BBC2 have announced a new batch of documentaries. The new Modern Times will build and expand on BBC Two’s impressive track record for producing award-winning documentaries, and provide a platform for leading filmmakers to showcase cutting-edge films which reflect life in modern Britain.
Controller Janice Hadlow says: “The last year has been an outstanding one for documentaries on BBC Two – from the ambition and scale of Keeping Britain Alive and Britain In A Day to the huge popular success of Inside Claridges, The Great British Bake Off and The Choir, we’re seeing a renewed and growing appetite for films about all aspects of real life.
“I’m delighted to be able to underscore the channel’s commitment to single documentaries with the return of the iconic series Modern Times, as well as announcing other new documentary films and series screening on BBC Two in the near future.”
The new Modern Times will build on the astonishing success of single documentaries on BBC Two over the last few years, including BAFTA and RTS award-winning film 7/7: One Day In London, Walking With Dogs, and Emmy award-winning Terry Pratchett: Choosing To Die.
Charlotte Moore, Commissioning Editor for Documentaries, says: “We live in astonishing times and the mission is clear – we want the very best filmmakers to find and tell stories that will illuminate, provoke and reveal modern Britain in all its staggering variety. We want to see the finest directors use the full palette of form and emotion to enlighten, amaze, amuse and challenge the audience. Together this daring range of voices and tones will make Modern Times the beating heart of British documentary.”
The Most recent documentaries to be announced are as follows.
Stephen Fry – Out There (w/t 2×60)
Later this year, BBC Two will air a two-part documentary series exploring first-hand how the lives of men and women in different communities across the globe have been impacted by their sexuality. Contemplating his own experience as a gay man in the spotlight, Stephen Fry sets out to explore what lies beneath people’s prejudices and why some people feel so threatened by homosexuality.
In Stephen Fry – Out There (w/t), cameras follow Stephen to North and South America, Africa, Asia and Russia, meeting people working hard to improve the rights of LGBT communities, whilst also confronting outspoken government officials and community leaders who strongly oppose gay rights. As well as uncovering the difficulties faced by many gay people the world over, Stephen’s journey also reveals an inspiring story of bravery and resilience, celebrating the triumph of love in the face of adversity.
Stephen Fry – Out There (w/t) is a Maverick Television/Sprout Pictures production for the BBC, executive produced by Mark Downie for Maverick Television and Charlotte Moore for the BBC. The director is Fergus O’Brien.
Welcome To The World Of Weight Loss (w/t 1×60)
All over the country, in Britain’s churches and community halls, tens of thousands of people – mainly women – attend slimming clubs every week. Yet, despite the fact that more people than ever are on a diet, obesity rates are soaring.
So does dieting help? Critically acclaimed director Vanessa Engle (Walking With Dogs, Money, Women, Jews, Lefties) follows members from three different slimming clubs over a three-month period as they try to lose weight. With unprecedented access to a number of different slimming clubs, this warm-hearted film explores why we have such a complicated relationship with food and why so many of us struggle to stay in control of what we eat.
Directed/produced by Vanessa Engle and executive Produced by Clare Sillery for the BBC
Piper Alpha (1×90)
On the 25th anniversary of one of the world’s worst offshore oil disasters, BBC Two will chronicle the tragic events that occurred on the Piper Alpha rig on 6 July 1988. It was a cataclysm that killed 167 men and left only 61 survivors, each of whom had to fight for their lives to escape the huge, labyrinthine structure and the flames that were consuming it. The film will look at life on-board Piper Alpha before the explosion and also hears from survivors on how their life changed after the explosion.
This 90-minute documentary will detail the experiences of the men who found themselves in the midst of an inferno that destroyed a rig which was, at one time, the world’s single largest oil producer. There will be testimonies from those who survived, many of whom have never spoken publicly about the events before. As well as using newly released recordings of the coastguards and emergency services react to the disaster. Some drama reconstructions will show how the disaster unfolded and the horror the men of Piper Alpha had to endure.
Directed by Anthony Wonke and executive produced for STV by Alan Clements; executive produced by James Hayes for the BBC and Ewan Angus for BBC Scotland.
Iceland (w/t 3×60)
Over the course of a year, we follow the fortunes of Iceland supermarkets and its maverick CEO Malcolm Walker. Malcolm – who dishes out suitcases of cash to his best performing workers – believes that his shoot-from-the-hip style of leadership holds the key to a happier workforce and a profitable business.
But Iceland faces big challenges – from its competitors, the recession, the horse-meat scandal and the British public’s prejudice about Iceland and frozen food. For the first time, Malcolm opens the doors to his 800-store empire and shares the secrets of the boardroom, the Willy Wonka style food innovations and the colourful life of the stores in one of its toughest years.
Producer/director: Max Shapira; series directed by James Rogan, series produced by Alisa Pomeroy and executive produced by Lucy Hillman for Films of Record and by Samantha Anstiss for the BBC.
The Crane Gang (3×60)
The Crane Gang takes a look at the changing industrial landscape of Britain through the gritty world of mobile cranes and their drivers. Granted unprecedented access to UK’s largest mobile crane operator, this new series follows a range of characters from the crane to the boardroom as they battle to keep everything running smoothly. These cranes are capable of lifting up to 1000 tonnes and are hired by the UK’s biggest industrial, construction and engineering companies as well as by the public.
With a national network of 30 crane hire depots and a massive fleet of over 500 cranes, the series will profile a diverse array of jobs from lifting massive wind turbines, bridges, boats as well as smaller jobs like hot-tubs and million pound sculptures.
Series directed by Rob McCabe; produced by Emma Love and executive produced by Jamie Isaacs for Avalon UK and by Clare Paterson for the BBC.
The Route Masters: Keeping London Moving (w/t 6×60)
London’s population has grown by a million in the last 10 years. The city’s roads are full up. But eight out of ten Londoners’ journeys are by still by road. So 25,000 Transport for London workers now face a daily battle to keep the capital moving. Every morning 8,500 buses carry six million passengers – double what the Tube carries. Six thousand traffic lights control them – and us. Two thousand dedicated police keep the roads clear by racing to incidents large and small. And it’s all overseen by the biggest traffic control centre in the world, which, unbeknownst to most of us, orchestrates our journeys every day.
Filmed over a year, this six-part series from the makers of The Tube is the story of the individuals who keep the system working – from nightbus drivers to road-menders to the controllers running it all. But it’s also the story of our capital now, as the city expands faster than ever.
The Great British Bake-off is also due a return.
Modern Times is expected to return to screens in Autumn 2014.