BBC Reveals Six New Factual Greenlights


BBC has greenlit six new documentaries, including three films and three series such as Family 23 (w.t.).

Family 23 centers on Carol Jennings, who, in the ’80s, lobbied doctors to explore her hunch that her father and his four siblings’ Alzheimer’s diagnoses were linked. Years later, Jennings’ fears were confirmed and her family was the first to be diagnosed with hereditary Alzheimer’s.

Jennings has lived with the disease for over ten years now, and her children, now in their 30s, are confronted with the difficult question of whether they inherited the faulty gene as well. Using archive footage, diaries and home movies, the documentary tells the story of Jennings’ legacy, including a new wave of pioneering medical trials hoping to find a treatment or cure for familial Alzheimer’s.

Family 23 is being produced by Expectation Factual for BBC Two and BBC iPlayer.

A follow-up to Paddy and Christine McGuinness: Our Family and Autism has been ordered. Christine McGuinness: The Secret World of Autistic Women and Girls (w.t.) uncovers the untold story of how autism in women and girls has been ignored and misunderstood for decades. It is being produced by Optomen for BBC One and BBC iPlayer.

Saved—Inside AA (w.t.), meanwhile, gives unprecedented access to Alcoholics Anonymous, which is marking its 75th anniversary in the U.K. this year. The film explores the origins of the organization, its religious foundations and what still brings so many people through its doors. Daisybeck Studios is producing the film for BBC Two and BBC iPlayer.

Among the new series is Body on the Beach, a BBC Three and BBC Scotland co-commission. It investigates the death of Annie Börjesson, a young Swedish woman whose body was found on Prestwick Beach in South West Scotland in 2005. Immediately labeled as suicide by authorities, numerous questions still surround her death.

The new docuseries Paranormal (w.t.) follows a present-day investigation into a chilling, strange incident that unfolded in north Wales over several years from the late 1990s to the early 2000s. Radio 1 DJ Sian Eleri, born and raised in north Wales, will encounter experts and eye witnesses, including exorcists, psychologists, scientists and paranormal researchers. The BBC Three and BBC Wales co-commission is being produced by Twenty Twenty.

Lastly, BBC has order a fourth season of The Detectives, this time focusing on a specialist police unit in Rochdale and their multi-layered battle to bring down one of Greater Manchester’s most notorious organized crime groups. Minnow Films is producing the season for BBC Two and BBC iPlayer.

Clare Sillery, head of commissioning for documentaries, history and religion, said: “It’s a really exciting time for documentaries at the BBC, with recent highlights such as Uprising, House Of Maxwell, Our Falklands War, Then Barbara Met Alan and Gazza demonstrating our commitment to telling distinctive British stories and bringing viewers new perspectives on recent events.

“Growing and developing new talent is incredibly important to me, and I’m delighted to be announcing three impactful new single films from female directors, underscoring our commitment to 50 percent representation of women directors. Niamh Kennedy, who directed the award-winning Abused By My Girlfriend, is bringing us the story of an ordinary family who found themselves at the center of a scientific breakthrough in Family 23, while Jemma Gander has unprecedented access in Inside AA.

“In addition, Imogen Wynell-Mayow directs a new film with Christine McGuinness, The Secret World of Autistic Women and Girls (w.t.), which follows on from her and Paddy’s brave film last year and Christine’s discovery of her own diagnosis of autism.

“I want our content to connect with viewers right across the country. The three new series we’re announcing today bring unique access to stories from Wales, Scotland and the North of England, and I’m really pleased to be working with colleagues in the Nations on these compelling and timely new documentaries.”