Docs

BBC adds “High”, “Britain vs Coronavirus” to documentary slate

British pubcaster BBC has commissioned five new documentaries and series that, according to the network, aim to bring fresh perspectives to “timely issues” facing modern-day Britain. Anchoring the Beeb’s slate is ...
July 9, 2020

British pubcaster BBC has commissioned five new documentaries and series that, according to the network, aim to bring fresh perspectives to “timely issues” facing modern-day Britain.

Anchoring the Beeb’s slate is the feature-length documentary Britain vs Coronavirus from BBC Studios’ documentary unit.

The 90-minute one-off will serve as a “forensic retelling” of the UK’s response to the enduring COVID-19 crisis, which has killed nearly 45,000 UK citizens to date.

The BBC1 film will weave archive and interviews with key decision makers to explore the impact of the pandemic on the UK’s National Health Service, social care, the economy and on society as a whole.

Britain vs Coronavirus is directed by James House and executive produced by Fergus O’Brien. Claire Kavanagh is producer. It was commissioned by Charlotte Moore, BBC director of content, and Clare Sillery, BBC head of commissioning for documentaries.

BBC2, meanwhile, has ordered a single film from Minnow Films that sheds light on the conviction of sexual predator Reynhard Sinaga.

Directed by BAFTA-nominated filmmaker Liza Williams, Predator: The Conviction of Reynhard Sinaga (working title) will recount the story of Sinaga, who had drugged and raped scores of men between 2015 and 2017.

Sinaga was sentenced to life imprisonment – with a minimum of 30 years – in January 2020 for a total of 159 sex offences, with 136 counts of rape.

The tentatively titled 60-minute film will offer insight into the two-year police investigation into Sinaga while also examining the psychology of sexual predators.

The program is exec produced by Minnow’s Morgan Matthews. It was commissioned by BBC2 controller Patrick Holland and Sillery. BBC’s Hamish Fergusson is commissioning editor. 

Three new commissions will be coming to BBC3, including Digga DHigh, and the season two return of acclaimed docuseries Hometown, fronted by award-winning journalist Amber Haque.

Produced by Lambent Productions, the 60-minute special Digga D will follow budding 19-year-old drill artist Digga D after his release from a 15-month prison stint.

As a result, the British musician has been slapped with a “Criminal Behaviour Order,” which allows UK enforcement officials final sign off on Digga D’s creative output.

Digga D is directed by Marian Mohamed from the BBC’s New Directors’ Scheme, and executive produced by Lambent’s Emma Wakefield. It was commissioned by BBC3 controller Fiona Campbell and Sillery. BBC’s commissioning editor is Beejal Patel.

Elsewhere Blast! Films’ six-part docuseries High (w/t) will tell the story of Michaella McCollum (pictured), who was arrested in 2013 after attempting to smuggle £1.5 million-worth of cocaine out of Lima Airport in Peru. McCollum was sentenced to seven years in Ancon 2, one of Peru’s toughest prisons.

High will chart how McCollum navigated her prison sentence by running a “pop-up beauty salon” for fellow inmates and became known as the ‘Delegada‘, the highest-ranking prisoner in her wing.

The 6 x 30-minute series will provide unique access into McCollum, her family and friends, as well as those closest to the case to provide a range of perspectives on the drug trade.

High is exec produced by Blast!’s David Hodgkinson and directed by Stuart Bernard. It was commissioned by BBC3′s Campbell and Sillery, with Fergusson serving as commissioning editor.

Season two of Hometown: Another Killing (6 x 30 minutes), meanwhile, will follow journalist Haque as she returns to her hometown of Cheadle in Greater Manchester to investigate the murder of a schoolboy stabbed to death in the leafy suburb of Hale.

Hometown: Another Killing is produced by Forest and exec produced by Jeremy Lee. It was commissioned by BBC3′s Campbell and Sillery, with Emma Loach serving as BBC commissioning editor.

About The Author
Jillian Morgan is a special reports editor at realscreen with a background in journalism and digital marketing. She joined the publication in 2019 after serving as the assistant editor to trade publications HPAC and On-Site. With a bachelor of journalism from the University of King's College in Halifax, she also works as a freelance writer and fact-checker.

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