Damien Lewis: Spy Wars producer Alaska TV is sniffing out a U.S. sale of its latest format – a docu-series that takes four cocaine users on a dangerous journey to Colombia to learn about the effects of the class A drug.
This comes after Viacom’s Channel 5 commissioned three-part series Doing Drugs For Fun and WME will help shop the format and finished tape of the show to U.S. broadcasters. Stateside, it will be known as Cocaine: Living With The Cartels.
Alaska’s Brighton-based division is producing the series, which distributor Drive will sell internationally outside of the UK and U.S. The series was commissioned by Emma Westcott for Channel 5 and it is exec produced by Alaska co-founder Chris Fouracre and Creative Director Ian Lamarra.
The formatted documentary takes four recreational cocaine users on a journey to discover the true cost of their party lifestyles. They go on an immersive, potentially dangerous, life changing journey, that follows the cocaine trail from the Colombian rainforests to the streets of Britain. The four are embedded with the Colombian military on search and destroy missions, come face-to-face with Cartel killers, dealers and smugglers well as the innocent civilians caught in the cross fire, before returning home to continue the journey, meeting criminals involved in its distribution, users in rehab and families torn apart by its use. At the show’s finale the four are asked a simple question: with what you’ve experienced will you still be taking cocaine?
Fouracre said, “I’m immensely proud of the Brighton team who made this challenging and potentially dangerous format come to life. The series is emotionally engaging, occasionally jaw-dropping but ultimately redemptive, as the four contributors come to terms with the business of cocaine and the human suffering it engenders. The show was immensely challenging but ultimately immensely rewarding as we took four casual British cocaine takers to Columbia, filming with cartel killers, smugglers, dealers and victims as well as embedding participants with the Columbian army and navy on patrol. Our aim was to see if the journey would change their attitudes to taking the drug in the future. The results were revelatory.”
Lamarra added, “This series is explosive. I’ve never seen anything like it on British TV and can’t wait to roll the format out internationally.”