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BBC orders ‘forensic’ Covid-19 doc

The BBC has commissioned a raft of documentaries, including one that promises to give viewers the definitive story of the Coronavirus pandemic in the UK.

Clare Sillery

Described as a “forensic retelling of the events of a seismic year,” feature-length documentary Britain vs Coronavirus (working title) will interweave archive footage with interviews with many of the key decision makers during the crisis.

Produced by BBC Studios’ documentary unit, it was commissioned by Charlotte Moore, the BBC’s director of content, and Clare Sillery, head of commissioning, documentaries, and will air on BBC1.

The executive producer is Fergus O’Brien and the commissioning editor is Emma Loach. James House is directing and the producer is Claire Kavanagh.

For BBC2, Predator (wt, 1×60′) is directed by Liza Williams and tells the story of the conviction of sexual predator Reynhard Sinaga.

The Minnow Films production was commissioned by Patrick Holland, controller of BBC2, and Sillery. The executive producer is Morgan Matthews and the BBC’s commissioning editor is Hamish Fergusson.

Sillery has also ordered three projects for BBC3 alongside the online channel’s controller, Fiona Campbell.

These are Hometown: Another Killing (6×30′), Digga D (wt, 1×60′) and High (wt, 6×30′).

Fronted by journalist Amber Haque, Hometown: Another Killing explores the tragic death last year of Manchester schoolboy Yousef Makki, who was stabbed.

The first series of Hometown was presented by journalist Mobeen Azhar, who won a Royal Television Society Award for his investigation into the death of Mohammed Yassar Yaqub in his hometown of Huddersfield.

Hometown: Another Killing is a Forest production executive produced by Jeremy Lee. The commissioning editor for the BBC is Emma Loach.

Digga D is the first film from Marian Mohamed, from the BBC’s New Directors scheme, and follows the drill artist at a pivotal point in his life.

Digga D is one of the first musicians in UK history to be given a police Criminal Behaviour Order controlling his creative output, which means he is not allowed to release any music or videos without police approval.

The doc comes from Lambent Productions and the executive producer is Emma Wakefield. The BBC commissioning editor is Beejal Patel.

High tells the story of Michaella McCollum, was arrested at Peru’s Lima Airport in 2013 attempting to smuggle out £1.5m (US$1.9m) of cocaine hidden in her suitcase and how she survived one of South America’s toughest prisons.

It is a Blast! Films production and the executive producer is David Hodgkinson and the director is Stuart Bernard. The BBC commissioning editor is Hamish Fergusson.

Sillery said: “We are living in extraordinary times that demonstrate, now more than ever, the power and importance of documentary filmmaking.

“Looking ahead, the BBC plays a vital role in enabling the very best filmmaking talent to tell the stories that matter to them and I’m thrilled that we have Marian Mohamed from the BBC’s New Directors scheme and Bafta-nominated Liza Williams making new films for us, whilst journalist Amber Haque is covering a new case for Hometown.

“Meanwhile, major new feature-length film Britain vs Coronavirus demonstrates our on-going commitment to films of scale that bring new perspective to timely subjects.”

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