Once Upon a Time in Northern Ireland

BBC to take Once Upon a Time documentary strand into space

A headshot of documentary filmmaker James Bluemel

Over four parts, director James Bluemel and his Keo Films team will take the same character-centred approach to tell the human story of space exploration.

Pioneering astronauts, visionary scientists and engineers, daring space tourists, maverick billionaires and astro-theorists will all give testimony in the series, which aims to connect the past with the present as humankind starts a new Space Race.

When it comes to the Troubles, Once Upon a Time in Northern Ireland composer Simon Russell keeps the score

Seven children pick through the partially burning wreckage of a bus and other large vehicle. Detritus, also ablaze in places, litters the street

As if decades of sectarian violence isn’t a tough enough topic, the documentary opts to tackle it without narration. The closest the programme has to a single guiding voice is the score, composed by Simon Russell.

When he meets for coffee, he has none of the pomp you might expect from someone whose music can navigate heavy topics with such lightfooted ease.