BBC Studios Production’s Science Unit is producing a feature documentary on the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, First Contact, for BBC2/iPlayer in the UK and PBS in the U.S.
As technology has improved throughout the past 20 years, our ability to see and hear the universe around us has also improved, and many top scientists now believe there is a genuine possibility we could soon detect evidence of extraterrestrial life. First Contact explores questions about what that life is likely to look like, how we might find it and what it would mean for humanity.
Billed as “a 21st century War of the Worlds grounded in hard science,” the 90-minute dramatic documentary posits what might happen when humanity detects genuine evidence of extraterrestrial civilization for the first time, a “best guess” of what the moment will be like, both in space and with a perspective on how it would affect humanity on Earth.
First Contact was commissioned for BBC by Patrick Holland, director, factual, arts and classical music television, and Jack Bootle, head of commissioning, science and natural history. It was also commissioned by Bill Gardner, vice president, multiplatform programming & head of development for PBS in the U.S. Andrew Cohen is the executive producer for BBC Studios and Nic Stacey is the writer and director.
Said Cohen (pictured), head of the science unit for BBC Studios Productions: “The journey to discover evidence of extraterrestrial civilization has been going on for over 40 years. Here at the Science Unit, exploring the universe and cosmos is in our DNA, so it feels natural for us to make First Contact. Using our track record, and the best in contemporary science, we can tell this story in a new and novel way.”
Added Bootle, BBC commissioning editor, natural history and science: “The search for extraterrestrial intelligence is no longer fringe science. As our capacity to explore the universe grows, the hunt for alien civilization is moving into the mainstream. This is not a film about little green men. It’s a film that blends documentary and drama to imagine, based on the very latest serious scientific speculation, what our first contact with aliens might look like.”