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Channel 4 unveils summer schedule of documentaries and drama

LONDON - Channel 4 has unveiled its summer schedule with an extended 'Dispatches' strand, the Julie Burchill drama 'Sugar Rush' and a 100-day helping of 'Big Brother 6' as highlights.

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Mondays at 8pm will feature the 'Dispatches' documentaries, which have increased from 12 editions in 2004 to 28 this year. The run includes Sorious Samura's 'Living With...' series focusing on the African Aids epidemic; Christine Odone examining whether women should be ordained in 'Women Bishops'; and 'The Empire Pays Back', detailing how Britain gained from transatlantic slave trading.

'Sugar Rush' is adapted from the Julie Burchill novel of the same name and will appear on Channel 4 as a late-night midweek drama. The controversial series aims to reveal the "infatuations and embarrassments of adolescence".

Weekdays sees a mix of drama and documentary including the US drama 'Lost', about 48 castaways who find themselves stranded on a desert island in the Pacific, and FBI drama 'Without a Trace', which is back for a second series.

'Big Brother 6' will make an "evil" return to the Channel 4 schedule with an extended 100-day run featuring a record 13 housemates, instead of 12. The 13th contestant will be made to do a week of punishing chores alongside early morning wake-up calls to see if they crack under the pressure.

The newly built house has also been designed to give the housemates as little privacy as possible, with a glass wall separating the kitchen from the bedroom and the living room being a glass box in the garden.

The action in the house will be followed by half-hour highlight shows on Channel 4 at 10pm and on 'Big Brother's Little Brother', presented by Dermot O'Leary at 6pm.

Elsewhere, a collection of engaging documentaries will feature in the Thursday 9pm slot, including 'The OCD House', which follows a real-life experiment involving three people with obsessive complusive disorders and the pioneering treatment that aims to cure them.

Other documentaries include 'Allergic to Life', about Britain's 15m allergy sufferers, and 'Who Killed My Child? The Shaken Baby Mystery' investigating shaken baby syndrome, following real cases to see how convictions are secured.

On a lighter note, Channel 4 is turning to homegrown comedy for its Friday night line-up. 'Meet the Magoons' follows the hilarious antics of four young Indian men working in a Glasgow curry house.

'Bo' Selecta!' star Avid Merrion is back with a new series resurrecting the naughty bear character in 'A Bear's Tail'. Meanwhile, 'Balls of Steel' challenges a collection of comedians to establish their effrontery by completing life-threatening feats or keeping in character during prankish set-ups. 

Finally, 'Bromwell High' is a new animated comedy centred on a ravaged secondary school in London, where three anarchic schoolgirls terrorise the entire establishment.

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