In today’s Global Bulletin, Discovery Plus U.K. commissions Diego Maradona doc; BBC One marks 80th anniversary of the Blitz with a new TV special; Channel 5 orders “The Holiday” series; The TV Collective (TVC), Fremantle and Indigo Talent Breakthrough Leaders team on Breakthrough Leaders initiative; Viasat and ZDFE deal on a raft of programming and InWild will broadcast the #terramatters Festival this holiday season.
Following the death of Argentine soccer superstar Diego Maradona, Discovery U.K. has commissioned ITN Productions to produce the fast-turnaround documentary “What Killed Maradona?”
After his Nov. 25 death, the official cause was given as a heart attack. Discovery’s new special will examine the accumulating circumstances of the player’s life which may have contributed to his untimely end. It will feature interviews with sports scientists, doctors and people close to Maradona who discuss how his career and off-field habits likely impacted his health and personal life.
Jeremy Philips is executive producing for Discovery, joined by Sarah-Jane Cohen from ITN Productions. “What Killed Maradona?” will be available to stream exclusively on Discovery Plus starting Dec. 28.
“Maradona was an icon that many looked up to, but his life was closely scrutinized by the international media who often looked at his vices off the pitch. This exclusive Discovery Plus documentary goes beyond the headlines to delve into the many aspects of his life that shaped his legacy,” said Simon Downing, head of factual and sports at Discovery.
“This documentary gives a unique view of Maradona’s life and his passing, talking to people who knew, loved, and worked with him and scientists who see the seeds of his demise sewn from the first moments of his success as child prodigy,” added Cohen.
To mark the 80th anniversary of the Blitz, BBC One has commissioned “Blitz Spirit with Lucy Worsley,” a 90-minute special to be hosted by Worsley, recipient of an OBE, British historian, author, curator and television presenter.
The special will tell the real-life stories of the ordinary British citizens thrown onto the front lines for seven months as German bombers attacked British cities. Made by Blakeway Productions, a Zinc Media Group company, the special will reunite the team behind BAFTA-winning special “Suffragettes with Lucy Worsley.”
BBC director of content Charlotte Moore commissioned the special with Simon Young as commissioning editor. Zinc creative director Emma Hindley is on board as executive producer.
Channel 5 in the U.K. has commissioned NENT Studios, Projector Pictures, Clapperboard Studios and Night Train Media to produce “The Holiday,” a primetime drama series based on T.M. Logan’s best-selling novel.
The book and series start with what seems to be a carefree vacation shared by four close families. Things quickly turn sinister when a wife from the group suspects that her husband is having an affair with one of the other women.
“Silent Witness” and “Safe House” writer Michael Crompton is adapting the books for TV, with NENT Studios’ Dave Clarke, Projector Pictures’ Rachel Gesua and Trevor Eve, Clapperboard’s Mike Benson and Night Train’s Herbert Kloiber and Olivia Pahl all acting as executive producers.
Pre-sales for the series are now underway, with NENT Studios U.K. distributing.
The TV Collective (TVC), Fremantle and Indigo Talent have teamed up to launch Breakthrough Leaders, a new program to identify 50 people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds as future industry leaders ready to take the next step in their career development.
TVC founder Simone Pennant and industry coach Remy Blumenfeld co-developed the program which will partner selected participants with a leading figure in the industry who will provide mentorship, as well as an industry coach who will work with and support them going forward.
The program is open to any professional working in scripted or non-scripted in any type of role so long as they have more than eight years of experience. Nominations to the program close on Jan. 15, with the selected 50 set to be announced in February.
Viasat World has closed a deal with longtime partner ZDF Enterprises (ZDFE) for pay-TV and VOD rights, including catch up and SVOD, on a package of seven titles totaling 18 hours of content.
Titles headed to Viasat History include “Eternal Pompeii,” “Auschwitz — One Day,” “The Trojan Horse” and “Cold Case History.” Two one-hour specials, “Enchanted Mountains – In the Heart of Germany” and “The Return of the Bears” are going to Viasat Nature, while the eight-part series “Construction Fails” will land at Viasat Explore.
The series will air across the networks and Viasat’s SVOD services in the Baltics, Scandinavia, CEE and Russia and CIS.
Diversity and inclusion promotion organization TriForce Creative Network and Amazon Prime Video have announced that Tumi Belo, one of four finalists from a group of 1,500 applicants, has won the latest TriForce WriterSlam competition.
Writers were invited to submit a synopsis and a 15-page script for an audio drama or comedy. Final extracts from the four finalists were then performed by actors including Lauren Drummond, Ivanno Jeremiah, Michael Salami, Jennifer Nicholas and Amrita Acharia, in a virtual version of the WriterSlam Final live streamed on Twitch Tuesday evening.
Belo, a London native, submitted her script for “The Philadelphia Hope,” which was inspired by stories of Black U.S. newspapers published in the 1920s. With the win, Belo will receive a paid development and mentorship gig with Jonathan Lewsley, U.K. head of scripted for Amazon Studios, for 3-6 months to develop her idea into a full episode script.
Insight TV and Off the Fence’s nature and wildlife channel InWild has announced the #terramatters Festival in partnership with Terra Mater Factual Studios, a sponsored programming block which will broadcast over the holiday season featuring content from Terra Mater’s catalog, sponsored by the company’s YouTube Channel.
#terramatters Festival will run Dec. 26 – Jan. 2 and will feature “Hummingbirds: Jeweled Messengers” and “Dragons & Damsels: Ultimate Insects,” both narrated by Sir David Attenborough; “Planet Parrot,” “Nile: The Ultimate River,” “Back From the Brink: Saving the King’s Horses,” “Billion Dollar Fish” and “Unnatural Selection.”