BBC Greenlights Brian Cox Mars Doc; Channel 4 Privatization Reactions; ‘MasterChef’ France; Story Company Hires – Global Briefs

BBC Greenlights Three Science Shows Including Brian Cox Mars Doc

The BBC has greenlit three science programmes including a series in which Brian Cox heads inside the mission to Mars. In Arrow Media’s Seven Days on Mars feature doc, the celebrated TV scientist will be granted special privilege to access the Nasa Jet Propulsion Laboratory, mission control Mars. In 1980 he wrote to the laboratory asking for photos from Voyager and the Viking Mission to Mars and it was a source of inspiration to his becoming a physicist, and the show, shot over a week, will allow Cox to realize his dream as he navigates the Rover’s every move. In the process, Cox will reveal how the mission could potentially transform our understanding of life not just on Mars but Earth as well. “The Perseverance Rover, and the Mars Sample Return missions to follow, may answer a deeper question even than ‘Is there life on Mars?,” said Cox. “They may reveal how life begins across the Universe, including here on Earth, and give us unique insight into our own origins.” BBC factual has also commissioned Secrets of Size: Atoms to Supergalaxies, a mindbending BBC Four/iPlayer series in which Professor Jim Al-Khalili investigates what the universe would look like if it were a billion times smaller or a billion times bigger, along with a Horizon special on the James Webb telescope. “The scientists exploring space and the workings of our universe are doing some of the most awe-inspiring work on our planet today. We’re thrilled to have three new projects shining a light on these pioneers,” said Tom Coveney, BBC Commissioning Editor, Science.

UK Reacts With Dismay To Channel 4 Privatization

The UK broadcasting and production sector has reacted with dismay to the confirmation hat Channel 4 will be privatized and given the option to create shows in-house. Broadcasting Union Bectu Head Philippa Childs said “there could not be a worse time to introduce further uncertainty to the creative industries, who were among the hardest hit by the pandemic and continue to face a chronic skills shortage.” Other alarmed producers contacted Deadline to record their disappointment, with Channel 4’s in-house production unit likely to take work away from producers, who will also lose the opportunity to retain rights. A Channel 4 statement read: “Channel 4 will study the White Paper issued by the government and a considered response will follow. However, Channel 4 remains committed to upholding and maximising its remit and public service purpose that has enabled it to shape Britain’s creative culture and make a significant contribution to the creative industries, while also investing across the UK’s Nations and Regions to create local and regional economic and social benefit.” The move will be formally brought in front of UK parliament next month and take around two years. The news was delivered in a UK government White Paper late last night, which also included a mega revamp of the laws that govern UK broadcasting and production including on prominence and regulation of streaming services.

‘MasterChef’ Returns To France After Seven Years

MasterChef is returning to France after a seven-year hiatus and will air on France 2. Hosted by popular French presenter Agathe Lecaron, Yves Camdeborde, Thierry Marx, Georgiana Viou are confirmed as judges. The hit culinary format, which aired across 33 territories last year, is enjoying something of a revival as distributor Banijay Rights strikes multiple deals around the world. Endemol France will produce the series, in which contestants are challenged to create the best dishes for the judges. “MasterChef’s return to France, joining a recent spate of reboots, demonstrates the show’s enduring appeal across the globe,” said Lucas Green, Banijay Global Head of Content Operations.

The Story Company Rebrands And Hires Three Execs

Endeavor Content-backed UK studio The Story Collective has changed its name from The Story Company and made a trio of senior hires. ITV Studios’ Mr. Selfridge exec Kate Lewis joins as Executive Producer, Fremantle-backed Euston Films Production boss Amy Mobley becomes Head of Production and Natasha Neill is signed from Lookout Point as CFO. Story Collective CEO Damian Keogh, who used to run Lookout Point, said the trio are “incredibly talented executives, highly respected in the TV community and each with huge experience.” The company was forged by Keogh, Lookout Founder Simon Vaughan and former BBC Worldwide Content Chief Helen Jackson last year and was immediately backed by Endeavor, with a remit to working with ambitious creatives to help acquire rights, commission scripts, package projects and manage the sales process.

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