New natural history projects featuring David Attenborough, documentaries on child care and education and fact ent formats figure in the just announced fall and winter slate for BBC Two, which, in the words of controller Janice Hadlow, ‘reflects BBC Two at its most ambitious and distinctive’ and features ‘the greatest range of factual programming on TV.’
BBC Two will launch a special education season as the summer winds down, with highlights including Gareth Malone’s Extraordinary School for Boys (TwentyTwenty), in which the choirmaster/presenter signs on to teach primary school for one term; Catchment (Blast Films), which follows families in Birmingham as they select their kids’ secondary schools; The Classroom Experiment (BBC Productions), in which education expert Dylan Williams tests forward-thinking theories about education in a secondary school environment; the John Humphrys-hosted Mind the Gap (Matchlight); Britain’s Youngest Boarders (Love Productions), which follows three young prep-schoolers and Renegade Pictures’ Start Your Own School, which documents the challenges and triumphs of a father who sets up his own parent-run, state secondary school.
Another special season examines troubled families, with highlights including Neil Morrissey: Care Home Kid (BBC Productions), in which the Men Behaving Badly actor, placed into care himself at the age of 10, examines the impact of the process behind placing kids into care, and Families in Care (CTVC), which follows a program in Chester that places entire families into care.
History figures prominently with several new series. The Battle of Britain will be the subject of a cross-BBC season, with highlights on Two including the drama-doc First Light (Lion Television/Manray Media), which spotlights the story of Geoffrey Wellum, one of the youngest pilots to take part in the battle; the James Holland-hosted The Battle of Britain: The Real Story (Maya Vision International) and a special on the Battle from The Culture Show (BBC Productions Scotland). Elsewhere in history, Lion Television also presents Pompeii with Cambridge professor and author Mary Beard, and a returning season of Edwardian Farm. Other history programming includes the Ian Hislop-hosted The Do Gooders (Wingspan Productions); Behind Closed Doors (Matchlight) and the archeologically-oriented The Bible’s Buried Secrets (BBC Productions, Manchester) and Ancient Worlds (BBC Productions).
David Attenborough presents First Life, a two-part series examining the roots of life by looking for evidence of the first animals, and narrates Wild Madagascar (BBC Natural History Unit).
In popular factual, Ricochet and Millionmedia bring Michel Roux’s Service to the slate, in which Roux trains eight young people in the ways of exceptional wait service. Splash Media offers up A Dream Life in the Country, in which nine couples find out what living off the land is all about. Giles and Sue Live the Good Life, from Silver River Productions, brings Giles Coren and Sue Perkins from BBC comedy The Good Life to a suburban setting to see if they can bring self-sufficient, country living into their environment. Plum Pictures brings Top Gear‘s James May to Man Lab, in which he will attempt to lead modern man to enlightenment through tests and challenges.