Barbie Uncovered to Debut on Sky Documentaries


Barbie Uncovered: A Dream House Divided, exploring the origin story of the iconic Barbie brand, is slated to premiere on Sky Documentaries and NOW on March 27.

The film reveals the untold story of Barbie’s founders, Ruth Handler and Jack Ryan, one of whom built the largest toy company from nothing and the other a rocket scientist. The financial rewards were enormous for both, but underneath everything was a surprising story of betrayal, sex, drugs and excessive partying. Ryan’s relationship with Mattel eventually soured as a result.

The film features in-depth interviews with some of those closest to the story, including Ann Ryan, Jack’s daughter; Annie Constantinesco, former employee and lover; Tom Kalinske, former CEO of Mattel; various Mattel employees; friends of Jack and Ruth; and period biographers. It also examines the hold Barbie still has on society today, with commentary from Bettina Dorfmann, the world’s largest Barbie doll collector; Sandi Grayson, a world record-holding Barbie auctioneer; and Marcela Iglesias, a world famous human Barbie doll.

Barbie Uncovered is produced by Two Rivers and co-produced by RW Productions. Abacus Media Rights is handling the distribution rights.

“I was instantly intrigued to learn that Barbie’s biographical story was loaded with jealousy, betrayal, sex, drugs and rock and roll,” said Jack Oliver, head of co-productions at Sky. “Barbie survived all that to become one of the most iconic success stories of the 20th century. Working with Eddie Hutton Mills and the teams at Two Rivers and Abacus Media Rights to bring this documentary to life has been a pleasure. We know audiences will love it, and we’re delighted to be launching the true story behind Barbie’s squeaky-clean image on Sky Documentaries.”

Alan Clements, producer at Two Rivers, added, “Everyone at Two Rivers loves a great story, and stories don’t come much bigger than Barbie. It has been a real pleasure making our first Sky documentary with Jack and his team, and we hope the Sky audience are as gripped by this extraordinary tale as much as we were.”