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BBC announces new documentary commissions at Sheffield DocFest


Clare Sillery, the BBC’s Head of Commissioning has announced a raft of new commissions ahead of her panel at the Sheffield DocFest today.

“Documentaries continue to be in fantastic shape at the BBC with recent highlights including Once Upon a Time in Northern Ireland, the Bafta-winning The Real Mo Farah, Freddie’s Field of Dreams and Parole demonstrating our commitment to delivering high quality, distinctive, uniquely British stories to audiences,” said Silvery.

“At a time when change is happening at an exponential rate, documentaries have a crucial role to play in helping people make sense of the modern world. From the experiences of young British people in Ukraine, to the reverberations still felt to this day in many communities by the miners’ strike, I hope the single films I’m announcing today will give people a voice and bring viewers a range of perspectives.”

The BBC has ordered 5 new single films focusing on major life changing events, which are still being felt today.

This includes a films about Hiroshima and Nagasaki featuring the last survivors; a look at the miners’ strike 40 years on; and Hell Jumper which tells the story of the war in Ukraine from a new perspective.

Stranger in My Family (working title), which is made by Manchester’s Nine Lives follows Rochdale film-maker Luke Davies as he discovers more about a hidden family secret.

This film was commissioned by BBC Three after Luke Davies and Tamar Mankassarian successfully won the Sheffield Doc/Fest BBC Three Pitch in 2022 and is directed by Sunny Kang, an alumni of the BBC’s New Documentary Directors’ initiative.

The documentary follows Davies, who said he always felt a bit “different”. Coming out as gay didn’t help that feeling go away, so he took at DNA test, which “exploded his identity” and revealed a secret his mum had kept hidden since his birth.

“I can safely say that what has transpired during this journey has left me feeling truly at peace with who I am and where I come from, and it has been a wonderful bonus to have become closer to my parents than ever before,” explained Davies.

“I am thankful for all the support I’ve had from the team at Nine Lives Media, my wonderful partner, my family and my friends for uplifting me through the ups and downs of this journey.”

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