From 2025 moon landings to revisiting D-Day, BBC Factual has commissioned three new docuseries exploring some of the most significant historic and future events.
Each title uses a blend of technology, new and old, to tell stories that stretch decades, sometimes centuries, over human history.
D-Day: The Unheard Tapes (working title) will recreate the “biggest seaborne invasion in history,” telling the stories of the men, women and children who experienced it first-hand. The three-part documentary comes from the creators of AIDS: The Unheard Tapes, and follows a similar format.
As the title suggests, their story will be told through unheard audio tapes preserved from those who partook in the invasion. Actors will lip-synch the audio, combined with footage from the event, to emulate the real fear, panic, and victory that was felt by those present. Being broadcast in 2024, the series will coincide with D-Day’s 80th anniversary.
Simon Young, BBC Factual Commissioning’s Head of History, says: “This is a genuinely fresh and innovative way in to one of the most iconic periods in modern history. D-Day didn’t happen in black and white, nor was it a one-sided tale of Allied genius. By bringing the events of that day to life with real words recast as interview testimony, this series brings us closer to those men and women who lived through it.”
Paleoanthropologist and presenter Ella Al-Shamahi (Neanderthals: Meet Your Ancestors) will be tackling an anthropological question: how mankind became the most advanced and dominant animal on Earth.
Although the grand majority of human life happened before history was recorded, new scientific advancements allow a better insight into our unknown past. Coupled with new fossil evidence, Al-Shamahi will tell a more detailed story than has ever been told before.
Andrew Cohen, Head of BBC Studios Science Unit, says: “Human will build on the dramatic story telling techniques of The Universe and Planets to reveal the extraordinary journey we have taken over the last 300,000 years. From being just one of a number of human species on Earth, to a species that has grown to dominate the planet like no other, the series will reveal the very latest research into our distant ancestors and we hope provide a new perspective on what it means to be Human.”
For Artemis: A Horizon Special, NASA will be followed on their next big lunar mission.
Over 50 years ago, man took his last steps on the moon, and since 1972 it has been deemed unsafe for humans to travel that far from Earth.
The new moon mission, dubbed ‘Artemis’, plans to establish a "permanent lunar base" on the Moon, which will allow humans to eventually touchdown on Mars. The first voyage, named Artemis II, will take four astronauts to the far side of the moon and back as a “proof of concept”, before attempting the actual lunar landing.
The documentary will be shot over 18 months, with NASA granting behind-the-scenes access to Horizon, showing viewers first-hand the many dangers and catastrophic errors that are possible with a mission of this scale, as well as the vast number of engineers, crew, and scientists involved.
All documentaries are currently in production for BBC Two and iPlayer, with no release date set.