National Geographic and BBC Studios’ Documentary Unit are teaming up to make Lost Gold (w/t), a three-part limited series that traces the rise and fall of maverick scientist and explorer Tommy Thompson — from his discovery of the wreck of the S.S. Central America to the turmoil that led to his prison sentence.
In 1989, Tommy Thompson recovered three tons of gold and historically priceless artifacts. Despite this achievement, he would be faced with litigation, deception and personal turmoil for the next three decades as he tried to hold onto his find. Facing serious allegations, accused of defrauding his 161 investors, he went from ship deck to courtroom to prison cell. How — and why — did Tommy’s extraordinary success unravel?
With exclusive access to an extensive video archive from the original expeditions, and produced with Gary Kinder, author of The New York Times bestseller about Tommy’s expedition, Ship of Gold in the Deep Blue Sea, this series will follow Thompson’s story.
Lost Gold sifts through 600 hours of archive footage and thousands of slides, prints, photos and newspaper clippings on the original exploration mission — the majority of which have never been seen before. In addition, Nat Geo and BBC Studios have access to original footage and images, including archives from the court-ordered mission to recover the remaining gold from the site.
“Every so often, you come across a story so captivating that you feel compelled to get to the heart of it,” said Tom McDonald, executive vice president of Global Factual/Unscripted, National Geographic. “Lost Gold (w/ t) encompasses all that we are passionate about at Nat Geo: exploration, adventure, discovery, and at its core, truth-telling. We cannot think of a better partner than BBC Studios to execute this series with.”
From treasures on the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean to one of the longest manhunts in the history of the U.S. Marshal Service and the prisons and courts of Ohio, the saga will be woven from interviews with the key players, unseen archive material, and dramatic recreations of key moments.
From National Geographic Content, Lost Gold will be produced in partnership with BBC Studios’ Documentary Unit. For BBC Studios, Alexander Leith is executive producer, Georgia Braham is producer and Sam Benstead is series director. For National Geographic Content, Chris Kugelman is executive producer, and Tom McDonald is commissioner.
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