David Attenborough’s Great Barrier Reef came to the transatlantic producer-distributor via Attenborough’s regular television partner, Atlantic Productions, whose CEO Anthony Geffen has developed a strong relationship with eOne’s manager, factual acquisitions, Justina Hemperek. The latter had heard of the project during her previous role at ITV Studios.
Hemperek says the acquisition is eOne’s “first big push” into high-end factual, and was interesting because of its ambition. “eOne is looking at less factual, but more at a high- budget and from high calibre producers. Atlantic approached eOne with this project, and we were interested in that kind of scale.”
Attenborough first filmed in the 2,300km Great Barrier Reef in 1957 and has since become a key advocate for the giant submerged wildlife eco-system. “This is not just a big natural history project, but a passion project for David Attenborough,” says Hemperek.
Being his tenth project with Atlantic, buyers can expect various innovative filming techniques involving 4K and macro lenses, and the high quality associated with lead commissioner BBC One.
“It’s a full Attenborough project,” says Hemperek: “It’s written by him, he has creative control and it’s presented by him. It’s uniquely authored through his eyes.”
She adds that three-part series will also see Attenborough, now 89-years-young, personally filming the reef “at a depth never attempted before” – 300 metres – in a manned submersible.
eOne has international sales rights excluding New Zealand, where they remain with Atlantic. A deal with the ABC in Australia has been completed prior to MIPTV, where the show debuts.
The show: David Attenborough’s Great Barrier Reef
The producer: Atlantic Productions
The distributor: Entertainment One Television International (excluding UK, New Zealand)
The broadcaster: BBC One (UK)
The concept: Naturalist David Attenborough reveals the hidden wonders of the Great Barrier Reef