BBC Factual announces two new History and Science films

BBC Factual announces two new History and Science films

Britain’s Nuclear Test Veterans (w/t) and OceanGate (w/t) coming to BBC Two and iPlayer

PHOTO: Steve Purse, son of David Purse, who served in Maralinga in 1962 and 1963. Steve was born with a rare form of short stature, which he believes is a result of his father’s time at the nuclear tests. Steve also believes his son may have inherited a genetic condition. (Image: BBC/Hardcash Productions/Simon Rawles)

July 8, 2024 – BBC Factual today announces two new single films from History and Science for BBC Two and iPlayer: Britain’s Nuclear Test Veterans (w/t) is the extraordinary story of Britain’s post-war atomic weapons programme and the devastating consequences for the thousands of service personnel who took part, and OceanGate (w/t) examines what exactly went wrong with the submersible that caused it to implode? And why did the inventor of Titan, Stockton Rush, reportedly dismiss repeated strident safety warnings from submersible experts and even those from his own engineers?

Jack Bootle, Head of Commissioning, Specialist Factual, says: “These are two hugely exciting films for Specialist Factual at the BBC. I was stunned when I read the treatment for Britain’s Nuclear Test Veterans which explores the extraordinary legacy of Britain’s nuclear testing programme in the 50s. It’s a film that should shock the nation. And with incredible access to the ongoing coastguard investigation, OceanGate (w/t) tells the inside story of how the Titan submersible disaster unfolded. It’s complex, moving, and horribly gripping.”

Britain’s Nuclear Test Veterans (w/t)

“There is a white flash. You could never, ever describe the depth of brilliance or intensity of this white light. Even though my fists were clenched and pushed into my eyes, I could see all the bones and tendons and blood lines. Like a living x-ray.” (British veteran posted to Christmas Island, 1958)

Britain’s Nuclear Test Veterans (w/t) reveals the extent of the British government’s nuclear tests in remote parts of Australia and the South Pacific in the 1950s and 60s, exposing the debilitating health conditions that have blighted the lives of some of the veterans, descendants and indigenous population ever since.

Skin cancers, tumours, heart disease, leukaemia, stillbirths and generational birth defects are amongst the catalogue of crippling medical disorders suffered by some of the servicemen and their children. They’ve campaigned for decades for recognition and to have their voices heard.

This powerful film raises questions about the haunting legacy and shattering human costs of Britain’s race to become a global nuclear power.

Britain’s Nuclear Test Veterans (wt), a 1×60’ for BBC Two and iPlayer, is made by Hardcash Productions. It was commissioned by Jack Bootle, Head of Commissioning, Specialist Factual. The Executive Producer is Esella Hawkey and it is Filmed, Produced and Directed by Simon Rawles. The Commissioning Editor is Simon Young, Head of Commissioning, History

OceanGate (w/t)

OceanGate (w/t), a 1×60’ for BBC Two and iPlayer, explores the major mysteries behind the tragedy that captured the world’s attention when it took the lives of five people in the North Atlantic in 2023.

Inventor Stockton Rush died in the implosion that destroyed Titan; did his previous successful dives to Titanic cause him to become overconfident?

The filmmakers have unparalleled access to follow the US Coastguard Marine Board investigation into the disaster – their return to the wreckage to recover more evidence, their scientific tests on that wreckage and the testimony of witnesses who will be called to give evidence at an upcoming two-week hearing. Despite all the speculation, no-one at all knows exactly what went wrong with Titan on that fateful day. The Coastguard investigators are examining various theories about why the submersible failed.

The film will also delve into the motives of Stockton Rush, interviewing those who knew him well and have unique insights into his ability to inspire people, his engineering skills, and his background. And it will include never-before seen footage of Titan’s final successful dive to Titanic and Stockton Rush’s last interview recorded for mainstream TV.

OceanGate (w/t), a 1×60’ for BBC Two and iPlayer, is co-produced by Discovery Channel USA, CBC in Canada, and ZDF in Germany. It is a UK-Canada treaty co-production of Renegade Stories in the UK and Galafilm in Quebec, Canada. It was commissioned by Jack Bootle, Head of Commissioning, Specialist Factual and Joanna Carr, Head of Current Affairs. The Executive Producer is Alan Hayling and the Commissioning Editors are Tom Coveney, Head of Commissioning, Science and Sarah Waldron, Executive Producer.


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