -- Channel 4 is putting troubled children at the heart of its spring/summer season, with a hard-hitting strand, "Britain's Forgotten Children," focusing on what happens when children are raised by the state.

The season will include actress Samantha Morton's directorial debut, "The Unloved," a semi-autobiographical drama about what happens to a young girl growing up in a children's home. While in "Adopt Me," the broadcaster will examine why a quarter of the 4,000 children up for adoption every year fail to find a home.

In "The Homecoming," a film for the "Cutting Edge" documentaries strand, journalist Rachel Roberts explores the repercussions for children of being in care, while Rageh Omaar also will report on the subject in a special edition of "Dispatches."

Drama highlights for the season include "Endgame," a feature-length political thriller starring William Hurt, inspired by the secret talks between Afrikaners and ANC exiles that took place in the late 1980s in the unlikely setting of an English country house.

Channel 4 also will air the HBO series "Generation Kill," and George Clooney will make his much-heralded guest appearance in the 15th and final season of "ER."

The network also will carry the television premiere of "Hunger," artist and first-time film director Steve McQueen's account of the Irish Republican Army hunger strike and its leader Bobby Sands.

Factual highlights include "Generation XXL," which examines how children's lives are affected by the fact that almost a quarter are obese by the time they start school and follows seven obese children for the next 10 years of their lives.

In "Henry VIII: The Mind of a Tyrant," which marks the 500th anniversary of his accession, historian David Starkey goes beyond the myth of Britain's most infamous king, while in "1066: The Battle for Middle Earth," Channel 4 tells the story of the Norman Conquest through the eyes of the ordinary men who fought for the land.

The summer season also will see chef Gordon Ramsay embark on a gastronomic tour of India in "Gordon's Great Escape" as well as the return of "Big Brother."