Clare Sillery, the BBC’s Head of Commissioning, Documentaries, has announced a slate of new orders including a feature length ‘definitive story’ of the Coronavirus pandemic in Britain for BBC One.

Also ordered is a new single film for BBC Two, directed by Liza Williams, telling the story of the conviction of sexual predator Reynhard Sinaga.

There are also three new commissions for BBC Three: BBC Three series Hometown returns, this time fronted by award-winning journalist Amber Haque (pictured); the first film from Marian Mohamed, from the BBC’s New Directors’ Scheme, follows drill artist Digga D at a pivotal point in his life; and High tells the story of Michaella McCollum and how she survived one of South America’s toughest prisons.

Clare Sillery says: “We are living in extraordinary times that demonstrate, now more than ever, the power and importance of documentary film making. Our recent BBC Two Hospital Coronavirus Special took viewers right to the frontline of the NHS response at the Royal Free Hospital in London, whilst starting next week Once Upon A Time In Iraq, from acclaimed director James Bluemel gives unprecedented insight into a conflict that continues to shape our world today.

“Looking ahead, the BBC plays a vital role in enabling the very best film-making 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 are 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.”

Britain vs Coronavirus interweaves archive and master interviews with many of the key decision-makers in the crisis, the film will be a “forensic” retelling of the events of a seismic year in UK history when the Coronavirus Pandemic struck.

The 1 x 90 is made by BBC Studios’ Documentary Unit, commissioned by Charlotte Moore, BBC Director, Content and Clare Sillery, BBC Head of Commissioning, Documentaries. The executive producer is Fergus O’Brien, the commissioning editor is Emma Loach. The film is directed by James House and the producer is Claire Kavanagh.

Predator: The Conviction Of Reynhard Sinaga for BBC2 tells the story of the Reynhard Sinaga case. Sinaga was sentenced to life imprisonment – with a minimum of 30 years – for a total of 159 sex offences, with 136 counts of rape. Between 2015 and 2017, he identified lone, drunk men and invited them to his flat – promising a party, or simply a place to stay. Instead, once inside, he’d drug and rape them, recording the attacks and collecting trophies from his victims.

The film will tell the story of a meticulous police investigation that unfolded over two years before bringing the man described by the prosecution as the most prolific rapist in British legal history, to justice.

The film, directed by Bafta-nominated Liza Williams, will also examine the psychology and making of a unique and sophisticated sexual predator and will shine a spotlight on underexplored broader questions about the experience of male rape – one of the least reported serious crimes in the UK.

Predator w/t (1×60) is a Minnow Films production commissioned by Patrick Holland, Controller BBC Two and Clare Sillery, BBC Head of Documentary commissioning. The executive producer is Morgan Matthews and the director is Liza Williams. The BBC Commissioning Editor is Hamish Fergusson.

For BBC Three Hometown: Another Killing sees  journalist Amber Haque returning to her hometown of Cheadle, Greater Manchester, to uncover the real story behind the tragic death last year of a Manchester school boy. Stabbed to death in a leafy neighbouring suburb of Hale, it’s a case that has split the community right down the middle.

Amber Haque said: “I’m heading back home to try and understand the factors that led to the tragic death of Yousef Makki, a case which has devastated not one but three families. I also want to get to the bottom of the social media rumours that suggest that this is a story not only about race and identity, but also money and power.”

Hometown: Another Killing (6×30) was commissioned by Fiona Campbell, Controller BBC Three and Clare Sillery, Head of Commissioning, Documentaries. It’s a Forest production where the Executive Producer is Jeremy Lee. The BBC Commissioning Editor is Emma Loach.

In Digga D for BBC3, nineteen year-old Digga D is one of the biggest up-and-coming drill artists in the UK. This new film, directed by Marian Mohamed from the BBC’s New Directors’ Scheme, follows him as he is released from a 15-month stint in prison at a pivotal moment in his life. He is intent on making a success of his music career, but that’s not straightforward.

Digga D (w/t) is a 1 x 60 film from Lambent Productions commissioned by Fiona Campbell, Controller, BBC Three and Clare Sillery, BBC Head of Commissioning, Documentaries. The executive producer is Emma Wakefield, the director is Marian Mohamed and the BBC commissioning editor is Beejal Patel.

Hightells the story of Michaella McCollum who was arrested at Lima Airport Peru, attempting to smuggle out £1.5m of cocaine hidden in her suitcase. She was sentenced, alongside her 20 year-old accomplice, to nearly seven years in jail in one of the country’s toughest prisons: Ancon 2.

At 20 years old, Michaella was incarcerated with murderers and gangsters, witnessing horrific attacks on fellow inmates and living in brutal conditions. At times she genuinely believed she might not make it out of Peru alive.

This new six-part series from Blast! Films tells the story of how Michaella served her prison sentence, eventually becoming known as the Delegada, the highest ranking prisoner in her wing, and running a pop-up beauty salon for her fellow inmates.

High (w/t) 6×30 is a Blast! Films production commissioned by Fiona Campbell, Controller BBC Three and Clare Sillery, BBC Head of Documentary commissioning. The executive producer is David Hodgkinson and the Director is Stuart Bernard. The BBC Commissioning Editor is Hamish Fergusson.

Jon Creamer

Share this story

Share Televisual stories within your social media posts.
Be inclusive: is open access without the need to register.
Anyone and everyone can access this post with minimum fuss.