The Studio Lambert-produced format — which was picked up by Netflix in 2018 — will now be pre-recorded as opposed to airing live on certain days, and the show will also forgo a studio audience. Channel 4 has said the changes are in line with COVID-19 filming guidelines, which were released by the country’s broadcasters last month.
The production will resume shooting later this year in Manchester, with casting already underway.
“The Circle,” which is co-produced by Studio Lambert North and Motion Content Group, will see host Emma Willis return, while comedian Sophie Willan will also resume her voiceover role.
The format, in which “anyone can be anyone,” finds residents living in separate apartments and befriending each other using a social media platform called The Circle. Players rate each other based on whom they like — and dislike — with the most popular players gaining power and unpopular players getting blocked. Once blocked, and before leaving the show, the eliminated players get to meet other players in person for the first time.
A celebrity version of the show has also been commissioned as part of Channel 4’s Stand Up to Cancer programming. That show will see famous faces moving into the apartment block for a separate week-long celebrity edition where they will be invited to play the game in aid of the national fundraising campaign.
Kelly Webb-Lamb, Channel 4’s deputy director of programs and head of popular factual, said: “’The Circle’ series two was a great success for the channel — growing year on year, with a massive young share and hugely up on slot across the run. It also was brilliantly and effortlessly diverse and created hundreds of jobs for freelancers in the north.
“But, most importantly it was funny, touching, compelling telly — and I’m delighted that we’re able to bring it back despite all of the challenges that this year has thrown at us. Expect more incredible casting, bonkers game play, drama, and tears,” said Webb-Lamb.
Speaking about the scale of the production, Tim Harcourt, Studio Lambert’s creative director, added: “Our large freelance production team can’t wait to make another series of ‘The Circle’ for Channel 4 and are excited to be launching a celebrity version for Stand Up To Cancer.
“Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, people around the world have been learning the power of connecting remotely. Perhaps in the light of this, the new series will resonate even more for audiences as well as offer them the distraction of fun, warmth and strategy,” said Harcourt.