BBC Factual has announced a new set of fact ent commissions including shows from 110% Content, Studio Ramsay, Wall To Wall, Wonderhood and Grant Waldrop.
Catherine Catton, Head of Commissioning, Popular Factual and Factual Entertainment, says: “Factual entertainment at the BBC is in fantastic shape with an inspirational, distinctive slate of programming that speaks to the broadest possible audience.
“The new commissions I’m announcing today demonstrate the strength of the department, with exciting new shows that engage with timely issues and bring some much needed escapism and fun.
“As we emerge from the pandemic and are able to start travelling again, I’m delighted that we’re setting off to the Rocky Mountains with the brilliant Ruby Wax, Melanie Brown and Emily Atack in a revealing new travel series, and heading to a beautiful island paradise with a group of young people looking to transform their lives. Meanwhile the inimitable Jeremy Spake is back on our screens lending his expertise as the aviation industry gets back on its feet.
“Elsewhere, we are putting celebrity couples to the ultimate test in an exciting new competition format and Titch Cormack and his team are back in The Speedshop after a successful pilot.
“Factual Entertainment at the BBC should be all about making you feel a little bit better about the world and I hope that these life-affirming new shows do just that.”
The new commissions
Unbreakable (w/t) is a brand new factual entertainment competition from 110% Content coming to BBC One and BBC iPlayer in 2022.
Seven famous faces, paired with their real-life partners, will compete to prove that they have the strongest relationship.
The cast of couples, representing all kinds of romantic love, will put their relationships to the ultimate test by taking part in a series of mental, physical and emotional challenges specifically designed to push their bonds to breaking point.
Funny, relatable, revealing and occasionally terrifying this series will get under the skin of the competing couples, revealing these famous faces in a way the British public has never seen them before.
Managing Director Siobhan Greene and Creative Director Andy Culpin say: “We are thrilled to be producing this series and can’t wait to put our celebrity couples through their paces to find out who has an unbreakable relationship.”
Unbreakable (w/t, 6 x 60) for BBC One and iPlayer is being made by 110% Content where the Managing Director is Siobhan Greene and the Creative Director is Andy Culpin. It was commissioned by Catherine Catton, Head of Commissioning, Popular Factual and Factual Entertainment and the BBC Commissioning Editor is Michael Jochnowitz.
In this new travel format for BBC Two and BBC iPlayer, three generations of female celebrities – Ruby Wax, Melanie Brown and Emily Atack – are coming together to re-trace the footsteps of Isabella Bird, an inspiring female traveller from the 19th century who has often been overshadowed by her male counterparts.
Travelling alone, Isabella Bird crossed the American Wild West, befriending outlaws, climbing mountains, killing rattlesnakes and facing grizzly bears, in what was an often restrictive era for women in Britain.
Our famous trio are using her original 1873 book, A Lady’s Life In The Rocky Mountains as a jumping off point for their own historic American adventure.
In this fun, entertaining, and sometimes poignant adventure series, Ruby, Mel and Emily want to pay homage to a forgotten pioneer, as they explore the people, places, and customs of an ever-changing America.
They’ll challenge themselves in one of the world’s toughest terrains as they journey by any means possible through Colorado’s wild and awe-inspiring Rocky Mountains. After sharing raucous camp side tales and touching stories from their own past, the intrepid trio will reflect on how much has really changed since Isabella’s original journey.
Trailblazers (3×60) is being made by Studio Ramsay. The Executive Producers are Sebastian Grant, Lisa Edwards and Gordon Ramsay and Series Director/ Series Producer is Jill Worsley. It was commissioned by Catherine Catton, Head of Commissioning, Popular Factual and Factual Entertainment and the BBC Commissioning Editor is Max Gogarty.
Warrior Island (w/t)
Exciting new adventure challenge series, Warrior Island (w/t), follows eight young people who want to reset their mind and body.
Set on an exotic island paradise, the new series for BBC Three and iPlayer, made by Baft and Emmy Award-winning TV company Wall To Wall West, will follow eight young people who feel stuck in a rut as they are cut off from the modern world in a month-long programme of transformation aimed at improving their health and wellbeing.
Each of them will be paired with a ‘Warrior’ – experts in their specific fields of fitness and health, from MMA fighters to yogis, personal trainers to endurance athletes – who will mentor and push them every step of the way. Each will have a unique set of skills and an individual approach which they hope will push their trainees out of their comfort zone and overcome the problems they are facing in their life.
Each episode charts the highs and lows of the contributors’ time on the island as they live and train together and culminates with them taking part in a spectacular Warrior challenge inspired by the island’s beautiful but brutal terrain. At the end of 30 intense days, will all eight of the trainees make it through Warrior Island?
Executive Producer Michael Fraser says: “We’re hugely excited to be making this innovative new format for BBC Three. A month in paradise may sound like a dream, but our trainees will quickly learn that this is no holiday, as each is pushed through an incredibly tough regime by their own Warrior, taking on huge physical challenges along the way to test the strength of body and mind. It’s a series that gives a young, diverse cast the opportunity to tackle issues shared by young people across Britain, but within the shape of a brilliantly entertaining reality challenge format.”
Warrior Island w/t (10×60) is being made by Wall To Wall West for BBC Three and BBC iPlayer. Executive Producers for Wall To Wall are Michael Fraser and Gyles Neville and Head of Wall To Wall West, Emily Shields. It was commissioned by Catherine Catton, Head of Commissioning, Popular Factual and Factual Entertainment and the BBC Commissioning Editor is Ricky Cooper. The format is distributed by Warner Bros International Television Production.
Inside The Airport
In this new six-part series produced by Wonderhood Studios for BBC One and BBC iPlayer, aviation expert and television legend Jeremy Spake returns to his old stomping ground, Heathrow, to see how the airport is coping during the most challenging time in its history.
It has been an extraordinary 18 months for aviation. With planes grounding to a halt in March 2020 as the Covid pandemic swept the globe and the industry struggling ever since, Jeremy is welcomed back into Britain’s busiest airport to see how they are striving to get us back in the air, as we emerge from the crisis and the world opens up again.
Jeremy Spake was a Ground Services Manager who became the star of BBC One’s long-running Airport. Since then, he has risen through the ranks of the aviation industry, becoming a global troubleshooter and bringing his 30 years of experience to airlines and airports across the world. This series sees him return to where it all began for him – Heathrow – a place he so dearly loves and wants to see survive.
Inside The Airport: The Return Of Jeremy Spake (6×30’, working title) sees Jeremy welcomed back by Heathrow’s CEO and major airlines to discover the realities and key challenges they face. He spends time with their teams working in frontline roles throughout the airport and aircraft – from engineers to airside operations managers, lounge hosts to pilots, cabin crews retraining after redundancies to panicked passengers navigating their many passenger locator forms.
Jeremy Spake says: “While Covid has been truly devastating for the airline industry globally, it also provides a first chance in more than 20 years to reaffirm high standards, outstanding quality of service and perhaps most importantly gives us an opportunity to press the reset button, by under promising and over-delivering to customers who are eager to reconnect with others face to face. I am delighted to be back at Heathrow and of course BBC One!”
Samantha Anstiss, Chief Creative Officer at Wonderhood Studios, adds: “No one loves aviation more than Jeremy. Balancing the enormous expertise he’s gained around the world with his trademark wit and charisma, he is determined to do whatever he can to help reconnect loved ones, re-start a billion-pound industry and get Britain flying again.”
Inside The Airport: The Return Of Jeremy Spake (w/t) is executive produced by Samantha Anstiss, Emma Lorenz and Rebecca Templar for Wonderhood Studios. It is series produced by Joe Ward and series directed by Aidan Woodward. It was commissioned by Catherine Catton, Head of Commissioning, Popular Factual and Factual Entertainment and The Commissioning Editor is Max Gogarty.
Following the successful pilot in 2020, this new, popular engineering and adventure series follows custom bike builder, Titch Cormack and his team as they take on a range of mechanical challenges, converting broken and battered vehicles into beautiful, bespoke machines – ready for daring adventures on wheels.
Titch left a 10-year career in UK Special Forces (Special Boat Service) where he specialised in vehicle mobility, to follow his dream, designing, building, and selling custom vintage motorcycles and cars.
In 2016 he converted a derelict former shellfish processing plant on the waterfront in Poole into his vintage workshop, using reclaimed and upcycled materials to create what he describes as a “souped-up man-cave”, where he now builds his unique creations.
Titch is joined by his team: mechanic Billy, an ex-Tank Regiment Commander, who suffered life-changing injuries following an IED explosion in Afghanistan, and John, an ex-Staff Sgt from the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers – and all-round ‘guru of engineering’. Their real-life friendship brings warmth and humour to the format.
This six-part series follows this tight-knit gang as they take on an eclectic range of projects, from creating an adapted motorcycle sidecar for a quadriplegic ex Special Forces soldier, to attempting a 700km trans-Iceland ride on modified bikes fitted with hastily designed skis. One week they are refurbishing the oldest Land Rover Defender on the England and Wales Mountain Rescue fleet, the next they’re competing in a brutal, bone-breaking (literally) beach race with Titch on a restored 1974 scrambler, a machine built the same year he was born.
It’s a series filled with heart, camaraderie, and plenty of laughs as these friends and colleagues grant us access to their adventurous engineering world.
The Speedshop, a 6×60’ for BBC Two and iPlayer, is made by Grant Wardrop Productions. It was commissioned by Catherine Catton, Head of Commissioning, Popular Factual and Factual Entertainment. The Executive Producer is Grant Wardrop and the Commissioning Editor is Clare Mottershead.
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