Television

FremantleMedia looks to push the boundaries of factual storytelling

MUMBAI: Television format creator and distributor FremantleMedia Enterprises (FME) has announced a deal securing worldwide television distribution rights for five brand new documentaries from UK factual film makers Atlantic Productions.

This has launched at the on-going television trade event MipTV in Cannes, France. Each of the one hour programmes provides an insight, based on new research, into iconic events that have shaped our world.
The first documentary reveals the story behind the undercover mission that exposed the west’s most prolific and dangerous double agent. Superspy: The Man Who Betrayed The West is the story of Robert Hanssen, the FBI double agent responsible for the West’s worst ever security breach, selling secrets worth billions of dollars that were passed on to Osama Bin Laden and used to facilitate the planning of 9/11.

The dramatised documentary uses dramatic reconstruction, first hand testimony from key figures involved in Hanssen’s arrest, original FBI footage and KGB voice recordings to recount the inside story of the hunt to trap the most damaging spy of all time. Among those taking part in the film is Eric O’Neill, the FBI agent tasked with discovering the truth about Hanssen’s espionage activities, who talks about his involvement in the case for the first time.

O’Neill’s story is also the basis for the current Hollywood film Breach starring Chris Cooper, Laura Linney and Ryan Phillippe. Also taking part in the documentary, which is a co-production with Discovery, La7 and FremantleMedia, are Hanssen’s psychiatrist and the former CIA operative who, for many years, was considered the traitor in the midst.

As Nasa outlines its plans to return to the moon for the first time in over 30 years, Apollo 11: The Untold Story and Apollo 13: The Inside Story reveal the untold stories of the two most famous space missions. Apollo 11: The Untold Story goes behind the public story of this legendary mission to reveal the untold account of how close the first moon landing came to disaster. Through first-hand testimony from Buzz Aldrin and key mission personnel, this critically acclaimed documentary presents a tale of primitive computer technology, human errors and mechanical failures that nearly resulted in the loss of the crew.

Apollo 13: The Inside Story uses first hand testimony and archive footage to reveal what really happened when Nasa mounted the most dramatic rescue operation in the history of human exploration. When a violent explosion tore through the fragile skin of the Apollo 13 spacecraft 200,000 miles from earth in April 1970, the lives of the crew hung by a thread, with the oxygen supply running out.

In this film astronauts James Lovell and Fred Haise, along with their flight controllers, reveal the ultimate survival story and the truth about a mission which gripped the world over four tense days.

The next of the documentaries acquired by FME examines man’s ongoing battle with the threat of infectious disease. In the age of Sars, Bird Flu, the Ebola Virus and Aids some experts are looking for help in the most unlikely of places – the past. The Great Plague swept through London in 1655, killing a third of its population. But why were some mysteriously resistant to the deadliest disease then known?

Secrets of the Great Plague follows medical detective Dr. Stephen O’Brien as he undertakes a series of experiments and archaeological discoveries to reveal how the Great Plague could hold the key to surviving infectious diseases in the 21st century.

The final documentary included in the deal re-opens the case of the notorious serial killer Jack The Ripper. For more than a century, his crimes have inspired both horror and intrigue and theories abound as to the identity of the killer, but few are based on the facts. To this day his reign of terror remains one of history’s greatest mysteries: motiveless, unmatched in brutality, and still unsolved.

Now, in Jack The Ripper: The First Serial Killer Laura Richards of Scotland Yard’s Violent Crime Directorate re-examines the case, completely changing our understanding of the killer. Utilising modern criminology and psychological analysis, plus the aid of Britain’s best detectives, Richards uses 21st century techniques to understand a 19th century killer, providing a detailed psychological study of the kind of person he was, where he lived and even what he looked like.

FME VP programming Mark Gray says, “We are delighted to have the opportunity to bring these fascinating documentaries to international broadcasters at MipTV. Atlantic Productions are a world renowned team who have a strong track record in making incredibly detailed and complex subjects accessible to viewers worldwide. Equally strong in subject and innovative approach, we are confident audiences will find them extremely appealing.”

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