Doc/Fest ’15: BBC1, BBC2 reveal doc slates

BBC1 controller Charlotte Moore (pictured) revealed a slate of doc commissions on the pubcaster, including Roger Graef's Brett: A Life with No Arms and a three-part docuseries tentatively titled Cancer, while upcoming BBC2 docs include The Mosque and Best.
June 10, 2015

BBC1 controller Charlotte Moore revealed a slate of doc commissions from the pubcaster, including Roger Graef’s Brett: A Life with No Arms and a three-part docuseries tentatively titled Cancer.

Speaking yesterday (June 9) at a session at Sheffield Doc/Fest, Moore listed four docuseries and one-off docs that “broaden the range of subjects and perspectives” on the channel.

Graef’s Brett: A Life With No Arms follows Brett Nielsen, who has no arms because of a drug taken by his mother in the early 1960s, thalidomide, used to counteract the effects of morning sickness. The filmmaker’s first doc on Nielsen was One Of Them Is Brett, a portrait of Brett as a four-year old. Fifty years later, Graef revisits Nielsen and his family in Australia.

The hour-long doc – produced by Films of Record – is about Brett’s life leading up to the reunion. Executive producer on the show is Neil Grant, while the commissioning editor is Maxine Watson.

Elsewhere, the three-part observational and rigged-camera series Cancer (w/t) explores the illness through the lives of people living with it. Produced by KEO Films, the series provides access to hospitals and patients around the country, and will take an “intimate look” at how people live with cancer today. Executive producers on the series are Will Anderson and Andrew Palmer, while the commissioning editor is Clare Paterson.

Meanwhile, All Change At Longleat follows the action as the Marquess of Bath hands over the British aristocratic estate to his oldest son and his wife. The three-parter finds the couple overseeing the historic home – which is host to a menagerie of exotic animals – as they take on a staff of hundreds, two villages, a safari park, and an Elizabethan home.

According to a release by the pubcaster, the Shine TV-made series is “an intimate upstairs-downstairs portrait of an aristocratic family at a time of transition, and the colorful characters that work for and serve them.”

Exec producing the show is Alf Lawrie, while Maxine Watson serves as commissioning editor.

Finally, Black Cab White Cab follows two Burnley taxi cab companies – one white and the other Asian – through the experiences of the drivers and their customers. The hour-long doc will examine racism in Burnley, explore why the town is so segmented, and feature interviews within the white and Asian communities.

The Firecracker Films-produced doc is exec produced by David Dehaney, and the commissioning editor is Maxine Watson.

In other news from the pubcaster, Kim Shillinglaw – controller for BBC2 and BBC4 – also sat down for a panel at Sheffield Doc/Fest, unveiling a raft of films from documentary directors and producers, including Jane Treays, Robb Leech, Sarah Hardy and John Battsek,

Heading to BBC2 is the Grace Productions-made The Mosque, an hour-long doc providing access to Britain’s biggest Muslim community; CTVC-produced This is Tottenham, which examines one of Britain’s “most vibrant and challenging” constituencies; Finepoint Films’ hour-long doc Best, on legendary footballer George Best; and Wild Pictures’ The Divorce Clinic, which follows couples on the verge of separation.

Also heading to BBC2 is the hour-long, STV-produced doc One Morning in March, on a 1996 primary school shooting in the Scottish town of Dunblane; as well as the Spun Gold-made three-part series Living in the Country, which examines rural living through the lens of Country Life magazine.

Finally, over at BBC4, Gold Star Productions has secured access to the Crown Prosecution Services for the three-part series titled The Prosecutors.


About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.