BBC Studios teams with James Cameron for first Nat Geo commission

James Cameron

BBC Studios has secured its first Nat Geo commission, teaming with Titanic director James Cameron (pictured) on a multi-part series on the oceans.

Mission OceanX (working title) is a six-part series that unites the BBC Studios Natural History Unit with Cameron and OceanX Media.

Combining documentary with blue-chip sequences, the show will follow cutting-edge exploration vessel Alucia2, an ex-oil survey ship, on her maiden voyage across the oceans with a number of leading filmmakers and scientists on board.

The vessel will be specially equipped with its own helicopter, two manned submersibles and a deep-diving robot. New discoveries will be made in real time using the ship’s state-of-the-art dry and wet marine laboratories, while an on-board media studio will bring them to screens.

BBC Studios Natural History Unit used OceanX’s original research vessel the Alucia to create some of the sequences in landmark series Blue Planet II.

For Earthship, James Cameron and Maria Wilhelm are executive producers, while Roger Webb, Orla Doherty and Stephen Rankin are EPs for BBC Studios.

Ray Dalio, Mark Dalio and Joe Ruffolo are EPs for OceanX Media, while Kevin Tao Mohs is EP for National Geographic.

Nat Geo content will form part of the Disney+ SVOD service going forward, following the Mouse House’s acquisition of 20th Century Fox’s entertainment assets earlier this year.

Cameron said: “National Geographic is a global leader in scientific exploration and adventure, revealing the wonders of the ocean and the significant challenges that are part of ocean exploration. In Mission OceanX, we’ll take viewers on an unparalleled ocean journey on the Alucia2, introducing them to the trials and tribulations of ocean discovery in real-time and the principled, passionate people behind them. We’ll tell a visually spectacular and dramatic story—a story that inspires the next generation of explorers and adventurers committed to protecting and preserving our oceans.”

Courteney Monroe, president of Nat Geo Global Television Networks, said: “”We are tremendously proud to be partnering with BBC Studios’ Natural History Unit, OceanX, Dalio Philanthropies and the Avatar Alliance Foundation on this premium, landmark series that will live across National Geographic.

“National Geographic is uniquely positioned to amplify the urgency of global ocean conservation, not just through our world-class storytelling and unparalleled global reach, but also through National Geographic Society’s leadership in science, conservation and education. Along with our partners, we hope that Mission OceanX will not only entertain, but also spark curiosity, help solve big problems and push the boundaries of what we already know about our oceans.”

Julian Hector, head of BBC Studios Natural History Unit, added: “Discovering and telling the stories of inhabitants hidden beneath the waves and sometimes in mind-boggling depths of water raises huge filming challenges. Not only does this truly one-of-a-kind ground-breaking ocean exploration take us to the boundary of what is possible to film, we will define new boundaries.

“With OceanX Media, we’ve already had a tremendous history in capturing the most visually spectacular views of our oceans and by working with impeccable storytellers like James Cameron and National Geographic, we hope to tell the stories of the people behind the remarkable scientific discoveries and capture their trials and tribulations in the moment.”