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DocGeeks » News » BBC announces new documentaries, including one on US hate crimes

BBC announces new documentaries, including one on US hate crimes

BBC DocumentariesThe BBC has announced a range of new documentary commissions across their various channels. Among them a series of three documentaries on hate crimes in the US, two focusing specifically on crimes committed against members of the LGBT community.

The films come from a range of acclaimed directors and producers, including Brian Woods, Simon Dickson, Lorraine Charker-Phillips, Steve Humphries and Darren Kemp.

BBC’s Head of Commissioning, Documentaries, Patrick Holland says: “”I want the BBC to be the place where the most exciting and acclaimed documentary filmmakers in the UK can come and do their very best work.

“The new series and singles we are announcing today use a range of filmmaking techniques offering unique and privileged access to some extraordinary stories. Whether engaging with big issues like the crisis in the NHS or the explosion of hate crimes in the USA, these are films that will resonate powerfully with the concerns of the audience.”


My Parent’s In Prison (working title)

The number of children with a dad or mum behind bars is growing at an alarming rate. While their parent is on the inside, children on the outside – ashamed, embarrassed, and sometimes bullied at school – can often feel ostracised by their communities, and suffer stigma alone and in silence. My Parent’s In Prison (w/t) from True Vision Productions will shed light on this hidden population and the day-to-day challenges they face. To be aired on BBC One as part of Children in Need in November 2016.

Following a group of children over the summer months into autumn, the programme will explore their diverse experiences and perspectives on ‘losing’ a parent to the justice system. Whether it’s witnessing arrest, saying goodbye to a parent at the end of an all-too-brief prison visit, or dealing with the latest insult thrown in the school playground, we hear about the hidden sentences families serve on the outside from those who feel it most.

My Parent’s In Prison (working title), a 1×60’ for BBC One, is made by True Vision. The executive producer is Brian Woods and the commissioning editor is Clare Paterson, BBC Documentaries.


The Hospital: Life And Death In A Week (working title)

The NHS faces its greatest crisis since it began. There are more A&E admissions, more hospitals in special measures, and higher public expectations.

Now BBC Two is making a major access series inside one of London’s biggest hospital trusts, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust. The Hospital: Life And Death In A Week (w/t) will follow the complex decisions made every day in the Trust and show how they impact on patients and staff across departments.

Stories will unfold across six episodes, told with the patients at the centre of the films – from the minute they are admitted to hospital to the moment they leave. The series has unprecedented access looking behind the scenes where nothing is as simple as life and death.

The Hospital: Life And Death In A Week (working title), a 6×60’ series for BBC Two, is made by Label1. The executive producers are Simon Dickson and Lorraine Charker-Phillips and the commissioning editor is Danny Horan, BBC Documentaries.

Sir Chris Hoy: From Velodrome To Le Mans (working title)

This new film tells the story of Britain’s most successful Olympic athlete of all time, Sir Chris Hoy, and his quest to realise his boyhood dream.

Chris retired from cycling in 2013, and this documentary follows his attempts to fulfil his childhood dream – to compete in the most famous endurance motor race in the world: Le Mans 24hrs.

This observational documentary, shot over four years, joins Chris as he tries to master a completely new sport and ultimately race wheel-to-wheel at 200mph against the fastest professional endurance drivers in the world.

Following him from his first ever motor race, to competing in the legendary Le Mans 24hrs, Chris attempts to fast-track his transformation from cyclist to racing driver in the four years between London 2012 and the Rio Olympics in 2016. Chris will give a unique, insider’s view of one of the fastest, most exciting and glamorous sports on the planet, and along the way, the film reveals a personal side to Chris not seen before.

His wife Sarra talks openly about how she feels about her ultra-competitive husband taking on one of the most dangerous sports in the world. Just when she thought the world of competition was over, he’s embarked on a huge new challenge.

Sir Chris Hoy: From Velodrome To Le Mans (working title), a 1×60’ for BBC Two, is made by Grant Wardrop Productions and the commissioning editor is Jamie Balment, BBC Documentaries.

BBC Three

Love And Hate Crime

At a time when accusations of race prejudice are dominating the US political debate, and the LGBT community is facing new state legislation aimed against it, BBC Three will show Love And Hate Crime, a series which will look at the dangers facing those who are singled out as ‘different’ in the US. These crimes polarise opinion, inflame passions and exposes prejudice like no other.

This trilogy of films will explore three recent cases of hate crime in the US that involve love and passion as well as prejudice. The first will look at the murder of a transgender woman by her boyfriend, who claims the shock of finding out that his partner had been born male made him lose control and kill her. Another will explore how the case of a young man from Texas, killed for being gay by his own boyfriend’s family, has polarised a community. The third film will explore how two white teenage girls from Mississippi on a night out ended up taking part in a notorious race hate killing.

By interviewing police, prosecutors, perpetrators and those close to the victims, these films will unravel the mystery of what really happened in each of these unfolding cases. They will explore the psychology and motivation of those involved, and the consequences for the communities they come from.

The accounts of the witnesses to the events will be at the heart of each story and driving the narrative, with court and police footage providing context.

Love And Hate Crime, a 3×50’ series for BBC Three, is made by Top Hat Productions. The executive producer is Darren Kemp and the commissioning editor is Clare Sillery, BBC Documentaries.

BBC Four

Surviving Aberfan

Fifty years ago, on 21 October 1966, 116 children and 28 adults lost their lives after a roaring avalanche of coal waste crashed into a school and the houses nearby in the South Wales mining village of Aberfan. This film tells the deeply moving story of the worst disaster involving children in modern British history.

Over a few unbelievable minutes, death and destruction were wrought over this small village, and it was a race against time to rescue the survivors, many of whom were buried alive. In this film, developed by BBC Wales, the people of Aberfan tell their stories of tragic loss, miraculous survival and heroic rescue.

Many talk for the first time about the most harrowing day of their lives, and how they have lived with the memory for half a century. We hear extraordinary untold stories of firefighters, rescuers and the children they saved, and see how the people of Aberfan have coped with the consequences of the disaster. This is an intimate and deeply moving portrait of a community that suffered a heart-breaking disaster, yet somehow found the strength to carry on with hope and dignity. It’s the story of surviving Aberfan.

Surviving Aberfan, a 1×60’ for BBC Four and BBC Wales, is produced by Testimony Films and will be executive produced by Steve Humphries. It was developed by BBC Wales and commissioned by Clare Paterson for BBC Documentaries and Christina Macaulay for BBC Wales.


Written by

Alexandra Zeevalkink is a Dutch-born journalist living in London who founded DocGeeks in August 2011 in order to have a legitimate excuse to watch every documentary under the sun. She freelances for various publications and writes mainly about documentaries and the film production industry. When she is not blogging or watching films, she enjoys theater, photography and reading loads of books. She is always on the look out for potential partnerships with other creative minds.

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