BBC orders “UK’s Best Part-time Band,” five docs

The UK pubcaster has commissioned a primetime series in search of The UK's Best Part-time Band (pictured), as well as five docs from BBC Studios, Keo Films, Pennebaker Hegedus Films, Minnow Films and Dragonfly Productions.
May 17, 2016

UK pubcaster BBC has commissioned a primetime series set to follow Welsh comedian Rhod Gilbert as he navigates the country in search of The UK’s Best Part-time Band (pictured).

In each regional episode, Gilbert is accompanied by a British music legend to visit bands playing in rehearsal spaces, pubs, barns and bedrooms with each road trip culminating in a regional battle of the bands.

The series, which is produced by Wall to Wall, will broadcast on BBC4 with the Grand Final to be aired across BBC2.

The comedian will be accompanied by Ultravox front-man Midge Ure in Glasgow, Northern Ireland and Wales; former New Order and Joy Division bassist Peter Hook in Northern England; and Soul II Soul producer Jazzie B in the county’s south.

Mark Saben serves as executive producer. Series producer is Tom Willis and series director is Stuart Pender. Leanne Klein is chief executive of Wall to Wall Media.

Elsewhere, the BBC has ordered a raft of documentaries touching on assorted subjects including the American justice system, the London Ambulance Service and the drugs trade in Bristol.

The 3 x 60-minute ob-doc Ambulances: Life and Death on the Streets from Endemol Shine Group-owned prodco Dragonfly Productions will offer an in-depth look into the call handlers and ambulance workers of London as they attempt to prioritize urgent cases in order to save lives.

The docuseries, which will air on BBC1, is exec produced by Dragonfly’s Emma Loach and Simon Ford.

London-based indie Minnow Films, meanwhile, will explore the American justice system through the lens of Jacksonville, Florida with BBC2′s American Justice. The doc will provide an inside look into the criminal justice system with access to the criminal courthouse, the sheriff’s office, county jail, public defender and the state attorney. Minnow’s Colin Barr serves as executive producer.

BBC2′s tentatively titled A Year with the Tribe, meanwhile, will follow TV presenter Will Millard as he travels to Indonesia to integrate himself into the community of a single tribe. The three-part series is exec produced by William Anderson and Andrew Palmer for Keo Films.

Our Drugs War, a 3 x 60-minute series for BBC3, will shadow drug users, abusers, dealers and law enforcement officials in the city of Bristol. BBC Studios’ Sacha Mirzoeff serves as executive producer.

Finally, BBC4 will air DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus’ Unlocking the Cage in its ‘Storyville’ strand. The film traces animal rights lawyer Steven Wise as he fights for the rights of captive chimpanzees in New York State. The executive producer is Frazer Pennebaker for Pennebaker Hegedus Films. Unlocking the Cage held its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January.

“The variety of stories and filmmaking approaches shows the ambition we have at BBC Documentaries,” said Patrick Holland, the BBC’s head of documentary commissioning, in a statement. “What unites these projects is the desire to find the very best ways to tell the most important and engaging stories.”

About The Author
Daniele Alcinii is a news reporter at realscreen, the leading international publisher of non-fiction film and television industry news and content. He joins the rs team with journalism experience following a stint out west with Sun Media in Edmonton's Capital Region, and communications work in Melbourne, Australia and Toronto. You can follow him on Twitter at @danielealcinii.