The BBC has today announced three new factual commissions at Wales Screen Summit.

They include two new co-commissioned series between BBC Three and BBC Wales, Nurses (working title) from Little Bird Films follows newly qualified nurses in West Wales and Ruck Stars, from ITV Cymru Wales, which follows the Under 18s sides of the academies at two professional rugby teams.

Welsh independent production company Hall of Mirrors has also been commissioned to make  Secrets of the Aquarium, for BBC Two, from that goes behind the scenes at the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth, Devon.

Nurses was commissioned as part of BBC Three and BBC Wales’ creative partnership with Creative Wales and follows on from the success of Hot Cakes, the first title commissioned from the partnership. Ruck Stars is a co-commission between BBC Three and BBC Wales which was pitched as part of the partnership opportunity but commissioned separately.

Gerwyn Evans, deputy director, Creative Wales, said: “These three series will tell important stories reflecting a modern day Wales, as we get to know the people and issues at the heart of our communities across the country. A key mission of ours is to boost opportunity for Wales based indies, and these commissions prove partnerships such as these really work.”

Nick Andrews, head of Commissioning, BBC Wales, said: “The sheer quality of ideas coming through for this opportunity was absolutely stunning. The stories of these people are utterly compelling and being right there as they experience life to the max is gripping. It’s what our audiences are crying out for. It’s terrific to be announcing these shows and we’re so pleased to have been working so closely with Creative Wales and BBC Three to bring them to life.”

Fiona Campbell, controller, BBC Three, says: “We’re fully committed to ensuring that BBC Three is representative of the whole of the UK and we’re really excited to continue our great working relationship with BBC Wales and Creative Wales. We loved these ideas as they will be filled with relatable experiences for our audience and will bring something totally new to the channel.”

Nurses (working title)
Nurses is a 6 x 30 series made in partnership with Creative Wales that follows newly qualified nurses working on the front line in hospitals and the community in West Wales. With access from Hywel Dda University Health Board and told from the nurses’ perspective, the series follows the stories of the challenging situations they face each day, seeing them care for patients and their families through what can be the most difficult times in their lives.

The nurses are young and new to the role, but quickly have to deal an array of serious, even life and death situations. But they are driven by a passion for the profession and people. After three years as nursing students, everything now steps up a level and they now have to take full responsibility for whatever tasks arise on shift.

Nurses (w/t) was commissioned by Nick Andrews, head of Commissioning BBC Wales and Fiona Campbell, controller BBC Three and the commissioning editors for the BBC are Sian Harris and Nasfim Haque. It is produced by Little Bird Films and the executive producer is Angela Clarke.

Ruck Stars
For Ruck Stars, ITV Cymru Wales has secured unique access to the academies of pro rugby teams the Ospreys and Scarlets – fierce rugby rivals in West Wales.

This 5 x 30 series follow the lads playing in the clubs’ under 18s academy teams, over one intense season. Their dream is to go pro and, with expectations high, each one knows they need to push themselves like never before to win their chance of going to the pinnacle of the game.

On the pitch, the challenges come thick and fast with tough competition for first team places, shock defeats, injuries, and the drive to win every game. Plus the ultimate game of the season versus their local rivals. And these future stars juggle all that with busy personal lives, exams and love lives as they do all they can to seize their shot at rugby glory.

Ruck Stars was commissioned by Nick Andrews, Head of Commissioning BBC Wales and Fiona Campbell, Controller BBC Three and the commissioning editors for the BBC are Sian Harris and Nasfim Haque. It is produced by ITV Cymru Wales and the Executive Producer is Matthew Tune.

Secrets of the Aquarium
This new series for BBC Two and iPlayer takes viewers behind the scenes at the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth in Devon, as the team tackle the everyday challenges of keeping over 4000 spectacular creatures happy and healthy at Britain’s biggest aquarium.

Produced by Welsh production company, Hall of Mirrors, the series follows the team through an exciting year of renovation, overhaul and innovation as the aquarium approaches its 25th anniversary.

It’s a time of change: new tanks are being installed and new animals are arriving. But that’s not all. The teams at the aquarium are committed to connecting people to the ocean and are helping to establish Plymouth Sound as Britain’s brand new, first ever National Marine Park as well as introducing an innovative scheme to restore one of Britain’s most threatened habitats on the bottom of the ocean.

Clare Mottershead, BBC commissioning editor, says: “We’re looking forward to bringing the wonders of this underwater world to our audiences and sharing the surprising stories of the creatures who inhabit it and the committed team who look after them.”

Secrets of the Aquarium (6×60 for BBC Two and iPlayer) was commissioned by Catherine Catton, head of Commissioning, Popular Factual and Factual Entertainment and is being made by Hall of Mirrors where the executive producer is Tim Green. The BBC commissioning editor is Clare Mottershead. Hall of Mirrors were supported last year by the BBC’s Small Indie Fund.

Pippa Considine

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