C5 lines up “Extreme Railways,” “Behind Bars,” “Big Body Squad”

Factual series on the British broadcaster's winter 2012/13 slate include the second season of Big Body Squad (pictured), and new commissions Dominic Monaghan's Wild Things, Extreme Railways, and Soldiers Behind Bars.
August 22, 2012

Programs about obesity, extreme railway journeys, left-field world champions and bomb disposal squads in Afghanistan are among the factual offerings on UK net Channel 5′s (C5) 2012/13 winter slate.

“We’re covering issues from the national obesity crisis to ex-servicemen in the criminal justice system,” said Jeff Ford, C5′s director of programs. “We’re working with people who have a real passion for their subject like Chris Tarrant, Dominic Monaghan and Sean Wilson. It’s a really exciting time for Channel 5.”

Six original commissions  join the returning series Big Body Squad (6 x 60 minutes), a IWC Media/Group M Entertainment-produced program about ambulance crews that attend to obese patients, as well as a three-part spin-off starring the protagonist from season one, Keith Martin (pictured). The commissions are Soldiers Behind Bars (2 x 60 minutes), Extreme Railways (4 x 60 minutes), Dominic Monaghan’s Wild Things (8 x 60 minutes), Rory and Will Champions of the World (4 x 60 minutes), Great Northern Cookbook (4 x 60 minutes) and Bomb Patrol: Afghanistan (10 x 60 minutes)

In Soldiers Behind Bars, military-trained documentary filmmaker Chris Terrill investigates why military veterans now constitute the largest occupational group in the British prison system. The two-part series was produced, directed and shot by Terrill and executive produced by Christine Hall.

Extreme Railways follows Who Wants to be a Millionaire? host Chris Tarrant as he takes a trip on railways that cross treacherous terrain, such as the Congolese jungle and the Andes mountains, and delves into the history and engineering behind each rail line. The series is produced by The Gamma Project and executive produced by Nina Carbone, Hugh Whitworth and Dale Templar.

Meanwhile, the previously reported Dominic Monaghan’s Wild Things stars the Lost and Lord of the Rings actor as he traverses the globe in search of rare, large and lethal insects, such as a giant flesh-eating centipede, scorpions, and the White Goliath Beetle. The series is a joint production between Wildfire Television and Canada’s Cream Productions. Executive Producers are Simon Raikes, Philip Clarke and David Brady.

Rory McGrath and Will Mellor are the titular stars of IWC Media and Zodiak Media’s Rory and Will Champions of the World, a series about British citizens that compete in weird events, such as pea-shooting and pole-climbing. Each week the duo will travel to a different part of the country and compete in the left-field world championships. The production executive on the show is Helen Nightingale and the series producer is Gerard Costello.

Coronation Street star and cheese maker of distinction Sean Wilson explores the gastronomic heritage of towns in the north of England on Great Northern Cookbook. In each episode, he takes on four competitive challenges to follow centuries-old recipes without the aid of modern technology.

The series is produced by Transparent Television and executive producers are Jazz Gowans and Richard Hughes. In addition, Debby Lee at Argonon Connect, the commercial division of Argonon, has brokered a deal between Transparent and publisher Hodder & Stoughton to produce a book to accompany the series.

Finally, Bomb Patrol: Afghanistan follows the U.S. Navy’s most elite Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit as it trains prior to deployment in Afghanistan and then searches out and destroys explosives in the war-torn country. The series is produced by Big Fish Entertainment with Doug DePriest and Dan Cesareo serving as executive producers and is distributed in North America through NBCUniversal International Television Distribution.

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Jonathan Paul is a Toronto-based writer into creativity, content, advertising, tech, comics, video games, film, TV, time and space travel.