BBC2 factual commissions include docuseries on Frida Kahlo, Jair Bolsonaro

The BBC’s Factual, Arts and Classical Music Television division announced a slate of new upcoming titles for BBC2. First is Frida & Diego (pictured; w/t), a 3 x 60-minute series directed ...
August 9, 2021

The BBC’s Factual, Arts and Classical Music Television division announced a slate of new upcoming titles for BBC2.

First is Frida & Diego (pictured; w/t), a 3 x 60-minute series directed by Louise Lockwood about Frida Kahlo, one of the most famous female artists of the 20th century. The documentary covers her personal and political life, her provocative and radical art, and her relationship with Diego Rivera, while examining her impact on art, globally. The series is a Rogan Films production, with James Rogan, Nancy Bornat and Mark Hedgecoe executive producing.

BBC2 will also air Black Art Matters (w/t), a 4 x 60-minute series examining how African American creativity has transformed popular culture. The series examines how people express themselves through language, style and music. Black Art Matters is the first series commission for BBC Small Indie Fund company Milk And Honey Productions. Lucy Pilkington is the series’ executive producer, and it will be made in association with Afua Hirsch and her prodco, Born In Me.

Another upcoming factual series announced recently by the BBC is Union with David Olusoga (w/t), a 5 x 60-minute title tracking the history of union and disunion in the UK. Issues between home nations, and through social class and inequality are discussed, along with England’s north-south divide and the historic dominance of London. The series is an Uplands Television production, with Mike Smith executive producing.

The pubcaster will also air The Bolsonaros (w/t), a 3 x 60-minute project that uses intimate interviews with those closest to Brazil president Jair Bolsonaro. The series tracks his rise from obscurity to his presidency, his controversial views on gender, Indigenous rights and the Amazon, and his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. The series is being made by the BBC Studios Productions’ Documentary Unit with Ricardo Pollack executive producing, Raquel Toniolo as series producer and Matt Hill as series director.

The documentary Michael Tippett: A Child of His Time (w/t) is set to air from filmmaker John Bridcut. Tippett, a British composer and activist, will be discussed in the psychological and musical portrait. Specially-filmed performances of his music from leading artists will be featured, interwoven with Tippett’s own story told by contributors and through past interviews with Tippett himself. The 90-minute film is a Crux Productions Limited film.

Finally the 5 x 60-minute series Earth (w/t) tells the four-billion-year story of our planet. English TV presenter Chris Packham will host the series which will use cutting-edge CGI to allow viewers to witness dramatic moments when the Earth’s future hung in the balance including bombardments from space, extreme climate change and continent collisions. Packham will also present scientific research showing the lasting impact intelligent life has had on Earth. The series is being made by BBC Studios Productions’ Science Unit, with Rob Liddell and Andrew Cohen executive producing.

“The BBC’s commitment to premium factual, arts and classical music programming is unique in the UK and central to our public service mission for all audiences,” said Patrick Holland, BBC director of Factual, Arts & Classical Music, in a news release.

“These commissions build on the unrivaled series of scale that now find their home on BBC iPlayer, helping to create a video-on-demand platform with true specialism that speaks to British audiences.”

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.