BBC One has commissioned The Trick, a landmark film that tells the real life story of the ‘Climategate Scandal’ from 2009.

Produced by Vox Pictures, the team behind Keeping Faith, and written by BAFTA-nominated Owen Sheers (The Snow Spider, Aberfan: The Green Hollow). The Trick tells the story of world-renowned Professor Philip Jones; Director of Climate Research at the University of East Anglia, who back in 2009 found himself at the eye of an international media storm and the victim of cyberterrorism.

With time running out against an unseen enemy, The Trick looks at the potentially devastating consequences to humanity from climate change denial; how a media storm undermined public confidence in the science and how the concept of ‘truth’ took a back seat causing us to lose a decade of action. The film also charts the unjustified persecution of Phil Jones, his wife Ruth’s fierce support of her husband and the fight for the ultimate exoneration of himself and the science.

The single drama will star an ensemble cast including Jason Watkins (Line of Duty, The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies) as respected scientist Professor Phil Jones and Victoria Hamilton (Doctor Foster, Life) as Phil’s wife, Ruth.

The cast also includes George MacKay (1917, Pride), Jerome Flynn (Game of Thrones, Ripper Street), Adrian Edmondson (The Pact, Save Me),  Aneirin Hughes(Hinterland, Keeping Faith), Pooky Quesnel (The A Word, The Victim), Richard Elfyn (The Pact), Rhashan Stone (Keeping Faith, Finding Alice), Justin Salinger (Hanna),Tara Divina (Line of Duty) and David Calder (Time, The Hatton Garden Job).

Owen Sheers says: “The Trick is both a story of a particular moment in time, and a story for our times. The events that came to be known as Climategate were a powerful coalescence of forces that have since shaped much of our last decade. At its heart, however, this is also a story about the people caught at the eye of a new kind of storm, and how in the end despite attack from all sides, the integrity and truth of their important work won through.”

Piers Wenger, Director of BBC Drama says: “I’m hugely grateful to Vox Pictures and to the whole cast and crew for putting together a timely and important piece about a subject which is rarely seen in drama – the climate change crisis. This shocking true story speaks of the complexity of the challenges we face in tackling it.”

Adrian Bate, Producer for Vox Pictures adds: “The Trick is a thriller that gives us a unique opportunity to convey the dangers of climate change through the prism of a drama that is both chilling and true. It’s a privilege to be able to contribute to the debate surrounding the biggest challenge the world has ever faced, especially in the lead up to COP26.”

Adrian Bate will produce for Vox Pictures and Ben Irving will executive produce for the BBC.  The Trick is a 1×90 film and was commissioned by Piers Wenger, Director of BBC Drama and Charlotte Moore, Chief Content Officer, BBC. The Trick will be directed by Pip Broughton (Keeping Faith, Aberfan: The Green Hollow).

Filming will take place in Cardiff, London and Norfolk.

Jon Creamer

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