Unscripted

BBC ramps up non-scripted production with three commissions

British pubcaster BBC2 has bolstered its non-scripted programming line-up with the commissioning of three new series. The commissions, announced by BBC2 controller Patrick Holland at today’s (Aug. 26) Edinburgh TV Festival, include ...
August 26, 2020

British pubcaster BBC2 has bolstered its non-scripted programming line-up with the commissioning of three new series.

The commissions, announced by BBC2 controller Patrick Holland at today’s (Aug. 26) Edinburgh TV Festival, include the four-part Idris Elba’s Fight School.

Produced by Banijay-backed Workerbee and Elba’s (pictured) Green Door Pictures, the 4 x 60-minute series will trace the Luther and Avengers: Infinity War actor as he establishes an experimental fight school in London to provide an outlet for British youths whose upbringings have not provided them the opportunities to make the right choices and avoid street violence.

Elba will enlist seven recruits from across the UK, in the hope of teaching them discipline, focus and determination. The recruits will live and train together over a six-month period while battling it out against various amateur fighters ahead of a “big showcase finale.”

Idris Elba’s Fight School is executive produced by Workerbee’s Rick Murray and Michelle Chappell, and Green Door’s Elba and Lorraine Burgess.

It was commissioned by BBC2′s Holland and Catherine Catton, head of commissioning, popular factual and fact-ent. The BBC commissioning editor is Michael Jochnowitz.

“It’s a proven fact that in urban areas where fight schools open, violent crime drops dramatically – which is why I wanted to do this project, in hope that we can change people’s lives,” said Elba in a statement. “I want this project to be an ongoing presence that will continue to provide support and education for the community for years to come.”

Also announced is the two-part 21st Century Women (working title), a series fronted by Kirsty Wark which explores the complex arguments surrounding identity and gender while also examining the issue of consent.

The series will also bring together a cast of five women of different ages to unpick the layers and debate what it is to be a woman in the 21st century.

The 2 x 60-minute series is produced by BBC Studios Documentary Unit with Debbie Christie listed as exec producer. Holland commissioned the docuseries with exec commissioner Gian Quaglieni.

Finally, BBC2 will also tell the definitive story of England’s top flight soccer league, the Premier League, in The Premiership: A Whole New Ball Game (w/t; 4 x 60 minutes).

Produced by Story Films in association with Studio 99, The Premiership will offer unprecedented access to players, agents, journalists and business brains to chart the creation and evolution of the 100-year-old sports league.

Executive producers on the series are David Nath and Peter Beard. It was commissioned by BBC2′s Holland and Clare Sillery, head of commissioning for documentaries, history and religion. Hamish Fergusson is commissioning editor.

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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