UK terrestrial channel BBC2 has commissioned a slate of history titles exploring some of the world’s greatest empires and their formidable leaders.
In Napoleon, (3 x 60-minutes, working title) historian Andrew Roberts sets out to shed new light on the emperor, painting him as an extraordinary, gifted military commander and a mesmeric leader “whose private life was littered with disappointments and betrayals,” according to the network.
The three-part series was made by Back2Back, with David Notman-Watt the executive producer, David Barrie the director and Patrick Duval the director of photography.
In The Mystery Of Rome’s X Tombs (1 x 60-minutes, W/T), meanwhile, historian Dr Michael Scott aims to unlock the secrets of a mysterious tomb recently discovered in one of Rome’s famous catacombs.
Found by accident following a roof collapse, the tombs contained more than 2,000 skeletons piled on top of each other. The executive producer for the BBC is Chris Granlund.
Also on the slate is the tentatively titled Caligula, a 60-minute doc produced by Lion TV. The film sees presenter Mary Beard embarking on an investigative journey to explore the life and times of Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus – better known as Caligula, Rome’s most capricious tyrant. Richard Bradley is the executive producer for Lion TV.
Finally, The Marches: How A Border Made Us (3 x 60-minutes, w/t) promises to look at Hadrian’s Wall, which split the communities of Britain in two, some 2,000 years ago.
The series is fronted by Rory Stewart and is being made in-house, with Granlund the exec producer.
Martin Davidson, the BBC’s commissioning editor for history and business – who ordered the programs – said: “These thoughtful, dramatic, highly colored views of our past offer great stories, great arguments and great characters.
“Each of these programs takes audiences on a fascinating journey and along the way they’ll shed a new light on periods of history we think we know so well.”