Michael Jackson documentary 2019 Leaving Neverland: Channel 4 UK airdate and all the facts

12 February 2019, 09:52 | Updated: 12 February 2019, 09:56

Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson. Picture: Getty

By Tom Eames

Michael Jackson is the subject of a controversial new documentary, but what is it all about and when will it be shown in the UK?

Leaving Neverland is the most-talked about film to be shown at the latest Sundance festival.

It will be shown on UK TV in the coming weeks, and here are all the important information you need to know:

  1. Leaving Neverland release date: When will it be shown on Channel 4?

    Channel 4 has confirmed that the documentary will air across two nights on Tuesday, March 6 and Wednesday, March 7.

  2. Leaving Neverland plot: What is the documentary about?

    The film features the story of two of Michael Jackson's former child friends, who have come forward to discuss alleged sexual abuse they received at the Neverland Ranch.

    Co-produced by HBO and Channel 4, the special will air in two parts, but made its premiere at Sundance.

    Directed by Dan Reed, the film is about two men: James Safechuck and Wade Robson. The nearly four-hour film includes interviews with both men, as well as their mothers, wives, and siblings.

    According to early screenings, the men discuss the occasions Jackson allegedly gave them jewellery in exchange for sexual favours, as well as times the singer allegedly said they'd go to jail for the rest of their lives if they spoke about their experiences.

    Slate reported that following the premiere, "It’s difficult to imagine anyone watching Leaving Neverland and coming away skeptical of Robson and Safechuck."

  3. What happened in the original court cases?

    Michael Jackson faced scrutiny about his alleged past with sexual abuse of children during his lifetime.

    In two other separate occasions, law suits were filed against Jackson regarding abuse allegations.

    The most high-profile was in 1993, which was settled outside of court and resulted in no criminal charges. The case involved a child fan named Jordan Chandler, while second case involved multiple accounts of child abuse in 2005 and ended with a jury finding Jackson not guilty.

    Both men in the film previously said under oath in court that Jackson did not abuse them when they were children.

  4. What has the response been from the Jackson family?

    The Jackson family issued a statement denouncing the film, saying: "We can’t just stand by while this public lynching goes on, and the vulture tweeters and others who never met Michael go after him.

    "Michael is not here to defend himself, otherwise these allegations would not have been made."

    Speaking to USA Today, Reed replied: "The statement contains nothing that is of concern and no substantial criticism of the film. They obviously haven't seen it, and I'm not engaging with the substance of what they're saying."

    Fans of Jackson have also defended the singer, demanding the documentary to be removed from Sundance's lineup. Sundance released a statement acknowledging the criticism, but added that it will not be removing the documentary from its plans.

    Appearing on Good Morning Britain, Michael's brother Jermaine also dismissed the film, saying: "Michael was tried by a jury of his peers and he was acquitted."

    He added: "There was no real evidence, there was nothing there and I will say this - our family are tired."

    Channel 4 has also dismissed requests by the Jackson estate to pull the documentary from UK screens.

    Channel 4 said: “Channel 4 viewers will make their own judgement about the testimony of the two victims interviewed in the film.”

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