Vice Studios Partners With BBC On Satanic Verses Documentary

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Vice certainly knows its brand; cocaine and controversy. The nascent production arm of Shane Smith’s youth-focused firm is working with the BBC on the latter after scoring its second third-party commission.

BBC Two has ordered The Satanic Verses: 30 Years On (w/t), a one-off documentary about Salman Rushdie’s controversial novel, which was originally published in 1988 and lead to Iran putting a fatwa on the author.

The book, which was inspired in part by the life of Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, was accused by many Muslims of blasphemy and mocking their faith. However, the doc will look at the other side of the story, which took places in the streets, schools and mosques of Bradford, Bolton, Leicester and London, deep in the heart of Britain’s Muslim community. It follows a group of first-time campaigners who believed they were fighting for their community’s civil rights.

Journalist Mobeen Azhar will return to his native West Yorkshire to track down the ordinary men and women who organized the protests that would divide their community and provide a watershed moment for British Muslims. It will feature the men and women who believed the controversy was more about race and religion than censorship to the campaigners who feared 1989 could usher in the age of Political Islam.

The 60-minute film is produced by Vice Studios for the British public broadcaster. It is produced by Azhar and exec produced by Yonni Usiskin after being commissioned by Tom McDonald, Head of Commissioning, Specialist Factual and Patrick Holland, Channel Editor, BBC Two and Commissioning Editor Fatima Salaria.

It follows hot on the footsteps of Vice Studios’ first external commission, Cocaine: A British Epidemic for Viacom’s Channel 5, which Deadline revealed last month. The first episode of the three-part series, which follows drug dealers, users and others in the front line of the drug business, aired last night in the UK.

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