Nat Geo & BBC Studios Team for Tommy Thompson Doc Series


National Geographic and BBC Studios’ Documentary Unit have greenlit a three-part limited series that traces the rise and fall of scientist and explorer Tommy Thompson.

Tentatively titled Lost Gold, the series features archive footage and thousands of slides, prints, photos and newspaper clippings on the original exploration mission, most 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.

In 1989, Thompson stunned the world by recovering three tons of gold and historically priceless artifacts from the wreck of the S.S. Central America. Despite this achievement, he would be caught in a maelstrom of litigation, deception and personal turmoil for the next three decades as he tried to hold on to 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 Thompson’s success unravel?

“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 VP of global factual/unscripted at 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.”