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James Bluemel’s Once Upon a Time in Space Set for BBC Two



Earth From Space

BBC Factual has announced the commission of a new series titled “Once Upon a Time in Space.” The 4×60 series, directed by James Bluemel and produced by Keo Films for BBC Two and iPlayer, will explore the human story of space exploration through unique archive footage, present-day clips, and firsthand testimonies from around the world.

Bluemel, known for his critically acclaimed documentaries “Once Upon a Time in Northern Ireland” and “Once Upon a Time in Iraq,” brings his distinctive approach to this new project. “Once Upon a Time in Northern Ireland” was recently awarded the Broadcast Award for Best Documentary Series and has received two Grierson Awards. “Once Upon a Time in Iraq” won the 2021 BAFTA for Best Factual Series, an international Emmy for Best Documentary, and other prestigious awards.

The series will delve into the past, present, and future of space exploration. It will examine how countries like China, Russia, America, India, Saudi Arabia, and Japan are investing heavily in lunar exploration as they compete for power and influence beyond Earth. With humanity venturing back into space after decades of limited contact with the Moon, “Once Upon a Time in Space” will explore the consequences of this new Space Race.

The documentary will feature testimonies from astronauts, scientists, engineers, space tourists, billionaires with ambitious plans for space travel, dreamers fascinated by cosmic possibilities, and astro-theorists captivated by the wonders of our universe. Through their stories and perspectives on space exploration’s past and present state, the series aims to shed light on what it means for humanity’s future.


Clare Sillery, BBC Head of Commissioning Documentaries expressed her support for Bluemel’s creative vision based on his previous successful documentaries. “In his Once Upon a Time series of documentaries, film-maker James Bluemel has been clear eyed and fearless in his choices. His distinctive approach has brought a new understanding to the most challenging and complex subjects.”

James Bluemel himself is eager to take the “Once Upon a Time” approach and apply it to the topic of space. “It will be interesting creatively… to move the strand on in an unexpected and refreshing way.”

“Once Upon a Time in Space” (4×60) is commissioned by Clare Sillery for BBC Two and iPlayer, with Tom Pullen as the BBC Commissioning Editor. Keo Films, a Passion Pictures company, produces the series, with James Bluemel serving as Director and Executive Producer alongside Will Anderson and Andrew Palmer for Keo Films. Vicky Mitchell is the Series Producer. The series is produced in partnership with the Open University.


I'm Noah Masire, I look after UK TV News at Memorable TV. From the gripping crime of Happy Valley to the feel good storytelling of All Creatures Great & Small, I bring you the latest news about what's what and who's who in the world of iconic British TV shows. Stay tuned!

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