Sky is to tread some familiar, award-winning ground with a revisit to the story of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster as part of a slate of new documentaries that will premiere on the Comcast-owned pay-TV giant in the UK and Ireland.
Sky has commissioned Emmy-winning filmmaker James Jones to produce a definitive 90-minute document of the Soviet power plant’s meltdown in 1986. Titled Chernobyl ‘86, it draws on newly-discovered archive footage and witness accounts to lay bare the tragedy and heroic efforts made to prevent another explosion.
The film will be produced by Top Hat Productions in association with Sky Studios. Jones, who has helmed On The President’s Orders and Mosul, directs the documentary, which will premiere on Sky Documentaries next year.
Sky will be hoping that some of the magic of its highly-decorated drama series Chernobyl, which bagged Golden Globes, BAFTAs, and Emmys, rubs off on Chernobyl ‘86. It was so successful that Sky credited the Sister-produced series with helping it come of age as a force in original television.
Also on the Sky documentaries slate, part of a wider unveiling of 125 original series, films and docs, is the first project from Louis Theroux’s Mindhouse Productions that won’t feature the cult documentarian in front of the camera.
The Bambers: Murder at the Farm (working title) examines the tragic murder of a family at a secluded English farmhouse in 1985. The three-part true-crime series uses first-hand testimony and unseen archive footage to reflect on the events and the conviction of Jeremy Bamber, who was brother to murdered mother Sheila Caffell.
Theroux, who executive produces alongside Arron Fellows, said: “A big part of wanting to start a production company a little over a year ago was to make programs that I don’t appear in… It’s a story that’s socially important, with a powerfully compelling narrative, and the intention is to tell it in a way that is both sensitive and creatively ambitious.”
Elsewhere, Blast! Films and Sky Studios will make three-part drama-documentary Liverpool Narcos , which delves into the underground world of a British city that became the epicenter of a UK drugs boom in the 1980s. NBCUniversal Global Distribution distributes.
Arrow Pictures will examine the UK’s AIDS crisis in three-part Positive, while over in natural history, Sky Studios-backed True to Nature will take a light-hearted look at the daily lives of rival black-crested macaque troops in the remote forests of Sulawesi’s Tangkoko National Park in Indonesia.
Made alongside Sky Studios, five-part Gangs of Macaque Island will premiere on Sky Nature and follows Gangs of Lemur Island. NBCUniversal Global Distribution will handle international sales of the series.