Co-commissions between BBC Scotland and BBC Unscripted will see actor Martin Compston and Ben Fogle return for new runs of their respective hit BBC shows from last year.
In Martin Compston’s Northern Fling (6 x 30 min), the Line of Duty actor, along with his best friend Phil MacHugh, embarks on an epic Northern adventure – searching for all that it means to be from the ‘North’ starting in Shetland, then travelling the length of Norway to lift the lid on what we can learn from the most Northern of our Scandinavian neighbours. This commission is the sequel to the successful Martin Compston’s Scottish Fling, which followed the duo across Scotland.
Says Martin: “Me and my buddy, Phil MacHugh, are off again, this time to Norway which means ‘Way of the North’…
“North for some conjures up images of cold bleakness and a tough life, but is it really that? I don’t think so. We are heading to Norway to get some real northern exposure to the life and the people, at work and having fun.”
Scotland’s Sacred Islands with Ben Fogle (4 x 60 min) has been re-commissioned, following the popularity of the first series broadcast last year. Ben Fogle will once again explore the stunning landscapes and spiritual belief across several beautiful islands. Complemented with spectacular drone footage, he will celebrate each island he visits, meeting the locals and learning how the island’s unique religious history is woven through the community today. As with series one, he will explore what it is about each island that touches his psyche more deeply and what makes each a place of spirituality and sanctuary.
Ben explains: “I’m thrilled to be continuing my spiritual odyssey across some of Scotland’s most special and secret places. I travel the world meeting extraordinary people in beautiful lands but the Scottish islands have a magic all of their own. Their shared communities and deep connection with the land, air and sea are what I want to explore. What does it take to live and work in such harsh but stunning landscapes? Ultimately, what do people believe in and why does faith, in all its senses, play such a huge part in island life?”
Both projects produced by Scottish-based company Tern, which is part of Zinc Media, are expected to broadcast later this year. Scotland’s Sacred Islands with Ben Fogle will be shown on BBC Scotland, BBC One and iPlayer and Martin Compston’s Northern Fling will go out on BBC Scotland, BBC Two and iPlayer.
David Marshall, Head of Entertainment, Tern, says: “Making series where big name talent do counterintuitive things is what Tern is known for, and we are pleased to have secured another series with Martin and Ben, both household names who are able to disarm contributors and make audiences feel they are part of their adventures.”
Harry Bell, Managing Director, Tern, adds: “Tern’s strength is in bringing Nations stories to the Network, as well as marrying top talent with their passions – so these commissions sit perfectly in our sweet spot. Not only that, returnable series form the foundation of our business, and allow us to continue to grow and evolve.”
Steve Allen, Commissioning Editor, BBC Scotland, says: “Viewers loved these series though they each brought something very different to the table. Martin and Phil’s irrepressible sense of fun, based on their solid friendship, delighted viewers as they travelled cross Scotland and it is going to be so interesting – and I would expect a lot of fun – to get their take on Norway.
“While Ben’s serenity as he took a spiritual island tour, with the backdrop of fantastic scenery, engaged people in a different way, but again was very much taken to viewers’ hearts.
“And we are delighted these wonderful wanderers are returning to BBC Scotland and BBC network for new series.”
Martin Compston’s Northern Fling was commissioned by Clare Mottershead, Lead Commissioning Editor, Factual Entertainment & Events and Steve Allen at BBC Scotland. It is Series Produced by Allanah Langstaff and Executive Produced by David Marshall for Tern at Zinc Media. The series is distributed by TVF International. Scotland’s Sacred Islands with Ben Fogle was commissioned by Daisy Scalchi, BBC Head of Religion & Ethics TV, and Steve Allen at BBC Scotland. It is Series Produced by Craig Collinson and Executive Produced by Harry Bell for Tern at Zinc Media. The series is distributed by DCD Rights.