Viacom-owned Channel 5′s upcoming slate of history programming will delve into the personal lives of various royals and ancient cities with series that include The Nile: 5000 Years of History (pictured) and The Queen Mother.
Bettany Hughes’ recently launched production company SandStone Global has won its first Channel 5 commission with Egypt’s Top Ten Treasures. Across two hours, the series will feature Hughes as she takes viewers on a journey across Egypt as she counts down her top 10 treasures from the ancient region.
Additionally, Hughes’ SandStone Global has teamed with 360 Productions to co-produce The Nile: 5000 Years of History, (4 x 60 minutes). In the program, Hughes travels on a 900-mile adventure along the Nile, from its mouth to Egypt’s southern border. The series will glimpse at famous pyramids, great temples and new discoveries.
Elsewhere, London-based Blakeway TV has secured two history commissions for the British free-to-air television network.
The Queen Mother (2 x 60 minutes) explores two of the most important and dramatic periods in the Queen Mother’s life: when she became Queen consort following the abdication of Edward VIII, and her search for her new role after the death of her husband. The two-part program explores the Queen Mum with testimonies from friends, former staff and royal experts, rarely seen archive, private letters and diary entries.
Tony Robison, meanwhile, will delve into the great eras in British history as seen and experienced by the working class in Tony Robinson’s History of Britain (4 x 60 minutes). Robinson will examine how the decisions made in the courts, palaces and parliaments affected and influenced the lives of ordinary men and women.
Channel 5 has commissioned UK indie Voltage TV for two commissions: Pompeii: What Happened Next (1 x 90 minutes) and a stripped event piece tentatively titled The Tutankhamun Legacy (3 x 60 minutes).
The 90-minute Pompeii: What Happened Next will see host Dan Snow and archaeologist Raksha Dave head to the ancient Italian city to uncover the untold story of the aftermath of the volcanic eruption in 79 AD, from the immediate reaction of the Roman Empire to the fleeing survivors. The special will also look at the site’s official rediscovery hundreds of years later and its continued excavation today.
In The Tutankhamun Legacy Snow, Dave and John Sergeant head to the land of the Pharaohs for a fresh look at one of the most iconic figures in ancient history; Tutankhamun. Across three nights, the series follows the trio as they forensically explore the final days of the Pharaoh and the discovery of his tomb centuries later.
All programs were commissioned by Lucy Willis, factual commission editor, Channel 5.