Matchlight sparks six hours of BBC commissions

BBC2 and BBC4 have commissioned Glasgow-based Matchlight for three history and arts films, with subject matter ranging from Jane Austen to foreign interventions in Afghanistan, to the Queen of England. (Pictured: Dr. Helen Castor, presenter for She Wolves)
June 23, 2011

BBC2 and BBC4 have commissioned Glasgow-based producer Matchlight for three history and arts films, with subject matter ranging from Jane Austen to foreign interventions in Afghanistan, to the Queen of England.

Matchlight, a joint venture with DCD Media, is producing The Prime of Miss Jane Austen for BBC 2, just in time for the 200th anniversary of the publication of Austen’s first novel Sense and Sensibility. The one-hour doc, hosted by Professor Amanda Vickery, delves into how different periods and generations have looked for their own reflections in the characters and plots of Austen’s novels.

In the two-part, one-hour BBC2 doc The Great Game, Rory Stewart brings his expertise from his time as a soldier, diplomat and historian to tell the story of two centuries of foreign intervention in Afghanistan. The doc will delve into the British intervention in the 19th Century through to the Soviet and U.S. interventions of the ’80s.  Stewart will explore what was learned in history that can apply to the current occupation of Afghanistan.

Lastly, in the three-part, one-hour BBC4 doc She Wolves, Matchlight explores how Queen Elizabeth moved from being the wife of a king to a monarch. Presented by Dr. Helen Castor, historian of medieval England,  the program also examines the lives of other powerful medieval England queens, including Eleanor of Aquitaine, Isabella of France, Margaret of Anjou, Lady Jane Grey and Mary Tudor.

All of the programs will be distributed internationally by DCD Rights and are due to premiere on the BBC this winter.

This marks the second time Matchlight has teamed up with Amanda Vickery (BBC2′s At Home with the Georgians) and Rory Stewart (BBC‘s The Legacy of Lawrence of Arabia).

Matchlight’s creative director, Ross Wilson, said, “It’s a real pleasure to be working again with Amanda and Rory on such high profile commissions and in Helen Castor I think we have found a new and very interesting partner. All three excel at making history that is sharp, engaging and approachable.”

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