BBC2 unveils factual slate, “Romanovs” series

UK pubcaster BBC2 has revealed forthcoming factual series and documentaries, including The Siege of Leningrad, which details a 1942 orchestral concert, as well as the docuseries Obama. (Pictured: Kim Shillinglaw, controller of BBC2 and BBC4)
August 31, 2015

UK pubcaster BBC2 has revealed forthcoming factual series and documentaries, including The Siege of Leningrad, which details a 1942 orchestral concert, as well as the docuseries Obama.

Directed by The Death of Yugoslavia’s Norma Percy, the 4 x 60-minute Obama docuseries for BBC2 will provide an in-depth look into U.S. President Barack Obama’s greatest successes and failures.

Meanwhile, investigative documentary The Station unravels an alleged abuse of justice. Produced by London-based Raw and directed by The Detectives’ James Newton, the series will interweave layers of unfolding narrative, telling the story of a crime and its investigation. The series examines the details of a historic conviction in order to ask the question: is the right person in prison?

Elsewhere, BBC2 will look to become a part of the national conversation with three investigative series including Britain’s Black Economy, a series focused on exposing how Britain’s black market  worth £150 billion (US$231 billion) a year – really works while detailing the winners and losers; the Chalkboard TV-produced Britain’s Trillion Pound Paradise – Inside Cayman, in which investigative reporter Jacques Peretti reveals how the country’s millionaires operate in the global tax haven of the Cayman Islands; and finally the Max Shapira-directed Black Economy Grafters, focusing on the lives of three of Britain’s black market profiteers: counterfeiters, ticket touts and tobacco smugglers.

Also for BBC2, Ultimate Gladiator sees modern day competitors provided with the opportunity to replicate the great warriors of the Roman Empire. Produced in partnership between BBC Entertainment and BBC Specialist Factual, the series will see contestants living, training and battling under the protection of ground-breaking technology to discover what it took to become an ultimate gladiator.

Three-part series Dance Hall Days will follow renowned choreographer Jack Murphy as he looks to breathe new life into the dance hall scene of the Greater Manchester town of Bolton. The series is exec produced by Rachel Arnold and Becky Clarke.

Hosted by Scottish TV presenter Kirsty Young, The Great History Quiz will pit the UK’s most respected historians against one another in seven challenging rounds during the hour-long special. The program is exec produced by Caroline Wright, with Genevieve Dolittle and Jon Kelly serving as producers. It also features author and broadcaster Dr. Kate Williams; author Greg Jenner; and Dr. Lucy Worsley, joint chief curator at Royal Palaces; author and broadcaster Dr. Anna Whitelock; architectural historian Dr. Jonathan Foyle; and broadcaster Dan Snow.

Finally, BBC2 and BBC4 will collaborate to celebrate key moments in Russia’s cultural history.

Created by Reef Television and directed/produced by Tim Kirby for BBC2, The Siege of Leningrad will recount the August 1942 musical performance of Shostakovich’s 7th Symphony a year after the German invasion that would kill 750,000 civilians. The film shares the story through archival footage and first-hand testimony.

The Real Romanovs: Russia’s Absolute Dynasty for BBC4 will see TV presenter Lucy Worsley travel to Russia to expose the story behind the dynasty that ruled the country for more than three centuries. The three-part series is exec produced by Michael Poole.

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.