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How Do You Look?

Another week at Channel 4, and some more remarkable programming.

After the hugely entertaining (somewhat overdressed) Big Fat Gypsy Weddings and the highly educational (somewhat underdressed) Joy of Teen Sex, this week’s new arrivals are more serious in tone.

Wednesday sees the launch of Beauty and the Beast: The Ugly Face of Prejudice. This series investigates the extremes of discrimination by bringing together two people often defined by the way they look: one has a facial disfigurement, the other an intense preoccupation with their appearance.

What do our faces give away, and what do they hide? And how often do first impressions lie, or at least economise the truth?

Our online game aims to test the reliability of opinions based on appearance alone by evaluating your snap judgements of total strangers. Come and have a go if you think you’re unbiased enough…

Also on the site, you can take part in a Body Confidence Test, which has been created in association with The Centre for Appearance Research, to investigate how body confidence issues can impact on our everyday lives.

One suprising stat that has emerged so far: 69.2% of men often wish they looked like someone else. (And that’s not even counting the ones in police line-ups…)

There’s also brand new drama this week on Channel 4 when The Promise launches on Sunday at 9pm. In Peter Kosminsky’s four-part serial, an 18-year-old girl sets out on an emotional journey when she retraces her grandfather’s footsteps.

The subject matter might not sound immediately contentious, but the location and timing is crucial. The Promise takes shape in one place and two time periods – Palestine following the Second World War, and modern day Israel.

Any drama set against the conflict of our age is bound to generate controversy, but according to Rachel Cooke in The Observer: ‘It is the best thing you are likely to see on television this year, if not this decade.’

As before, it’s all about how you look…

Here on the website, we’ve got preview clips, cast profiles and an interview with the director, Peter Kosminksy. Lindsey Hilsum, the International Editor for Channel 4 News, has written an article exploring the drama’s political background, and there’s even a Twitter tracker to help you explore, and join in, the conversation about the programme.

In the publicity material promoting The Promise, such as the trailer above, the faces of the two lead characters are formed out of the land where the drama is set. If you wanted to know how this sort of artistic jiggery pokery is achieved, this clip should help. Until next time…

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