Animal rights, illegal drugs, and Indonesian tribal life are among the subjects that will be investigated in five new documentaries commissioned by the BBC.
Speaking about the films, to be shows on BBC One, Two, Three and Four, Patrick Holland, BBC Head of Commissioning, Documentaries, said: “We are delighted to announce such a diverse and distinctive range of films from such a terrific group of programme-makers. The variety of stories and filmmaking approaches shows the ambition we have at BBC Documentaries. What unites these projects is the desire to find the very best ways to tell the most important and engaging stories."
Storyville’s Unlocking The Cage, ordered for BBC Four, will follow animal rights lawyer Steven Wise as he argues on behalf of four captive chimpanzees in New York State. After 30 years of struggling with ineffective animal welfare laws, Wise and his legal team are making history by filing the first lawsuits that seek to transform an animal from a thing with no rights, to a person with legal protections.
BBC Three’s three-part series Our Drugs War, will take an in-depth look at the growing problem of illegal drugs in Bristol. The documentaries will meet drug users, dealers and those who attempt to tackle the problem on a daily basis, including Avon and Somerset Police, the Bristol Drugs Project and Bristol City Council.
Following the success of Hunters of The South Seas, Will Millard will return to Indonesia for BBC Two three-parter A Year With the Tribe (working title). Indonesian-speaking Millard will immerse himself in the life of a tribe, following the drama that occurs over the period of a year, from births and deaths to initiation rights. Visiting the tribe four times I one year, Millard will go beyond the role of ‘curious visitor’ to open up a new way of presenting anthropology on television.
The BBC has also commissioned Ambulances: Life And Death On the Streets, which will gain an exclusive insight into the work of the London Ambulance Service, which was last year put into special measures. The three-part documentary will look at how the service deals with the challenges of an ever-growing city and its health extremes. The series will use cutting-edge graphics to illustrate the wide-ranging challenges the service handles every day, and the data collected will be used to create a heat map of London’s health issues.
Meanwhile Minnow Films, the team behind RTS award-nominated The Detectives, will explore the American justice system in Florida in American Justice. The BBC Two documentary will look at the reality of the justice system in Jacksonville in Duval County, in Florida’s Republican heartland. It will cover key US legal matters including gun laws, police, race and poverty by following the same cases from the perspective of the rookie cop to the hardline attorney.