The U.K.’s BBC has acquired four-part documentary series “Enslaved: The Lost History of the Transatlantic Slave Trade,” featuring actor and human rights activist Samuel L. Jackson from producer and distributor Fremantle.
The series, directed by Simcha Jacobovici (“Atlantis Rising”), sheds new light on 400 years of human trafficking, as millions of enslaved Africans were shipped to the Americas by Western European slave traders. It follows deep sea divers at U.K., Caribbean and Florida dive sites as they search for and locate ships that sank drowning the enslaved humans aboard, while on land, experts investigate the stories behind related locations, in Ghana, England and the Americas.
Each episode follows separate story lines: the location and investigation of sunken slave ships, and a historical analysis of the transatlantic slave trade led by Jackson, author Afua Hirsch and investigative journalist Simcha Jacobovici. The show will play on the BBC Two channel.
“I had the privilege to meet with Samuel L. Jackson, Afua Hirsch and Simcha Jacobovici at the start of their production last year, and I was determined to bring their essential, hugely ambitious and important series to the BBC,” said Patrick Holland, controller, BBC Two. “These are stories that demand to be told and which sit at the very center of our shared history.”
Jamie Lynn, exec VP, head of EMEA distribution who brokered the deal at Fremantle said: “With Black History Month just weeks away, it’s a real privilege to be able to announce such a pertinent partnership with the BBC and create a platform for audiences young and old across the U.K. to engage with this landmark series. British viewers will also be fascinated to see Bristol’s role in this history, as writer and broadcaster Afua Hirsch visits the now infamous – and since toppled – statue of Edward Colston.”
The series will premiere in the U.S. on Epix and in Canada on CBC as a six-part series. It has been
re-versioned to a four-part series for BBC Two in collaboration and with approval from the producers.
“Enslaved” is a Canada/U.K. co-production between Toronto-based Associated Producers and London-based Cornelia Street Productions in association with Canada’s CBC, and documentary Channel, and Epix in the U.S. in association with Anonymous Content and UppiTV.
Fremantle will distribute the series internationally.