Pigs, poverty and progress all feature in the new slate of documentaries coming from the BBC.
Clare Sillery, head of documentary commissioning at the BBC, has unveiled a wide-reaching range of shows from acclaimed producers, directors and filmmakers.
Celebrating a “fantastic year” for BBC documentaries, which saw BBC Two’s Exodus: Our Journey to Europe win the RTS Programme Award for Documentary Series, Sillery promised that the new slate of programmes would continue to “demonstrate the ongoing ambition of documentaries at the BBC to speak to the now.”
“These new films,” she said, “will take us right to the heart of the cultural shifts happening in Britain today.”
No Limits (w/t)
Six Brits set out on an epic road-trip, tackling the Ho Chi Minh Train through Vietnam, taking in gridlocked cities and rolling countryside. What makes this adventure more challenging than most is that everyone in the group is disabled.
No Limits sets a challenge that promises a different view of Vietnam – and a different way to think and talk about disability.
This 90-minute documentary recounts previously unheard stories of the Holocaust from those who lived through it. Only 20,000 survivors made it safely to Britain, and now only a few thousand remain. The programme pairs their stories with archive material to provide an account of what is known today as humanity’s darkest hour.
What does it take to get on in life? Gifted follows six highly talented young people from low-income families as they live through three of the most important years of their young lives.
Filmed over three years, and airing two episodes each year from 2018, the series will explore the challenges that face these children, and highlight the national story that social mobility in the UK is considered to be the worst in the developed world.
For Richer For Poorer (w/t)
For Richer For Poorer lifts the lids on the lives of the rich and famous – and looks at what happens when those happy marriages break down. In the cases the show follows, the men are high-flying business tycoons whose wives have been homemaker, mother and hostess. But now those women are leaving, and they don’t want to go empty-handed. Divorce law in England and Wales dictates a 50-50 split of assets so many high net worth divorces are ending up in court.
In North Yorkshire, the BBC have been tracking the highs and lows, comings and goings of the town of Redcar. In this warm and honest three-part series, they capture the real life stories of a British town, finding out what home really means for the new generation, and where it lies.
Britain’s Forgotten Men (w/t)
Filmmaker Dan Murdoch has spent a year on the fringes of one of the poorest and most deprived regions of the UK. With poor education, few jobs and high crime rates, life on some of Manchester’s toughest estates is a long struggle. However, amid the anger, resentment and fear, he finds a spirit of camaraderie.
BBC Four’s long-running documentary series Storyville returns with a weird and wonderful array of new topics:
Oink: Man and Pig (w/t)
Oink looks are man’s relationship to pigs. From Peppa to Animal Farm, bacon to black pudding, our relationship with the animals are varied and complex. Storyville looks at why that is.
The Rise and Fall of Geoffrey Matthews (w/t)
From Bafta-winning filmmaker Morgan Matthews, this affectionate and heartfelt documentary follows ten years in the life of Morgan’s father Geoff and his partner Anna.
The Great European Cigarette Scandal (w/t)
Just when you think you have heard it all, The Great European Cigarette Scandal comes along. The darkly comic story tells of disgraced former EU commissioner of health who, a source revealed, fell victim to a vast conspiracy. The story takes journalists Mads Brugger and Mikael Bertelsen from the shady corridors of Brussels to the sunlight beaches of the Caribbean.
Accidental Anarchist – How to avoid the state (w/t)
Former career diplomat Carne Ross had a change of heart following the Iraq war and the death of his friend David Kelly. He started on a quest to find a Better Way- from establishing a farming collective in Spain to Occupy Wall Street via war torn Syria.
To a soundtrack from Alison Goldfrapp, Hercules and Love Affair and John Grant, this programme lifts the lid on the extraordinary lives, loves and losses of gay men and women in the 20th century.
Silk Road: Drugs, Death and the Dark Web (w/t)
Legendary black market website the Silk Road launched in 2011, operating under the avatar The Dread Pirate Roberts, billions of dollars of untraceable, unregulatable drug money changed hands. Investigations by the DEA, FBI and Secret Service proved fruitless as the site made billions out of sight of government regulation and oversight. It was not until a young IRS tax inspector from the drug-ravaged streets of the Brooklyn projects took the case that DPR was finally unmasked as squeaky-clean Austin college grad Ross Ulbricht in a game of cat-and-mouse bristling with lies, intrigue, murder and mayhem.
Out of thin air: Murder in Iceland (w/t)
Telling the story of one of the most notable miscarriages of justice that Europe has ever witnessed, the programme recalls the 1974 murders of two men. Six suspects confessed to the murder, facing long sentences, however when new evidence emerged 40 years later, it became clear that a grave error had been made.