BritBox Nabs Documentary Series ‘Reel Britannia’ With Ken Loach, Mike Leigh, Stephen Frears, Terry Gilliam

Kem Loach Stephen Frears Mike Leigh
Daisy Starrs

BritBox has picked up “Reel Britannia,” a documentary series on the history of modern British cinema, for the U.S., U.K., Canada and South Africa.

The deal was closed by Abacus Media Rights (AMR), an Amcomri Entertainment company, who acquired worldwide distribution rights to the series from director Jon Spira and producer Hank Starrs of Canal Cat Films.

From 1960 through to 2010, the four-part series portrays how cinema held a mirror up to society to reflect on the youth revolution of the 1960s, the grit of the 1970s, the social divide of the 1980s, new hope of the 1990s and the social disillusionment of the 00s. Narrated by actor and comedian Nick Helm, “Reel Britannia” features new, exclusive interviews with noted cinema talents Terry Gilliam, Mike Leigh, Ken Loach, Stephen Frears, Hanif Kureishi, Mike Newell, Simon Beaufoy, David Leland and Terence Davies. In association with the BFI, it includes archival interviews and behind-the-scenes footage.

Spira and Hank Starrs previously collaborated on “Hollywood Bulldogs: The Rise and Falls of the Great British Stuntman,” also available on BritBox U.K., and “Elstree 1976,” among other projects.

Spira said: “This is the dream project for me. Having become known for my indie documentaries about cinema, the next step I wanted to take was to tell a much broader story on a bigger canvas. AMR has given Hank and I the chance to really stretch our wings and go wild with almost 60 years of incredible British cinema history to play with. It covers the classic films audiences love but also really comes alive as we reveal the untold stories from behind the scenes, bring back some long-forgotten faces and expose some absolute gems which have been overlooked for decades.”

Starrs said: “’Reel Britannia’ will be my fifth collaboration with Jon Spira. Over the years we have developed a fantastic, inspiring, and telekinetic working relationship so I’m really looking forward to realising this new project. It will be my third collaboration with Jonathan Ford at AMR who have proven to be a splendid and high performing sales partner in an ever changing global sales marketplace.”

Jonathan Ford, MD at AMR added: “This entertaining and informative series will thrill our international viewers who love watching movies, and give them access to an incredible line-up of films which no longer get talked about or promoted. It will flesh out the core of modern British cinema history and allow for a prequel series and a number of spin-offs as we move into future decades.”