Wide range of new natural history commissions announced

Tom McDonald, Head of Commissioning Natural History and Specialist Factual, today announced a wide range of new natural history commissions

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Tom McDonald says: “2017 was an extraordinary year for Natural History at the BBC with awards across BAFTA, Grierson and the Emmys; as well as stand out performances for Spy In The Wild, Wild Alaska Live, and Blue Planet II and we have a fantastic range of titles commissioned for 2018 and beyond.

“These new commissions signal not only our continued commitment to capturing extraordinary new animal behaviour but also our responsibility to capture the unprecedented speed at which the natural world is changing.

“Habitats and species all over the world are under threat and many of our new commissions will tackle the big issues head on, with some of our most recognised talent exploring the global challenges our planet faces.”

Into the Wild with Gordon Buchanan BAFTA Scotland nomination

The 2016 BAFTA Scotland nominations have been announced and we are delighted that Into the Wild with Gordon Buchanan has been nominated for Best Factual Series. The BBC Two series which saw Gordon Buchanan take well-loved celebrities; Dermot O’Leary, Alastair Campbell, Sara Cox, Ed Byrne and John Simpson on an adventure to see some of the country’s most elusive and celebrated wildlife was the first commission for Hello Halo. The awards take place on November 6th 2016 celebrating and rewarding the highest achievements in Scottish film, television and games.

BBC Worldwide orders Fortitude-style docu-soap

BBC Worldwide has ordered a ten-part docu-soap about the residents of a Fortitude-style town located in the Arctic Circle from Hello Halo.

The Greenbird-backed indie is to make Svalbard (WT), a 10 x 60-minute series for international channel BBC Earth’s Unplugged strand.

Longyearbyen on Svalbard is located high in the Arctic circle and is one of the world’s most remote towns, home to an expat community of Americans, Brits and Norwegians.
Viewers will get an insight into what life is like for residents, in the town where conditions are so extreme births and deaths are outlawed and one man travels by canoe for seven hours to meet a date.

“Svalbard’s combination of larger than life characters, will captivate our international audiences,” said Julie Swanston, vice president of commissioning for BBCW. “We’re very excited to be partnering with Hello Halo to bring the town of Longyearbyen, an isolated outpost in the breath taking wilderness of Svalbard, to the world.”

Wendy Rattray, who will exec produce alongside BBC Earth’s Kirsty Hanson said the show would shine a light onto a “strange and quirky” world.

“With extreme arctic conditions, three months of total darkness and the ever-present danger of polar bears, Svalbard is not your average neighbourhood,” said Rattray.

Svalbard is due to air next year, with BBCW still on the lookout for another series for Earth’s 8pm-10pm Unplugged slot.

Hello-Halo lands debut BBC commission

Greenbird-backed Hello Halo has won its first BBC commission – a five-part wildlife series featuring celebrity guests including Dermot O’Leary.

Into the Wild with Gordon Buchanan (working title) is a 5 x 60-minute series for BBC2 in which the Big Cat Diary and Springwatch cameraman will take his guests out of their comfort zone to track animals and give them a once-in-a-lifetime encounter. Sara Cox and Alastair Campbell are among the celebrities due to appear along with the former host of The X Factor, O’Leary. Into the Wild was commissioned by BBC daytime and early peak commissioning editor Jo Street and will be executive produced by Wendy Rattray, the former STV creative director who founded Hello Halo in August 2014.

It will air on BBC2 next year and is expected to be scheduled in an early peak slot, an area that daytime controller Dan McGolpin marked for a refresh after he took over the role in June. Rattray described the show as “a behind-the-scenes wildlife series which takes natural history storytelling in a new and compelling direction.”