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BBC Studios Productions to Investigate Extraterrestrial Intelligence


BBC Studios Productions’ Science Unit is set to produce First Contact, a feature-length documentary looking into extraterrestrial intelligence.

As the ability to see and hear the universe has improved, leading scientists believe there is a genuine possibility of detecting evidence of extraterrestrial life soon. First Contact imagines what might happen when humanity does detect its first indisputable evidence, and, based on interviews with leading scientists such as Dr. Jill Tartar, provides its best guess of what that moment will be like.

The documentary was commissioned for BBC Two and iPlayer in the U.K. and PBS in the U.S.

Andrew Cohen, head of the Science Unit at BBC Studios Productions and executive producer of First Contact, said: “The journey to discover evidence of extraterrestrial civilization has been going on for over 40 years. Here at the Science Unit, exploring the universe and cosmos is in our DNA, so it feels natural for us to make First Contact. Using our track record, and the best in contemporary science, we can tell this story in a new and novel way.”

Jack Bootle, BBC commissioning editor of natural history and science, said: “The search for extraterrestrial intelligence is no longer fringe science. As our capacity to explore the universe grows, the hunt for alien civilization is moving into the mainstream. This is not a film about little green men. It’s a film that blends documentary and drama to imagine, based on the very latest serious scientific speculation, what our first contact with aliens might look like. I’m thrilled that BBC Studios’ award-winning Science Unit are turning their attention to this fascinating subject—there’s never been a more tantalizing time to do so.”

About Jamie Stalcup

Jamie Stalcup is the associate editor of World Screen. She can be reached at


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