U-Boat War Gamers Screens On Sky History
Our new series U-Boat Wargamers has commenced screening on Tuesdays on Sky History. In an interview for the channel, Andrew Havill and Molly Vevers, two of the main actors from the six-part docu-drama talk about the true story behind the show. Andrew Havill plays Gilbert Roberts, who was told to come up with answers to protect the country against the U-Boat attacks, while Molly Vevers plays Jean Laidlaw, who comes up with the first of their many new tactics to sink the U-Boats. The actors discuss the characters they play, the challenges of filming and learning technical dialogue, and the importance of celebrating the achievements of these women who helped win the war.
WMR Hits The Headlines In Wales
WalesOnline reported today that sharp eyed reader Sian Sullivan, 53, from Llansamlet had spotted the WMR team at Bracelet Bay, Swansea filming scenes from War Gamers, our production for Curiosity Stream.
Most of the production was filmed in Bay Studios in Swansea. We really liked working with Welsh actors from the National Theatre of Wales at Bay Studios, one of the best studios we have ever seen.
ZDF Enterprises co-produces new WWII history series War Gamers
ZDF Enterprises has announced the co-production of War Gamers (6 x 50’), our brand new documentary series revealing the untold fascinating story of the WRENS whose brilliant tactics defeat a massive convoy of German U boats in WWII. The series will premiere on the flagship SVOD Curiosity Stream in 2022.
Ralf Rueckauer, Vice President ZDFE.unscripted, ZDF Enterprises said: “History provides a never-ending supply of intriguing stories. War Gamers celebrates the extraordinary skill and genius of the women, recruited by the British Royal Navy, who played a crucial role in ending Hitler’s dominance in the Atlantic.”
It is 1st January 1942. U-boat attacks have reduced Britain’s supply line from the United States to a trickle. If Britain runs out of supplies, it will lose the war.
Churchill orders the Royal Navy to determine why Hitler’s U boats are winning the Atlantic war. The Royal Navy recalls an officer, Gilbert Roberts, who has a unique talent: he knows how to recruit and train war gamers. With a dedicated team, he can unpick the German U-boat strategy and work out how to defeat the opposing force.
But with no male officers available to join a war gaming school, Captain Roberts selects a team of women – all members of the Women’s Royal Naval Service (WRENS). Most are in their twenties. He finds a mathematical prodigy, an accountant, and even a top-class hockey player. None of the women have ever been to sea. Together these WRENS not only determine how the U-boats are sinking so many British and American ships, they also come up with a plan to defeat them.
On 5th May 1943 their tactics are used against the largest fleet of German U-boats ever to attack a convoy. In a massive battle, which stretches from Iceland far out into the mid-Atlantic, their navy is frustrated and defeated by the WRENS’ war gaming. In 31 days, the Nazis lose 41 U boats and withdraw. The Germans named that month ‘Black May’.
Broadcast Tech Innovation Awards 2021: The Winners
Alan and Ammr from WMR, and JP Hersey and Sean Cosgrave from Stone Soup, who did the CGI and VFX for the series Lost Pirate Kingdom, collecting the award for Best VFX Project at the Broadcast gala awards dinner last night (Tuesday 30 November) at The Brewery, London.
The Broadcast Tech Innovation Awards 2021 were presented by actor and comedian Kerry Godliman and celebrate the role technology plays in creating and broadcasting the most outstanding productions of the past year. The Awards focus on the teamwork behind the productions, highlighting the creative and technical aspects of the projects.
Royals: Keeping The Crown Commences on Curiosity Stream
We are delighted to announce that our latest series, Royals: Keeping The Crown has commenced streaming on Curiosity Stream. The series has attracted considerable media coverage including this quote from Fox News,
“Marilyn Monroe almost became a Hollywood princess. A new Curiosity Stream docu-series, titled “Royals: Keeping the Crown,” explores how Prince Rainier of Monaco almost transformed Hollywood’s most famous sex symbol into royalty.
It was shortly after World War II when the prince was at risk of losing his crown if he couldn’t revive his country’s primary industry of tourism, as well as produce an heir to the throne.”
The Lost Pirate Kingdom is Broadcast Tech Award Finalist
On 14th October it was announced that WMR’s The Lost Pirate Kingdom has made the shortlist for Best Visual Effects in Broadcast Magazine’s Tech Awards.
WMR, working with their CGI supplier Stone Soup, used 4K back projection to re-create the Caribbean in 1715 for its The Lost Pirate Kingdom. This allows the camera to see the CGI image, unlike green screen where the image is inserted afterwards.
This gives the production a cinematic look but on a factual budget. WMR believes that this technique will transform drama recreation in factual programme making.
The winner, in the awards, will be announced on 30th November 2021.
Launch of The Lost Pirate Kingdom
Our new series, The Lost Pirate Kingdom, has launched globally as a Netflix Orignal.
Co-produced with ZDF Enterprises (ZDFE), the series delves into the 18th century to explore the end of the war with Spain, which left British privateers, who worked as a freelance Naval force, out of work. The Lost Pirate Kingdom features the real lives of pirate legends like Blackbeard, Henry Jennings, Benjamin Hornigold, Henry Vane and the extraordinary tale of Anne Bonny, one of the most famous female pirates of all time.
The six-part series employs novel production technology – hyper dynamic animation (HDA) – to re-create the pirate republic of Nassau as it was in 1715, using 4K back projection in front of live action. As opposed to the use of green screen, everything in camera shot is an object, so that it appears to be real.
Our CEO Alan Griffiths has described HDA as a “gamechanger” for factual production. “It means we can give a cinema look to any scene from any point in time, anywhere in the world,” he said. “We devised it using proprietary software of our own, and it’s a gamechanger for factual television, it means we’ll now be able to do series like that which fit in factual budgets. It’s going to shift how factual programming will look.”
ZDFE to Roll Out Ancient Apocalypse
We have partnered with ZDF Enterprises to co-produce and distribute the new history series Ancient Apocalypse.
Produced for ZDF.info, Ancient Apocalypse uncovers why some of history’s most fascinating people have disappeared, investigating the end of the Akkadian Empire, the Lost City of Helike, Sodom, the mystery of the Sea Peoples, the Maya Civilization and Doggerland. The title is now part of ZDF Enterprises’ history catalog, which also includes the World War II series Frontlines, The Abyss—Rise and Fall of the Nazis and Myths—The Great History of Humanities.
Ralf Rueckauer, VP of ZDFE.unscripted at ZDF Enterprises, said: “Our partnership with World Media Rights has generated a number of outstanding productions, with Ancient Apocalypse being the latest. Their reputation for recreating historical moments, in-depth research and compelling storytelling, has resulted in a series that will engage audiences everywhere.”
New Talent at WMR
We have announced two important new appointments today.
Eamon Hardy is joining WMR as Executive Producer, Factual and we have retained Meredith Coral as a sales consultant.
Eamon has overseen many of the BBC’s landmark series including The American Future (for BBC2) and The Whale (for BBC 1). In 2017 he Exec’d American Dynasties: The Kennedys for CNN and in 2019 Egypt’s Unexplained Files for Discovery. He also produced some of the most high profile Panoramas for BBC 1 including Who Bombed Omagh? and The License to Murder.
Meredith has over 20 years of experience working in broadcast, acquisitions and distribution across multiple genres and has a proven track record developing co-production partnerships. She worked at UKTV as Head of Co-productions. Her company Lost Art both pitches and closes co-production deals for companies like WMR.
Alan Griffiths, our CEO, said: ‘I am delighted that Eamon is joining us as he is one of the top executive producers in London. Eamon is intrigued by our business model. As we have seen a sharp increase in demand for WMR’s box set series in the last two months, I have brought in Meredith to help us with gap financing some of our new proposals. Her experience is invaluable to WMR.”
Unseen And Rare Royal Footage
Today we have announced our brand new documentary series The Royals in Colour, having secured exclusive access to rare and never seen before footage of royal families from around the world.
Utilising the state-of-the-art colourisation software that we employed to great success in World War II in Colour and Greatest Events of World War Two in Colour, The Royals in Colour (10 x 60’) charts the rise and fall of a fascinating collection of kings, queens, sultans and emperors across the globe from the First World War to the present day.
The series will launch to international buyers at MIPCOM 2019 in Cannes.
New Series – Catching the Cold Killers
Having secured exclusive access to two Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Cold Case Unit veterans our new series, Catching the Cold Killers (10 x 60’) is currently in pre-production and sees officers Rick Jackson and Adam Bercovici re-open cold cases that have bewildered LA’s law enforcement community for years.
The new series comes as a shocking new FBI report recently found that 40 per cent of American murders went unsolved in 2017: that’s 6,012 murders in one year alone. Catching the Cold Killers will show how these two charismatic officers hunt down the missing evidence that will send the unknown killers to jail.
The series will launch to international buyers at MIPCOM 2019 in Cannes.
Production is underway on Great Inventions
We are one of four internationally recognised production companies starting a new series about the greatest inventions of mankind, in partnership with ZDF Enterprises.
Production has begun on the series and the first 35×50′ episodes will be gradually completed by the end of 2019 and middle of 2020. Other seasons are also already planned.
“We are very proud of our collaboration with some of the greatest production companies in Europe. Here we have a new long-running series being created with a consistent look,” said Ralf Rückauer, VP of ZDFE.unscripted entertainment at ZDF Enterprises, in a statement. “The series talks in a modern and entertaining way about all the things that we tend to take for granted in our modern civilization, highlighting their history and their meaning for our lives in the past, present and future.”
Rights are available for all media worldwide, with ZDF Enterprises responsible for marketing.
It’s The Medium Not The Message
In an article published today in Broadcast magazine, our Chief Executive Alan Griffiths argues that younger viewers will watch older-skewing content if it is presented correctly.
Alan believes that viewing demographics are becoming ever more determined by the delivery system and content structure and less by subject matter.
He states that younger viewers are bingeing on television on just about any device, which is fuelling the rise of the box set. His experience is that provided the factual series we produce for Netflix are constructed like dramas, the audience will watch them.
World Media Rights inks sales for WWII project
We are delighted to announce several broadcast partners for our upcoming docuseries Greatest Events of World War II in HD Colour. The 10 x 50-minute history series has been picked up by Discovery in the UK, N-TV in Germany and Planete+ in France. Planete+ acquired the series from ZDF Enterprises, the commercial arm of German pubcaster ZDF. ZDF will distribute the series in the rest of the world.
The series is a follow-up to our World War II in HD Colour, and offers rare archive footage processed with state-of-the-art colorization software. CEO Alan Griffiths and creative director David McNab serve as executive producers.
World Media Rights is at the forefront of action adventure series for the international market and Greatest Events of World War II in Colour fits perfectly into our portfolio. It will appeal to history binge watchers around the world.
In an article published today in C21Media, our Chief Executive Alan Griffiths looks at binge watching, the benefits of the box set and our five rules for capturing a massive international audience.
Important New Appointment
We are pleased to welcome Dean Palmer to the World Media Rights team. Dean will take up the newly created position of executive producer, factual entertainment and project development. He joins us following consultancy roles at John Bishop’s Lola Entertainment and Channel 5’s TV production arm Elephant House Productions.
At this critical time in our company’s expansion, Dean brings flair, experience and passion to the creative and editorial team. His cross-genre experience will help us open up new markets while maintaining exceptional programme quality.
Air Crash Confidential – Series 3
The fantastic third series of our popular Air Crash Confidential has been announced today. This 6×60’ season explores the human cost of air disasters and examines the poor maintenance and human error that can lead to them. Painstaking reconstructions blend with photoreal CGI and gripping witness testimony to create mini-movies that are absorbing, terrifying and intensely moving. The investment in World Media Rights by ZDF Enterprises has ensured this series significantly exceeds the first two in both impact and production values.
The show will be broadcast by Quest in the U.K. and Nine Network in Australia. ZDF Enterprises distributes the series in the rest of the world.
Kings of the Ring
We are moving into scripted drama production for the first time. English boxing manager and promoter Frank Warren has agreed with us to develop a drama series based on his life story. For dramatic potential it is hard to imagine a more high-octane world than the International boxing scene. With Frank’s input we expect this series to recreate the visceral and cut-throat world more accurately than ever before.
Frank said “I’ve watched plenty of boxing dramas in the past and not one of them rang true. I want this show to be the real deal – just like the boxers. Gutsy, edgy and dangerous”.
Board Restructure and Recruitment
We are delighted to announce two new senior appointments following the investment in the business by ZDF Enterprises. With over 20 years’ production experience in factual documentaries, Val Campbell joins us from Ronachan Films as Head of Production and Suzanne Clarke joins us as Finance Director. Suzanne was previously Head of Accounts for Frank Warren’s Boxnation pay TV boxing channel until she went to Australia and founded her own e-learning company. She is also ambassador for the Women’s empowerment movement in South Africa.
These new appointments follow a board restructure where our CEO Alan Griffiths was joined by Creative Director David McNab and ZDF Enterprises’ CEO Fred Burcksen.
ZDF Enterprises Takes Stake
ZDF Enterprises announced today that it has signed an agreement to acquire a 32.5% stake in World Media Rights.
We have worked with a number of distribution businesses over the years and have found ZDF Enterprises an excellent partner who can best sell our shows internationally. This investment will help us further our ambitions to produce new types of shows in the factual entertainment space,
Hitler’s Circle of Evil Premieres in London
ZDF Enterprises (ZDFE) is holding its first-ever ZDFE.factual London Screenings event on June 15, when it will host the world premiere of our new production, ‘Hitler’s Circle of Evil’. The programme follows the intrigues and rivalry of Hitler’s inner circle as they compete for his attention. Billed as ‘Downton Abbey meets the Third Reich’ the series is compulsive viewing for binge watchers. It will transmit first in Australia and will be available worldwide on Netflix from February 2018.
Reelz Networks reveals The Real Story…
We can announce today that REELZ Networks will be the exclusive U.S. broadcaster for our new 6 x 60’ series ‘The Real Story of…’ in a deal brokered by our distributor ITV Studios Entertainment.
‘The Real Story of…’ uncovers the true stories upon which some of the most famous, Oscar®-nominated movies of recent years were based. The series will harness our expertise in marrying dramatic recreation with news archive footage of the actual events and eyewitness testimony. Separating fact from fiction, ‘The Real Story of…’ will introduce viewers to the real people behind extraordinary events and the real drama of the true stories.