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BBC2 acquires Samuel L. Jackson slavery series “Enslaved”

London-based superindie Fremantle has sent its forthcoming docuseries Enslaved: The Lost History of the Transatlantic Slave Trade to British pubcaster BBC2. Narrated by Academy Award-nominated actor Samuel L. Jackson (Pulp Fiction, The Hateful Eight), the ...
August 21, 2020

London-based superindie Fremantle has sent its forthcoming docuseries Enslaved: The Lost History of the Transatlantic Slave Trade to British pubcaster BBC2.

Narrated by Academy Award-nominated actor Samuel L. Jackson (Pulp FictionThe Hateful Eight), the series, reversioned for the BBC as a 4 x 60-minute program, will utilize new diving technologies including advanced 3D mapping and ground-penetrating radar to examine sunken slave ships on three continents responsible for transporting more than 12 million kidnapped people who were sold into slavery.

Dive sites include the UK, the Caribbean and Florida where experienced dive teams will locate ships that sank and drowned the enslaved humans aboard. Experts will also navigate the land across Ghana, England and the Americas to investigate the stories left behind.

The series also marks 400 years since the first African person was brought to the New World as a slave.

Enslaved is directed by Simcha Jacobovici. It is produced by Ric Esther Bienstock, Sarah Sapper and Felix Golubev, and executive produced by Samuel L. Jackson, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Eli Selden, Rob Lee, Jacobovici, Bienstock,  Sapper and Yaron Niski.

Enslaved will premiere in the U.S. via Epix and in Canada on the CBC as a six-part series. Epix will air the series in September, while the CBC has slated it for October.

BBC2 controller Patrick Holland and Mandy Chang, commissioning editor and head of factual acquisitions, ordered the series.

Enslaved is coproduced by Toronto’s Associated Producers and London’s Cornelia Street Productions, in association with Canadian pubcaster CBC and Canada’s documentary Channel, and Epix in the U.S.

It’s also produced in association with Anonymous Content, along with Samuel and LaTanya Jackson’s television prodco UppiTV.

Fremantle handles the international distribution of both the 6 x 60-minute and the 4 x 60-minute versions.

Patrick Holland, Controller, BBC Two, said in a statement: “I had the privilege to meet with Samuel L. Jackson, Afua Hirsch and Simcha Jacobovici at the start of their production last year and I was determined to bring their essential, hugely ambitious and important series to the BBC. These are stories that demand to be told and which sit at the very centre of our shared history.”

Jamie Lynn, EVP, head of EMEA distribution who brokered the deal at Fremantle said: “With Black History Month just weeks away, it’s a real privilege to be able to announce such a pertinent partnership with the BBC and create a platform for audiences young and old across the UK to engage with this landmark series. British viewers will also be fascinated to see Bristol’s role in this history, as writer and broadcaster Afua Hirsch visits the now infamous – and since toppled – statue of Edward Colston. With impressive and ground-breaking production values, this is an unmissable look at a near lost history.”

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 HMV.com. 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.

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