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White Spark Begins Decade-Long Documentary Project


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Australian factual indie White Spark Pictures has begun working on The World’s Largest Telescopes: Beyond the Milky Way, a major event documentary following the construction of the SKA telescopes.

The SKA telescope project brings together astronomers, engineers and scientists from 16 countries to build the world’s largest network of radio telescopes to enable astronomers to observe the first stars and galaxies to exist in the universe. It is expected to be completed at the end of the decade, and White Spark has access to film the entire feat.

After three decades of planning, the Square Kilometre Array Observatory (SKAO, the organization that runs the telescopes) began initial construction activities in July 2021. The next phase begins in December, with construction taking place at two of the most radio-quiet places on Earth: the outback in Western Australia and South Africa’s Karoo.

The first 2×60-minute series (or 1×90-minute program) will deliver in 2024. White Spark Pictures’ consultant, Wild Thring Media, will be formally launching the project to broadcasters at the 2022 World Congress of Science & Factual Producers.

“With The World’s Largest Telescopes: Beyond the Milky Way we will be capturing a monumental, groundbreaking international project, and I am honored that all the leading scientific institutions involved are putting their trust in me to bring their endeavors to the screen and tell the SKA’s incredible story to viewers around the world,” said Briege Whitehead, founder and creative director of White Spark Pictures. “The telescopes will be capable of showing us so much over time—from how galaxies and black holes are formed to if there is life on other planets. Indeed, the established pre-cursor telescopes are already making major scientific breakthroughs on a regular basis, so what we will be able to learn over the next decade could not only redefine current levels of understanding but also reshape mankind’s future.”

Edwina Thring from Wild Thring Media added, “The word ‘unique’ is used a lot in TV production, but The World’s Largest Telescopes: Beyond the Milky Way truly is a one-of-a-kind project that is destined to change the way we look at our world and the universe. Such major event programming is rare and, as a result, we predict a groundswell of interest from international broadcast partners looking for stand-out unscripted content that will successfully bring people together in prime time.”








About Jamie Stalcup

Jamie Stalcup is the associate editor of World Screen. She can be reached at jstalcup@worldscreen.com.

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