Servant of the People: where to watch political satire with Volodymyr Zelenskyy as President of the Ukraine

The first episode of Servant of the People will air on Sunday 6 March, with more available in full on All4 at a later date

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Servant of the People – the political satire starring current President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy as the President of Ukraine – will soon be coming to Channel 4 in the UK.

The first episode of Servant of the People will air on Sunday 6 March, with the first two series available in full on All4 at a later date.

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Here’s everything you need to know about Servant of the People.

What is Servant of the People?

Prior to becoming President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy was a well-known comedian and actor. He won the 2006 series of Dancing with the Stars Ukraine, and he was the voice of Paddington in the Ukrainian dubbing of the Paddington movies, but his most famous project was the television series Servant of the People.

Servant of the People – or Слуга народу – is a political satire about a history teacher who, after going viral ranting about corruption, ends up as President of Ukraine. It’s a fish-out-of-water comedy that ran for three series from 2015 to 2019 – dovetailing with creator and star Zelenskyy’s real-life presidential campaign.

The third series began in March 2019, shortly before Zelenskyy’s election as President on 21 April 2019.

What role did Servant of the People play in Zelenskyy’s Presidential campaign?

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The series was a key part of Zelenskyy’s eventual real-life Presidential campaign. For example, his political party is named after the show – Zelenskyy currently represents the Servant of the People as President.

The party was registered during the show’s run, and its first leader was Ivan Bakanov, CEO of Zelenskyy’s production company Kvartal 95. Bakanov, a childhood friend of Zelenskyy’s, is now head of the Security Service of Ukraine.

A lot of the initial advertising for Zelenskyy’s presidential campaign was ostensibly for the third series of the show – it was, as he later explained, a way to save money while raising awareness of his campaign, because it meant he didn’t have to declare political advertising.

Oleksandr Kornienko, a leading figure within Servant of the People, has described the party at various points as libertarian (in May 2019), “something between liberal and socialist” (in November 2019), and eventually as ‘creatively centrist’ (in February 2020).

Where can I watch Servant of the People in the UK?

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It’s recently been announced that Channel 4 has bought the rights to air the series in the UK. The first episode will be broadcast on Channel 4 on Sunday 6 March at 10:35pm, with the first and second series available in full on All4 at a later date.

The series will air alongside a new half-hour documentary, Zelenskyy: The Man Who Took on Putin, which attempts to chart Zelenskyy’s rise from law student to comedian to politician.

Servant of the People was previously available to watch on Netflix, but it has since left the streaming service. At time of writing, the US rights to the series haven’t yet been bought up.

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