February 4, 2021

BBC Two commissions Unsolved Histories With Lucy Worsley (w/t)

London, UK – Lucy Worsley will reinvestigate and reveal new evidence about some of British history’s biggest unsolved mysteries in a new four-part series for BBC Two from BBC Studios’ The Documentary Unit, co-produced by PBS.

Who killed the Princes in the tower in 1483? What actually caused the Black Death? Why did a witch craze sweep 16th century Britain? Was George III really mad? These are some of the most enduring and perplexing questions that have baffled academics and fascinated history fans for years – and this new series will see historian Lucy Worsley turn sleuth by reopening and completely re-evaluating these infamous mysteries. The factual series will unfold like a thrilling investigation – keeping audiences guessing at every twist and turn.

In each episode Worsley will take a deep dive into a single event, mounting a comprehensive reinvestigation by assembling historical and contemporary evidence, following paper trails, re-examining scenes of crimes, tracking down lost records, and calling on the very best experts to help her completely reframe the past. She will reveal cutting-edge discoveries that will shed new light on the cases.

Unsolved Histories with Lucy Worsley (working title) puts a modern lens on the past, exploring if these incidents have been obscured by centuries of historical thinking. Each episode will bring a contemporary perspective to hugely topical and complex societal issues asking how changing attitudes to children, gender politics, class, inequality and mental health have obscured the answers to these cases. It will uncover new victims and new victors, challenging our perceptions and providing answers to each renowned mystery.

Lucy Worsley says: “I’m thrilled to be revisiting some of the big-hitting stories from history that just keep sucking us in, and like everyone who works at the Tower of London, I just can’t wait to share the next twist in the tale of what we think we know about the ‘murder’ of the Bloody Tower’s ‘Little Princes’.  But I also really love the fact that this isn’t just a series about the past.  It’s also about what the past means today: an investigation of our own 2021 ideas about childhood, feminism, pandemics and mental health.”

Abigail Priddle, Commissioning Editor for the BBC, says: “With her enquiring mind and historical expertise, Lucy will strip back the layers of history, to explore these renowned moments afresh in search of a definitive answer to some of our most intriguing historical mysteries.”

Alan Holland, Creative Director The Documentary Unit, BBC Studios Production, commented: “Lucy will do what she does best in this series and tap into the zeitgeist – in this case a huge appetite for the re-evaluation of familiar crime stories with fresh eyes. These are gripping and compelling unsolved mysteries – tales audiences might think they already know, but packed with information and insight they’ve never heard before. She wants us to understand the victims and be challenged on our long-held perceptions.

Bill Gardner, VP of Programming & Development for PBS, says, “Lucy brings a fresh perspective and attitude to the stories she tells. She goes deeper to ask the questions you wish you could ask and focuses on the story within the story. Lucy gets to the real heart of histories and the legacies they leave in an accessible, engaging way, and we’re thrilled she’s a part of the PBS family.”

Unsolved Histories with Lucy Worsley (working title) is a 4×60’ series for BBC TWO and PBS and is being made by BBC Studios’ The Documentary Unit. It was commissioned by Patrick Holland, Controller BBC TWO. The Commissioning Editor is Abigail Priddle and the Executive Producer is Julia Harrington. Bill Gardner is Executive in Charge for PBS.

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About BBC Studios

BBC Studios, a global content company with bold British creativity at its heart, is a commercial subsidiary of the BBC. Able to take an idea seamlessly from thought to screen and beyond, its activities span content financing, development, production, sales, branded services, and ancillaries across both its own productions, and programs and formats made by high-quality UK independents. Award-winning British programs made by the business are internationally recognized across a broad range of genres and specialisms, with brands like Dancing with the Stars/Strictly Come Dancing, Top Gear, Doctor Who and Bluey. BBC Studios has offices in 22 markets globally, including ten production bases in the UK and production bases or partnerships in a further nine countries around the world. The company, which ordinarily makes around 2,500 hours of content a year for both the BBC and third parties including Apple, Amazon and China Mobile, is a champion for British creativity around the world. It is also a committed partner for the UK’s independent sector through a mix of equity partnerships, content investment and international distribution for program titles. To the BBC, BBC Studios contributes both cash dividends and funds for program-making, supporting the license fee and enhancing programs for UK audiences.   

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