Grayson Perry is on a journey to uncover what it means to be English in Channel 4’s new documentary

Channel 4’s fascinating new series follows Grayson Perry on a journey across England as he explores the meaning of Englishness. 

At a time when the country is witnessing historical shifts, Channel 4 has just announced a fascinating new TV series that will examine the very fabric of what it means to be English. In Grayson Perry: This England, the Turner Prize-winning artist, Bafta-winning documentary maker, author and campaigner Grayson Perry will travel across England on a quest to answer one very specific question: what does it mean to be English?

Perry, of course, is no stranger to exploring matters of identity. Presently, his work The Vanity Of Small Differences, comprising six vivid tapestries narrating the story of class and social climbing, is on display at the Salisbury Cathedral. The making of the conversation-starting piece was captured in the Channel 4 documentary All In the Best Possible Taste, and has since been travelling around the country at both private and public galleries in the interests of it being seen by as wide an audience as possible.

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Drawing the larger public’s eye to the power of art in society remains Perry’s most well-intentioned effort. Previously, the artist featured in another Channel 4 series, Grayson Perry: Rites Of Passage, that followed him across the world as he questioned ideas of birth, marriage and death in the modern secular age. He also collaborated with British families to redefine rites of passage ceremonies that mark these moments. Along the way, he evoked some lively debate as he interrogated traditional customs that have existed across the ages.

Perry’s other on-screen ventures include the 2014 series Grayson Perry: Who Are You? exploring human identity, the 2016 series All Man unravelling the concept of masculinity, and the 2020 pandemic-inspired series Grayson Perry’s Art Club, which returned earlier this year for a third run. 

Now, the artist’s latest series with Channel 4, Grayson Perry: This England, will see him on the quest for objects, art, design, fashion and other pieces of popular culture and heirlooms that will help him create a subjective interpretation of Englishness. 

Grayson Perry will explore what it means to be English in a new documentary

At the end, Perry will exhibit all these objects at an art gallery alongside his own original work. “With all the talk about identity these days I thought it would be a good time to look at one shared by over 80% of the UK population, Englishness,” he said in a statement.

“What is Englishness in 2022? The Scots, the Welsh and the Irish seem to be more comfortable with feelings around national identity. I’m criss-crossing the country trying to weave a picture that helps us understand who the English are.”

While the release date or precise locations for the series are yet to be revealed, the premise sounds thought-provoking. And as usual, with a subject this close to home, the debates are sure to follow. 

Images: Channel 4; Getty

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