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C5 orders raft of historical titles

ViacomCBS-owned UK terrestrial Channel 5 has commissioned seven new factual history programmes.

Ben Frow

All3Media-owned Lion TV has been commissioned to produce four of the shows, with a particular focus on the Tudor period.

The Lion-produced titles are Anne Boleyn: Arrest, Trial, Execution (3×60’), Thomas Cromwell (2×60’), Kensington: The Secret Palace (2×60’) and Inside Hampton Court: The Ultimate Royal Retreat (2×60’). In addition, the prodco has received an order for a third season of Inside the Tower of London (4×60’).

Anne Boleyn: Arrest, Trial, Execution is presented by historian Tracy Borman and explores the downfall of Henry VIII’s second wife. The programme will document Anne Boleyn’s demise, from her arrest through to her trial and execution.

Also fronted by Borman, Thomas Cromwell pieces together the extraordinary rags-to-riches story of King Henry VIII’s first minister, recounting the knife-edge decisions, secret locations and hidden letters that led to his rise and fall.

Kensington: The Secret Palace is an observational documentary series that takes viewers on a behind-the-scenes tour of one of Britain’s most recognisable royal homes. Inside Hampton Court: The Ultimate Royal Retreat is a new hybrid observational history documentary series with exclusive access inside Hampton Court, the best-preserved Tudor palace in existence.

The other three new shows come from ITN Productions and are biographies of notable British historical figures. Nelson, Lawrence of Arabia and Brunel will run for 120 minutes each, looking at the lives of military men Horatio Nelson and T. E. Lawrence and engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel respectively.

Ben Frow, director of programmes at ViacomCBS Networks International, said: “History is a key staple of our schedule and we’re becoming ever more adept at making historical subjects and key figures accessible to a broad audience, creating exciting event programming in the process.

“It’s testament to the strength of Channel 5’s history output that we have secured special access to a number of historic institutions, enabling us to keep our audience enthralled with all the secrets that lie behind closed doors.”

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