In an exciting announcement today, BBC Factual revealed the commission of a captivating new series, “Once Upon a Time in Space,” from the acclaimed team behind the award-winning documentaries “Once Upon a Time in Northern Ireland” and “Once Upon a Time in Iraq.”

Renowned director James Bluemel will helm the 4×60 series, produced by Keo Films for BBC Two and iPlayer. The show promises to narrate the human tale of space exploration through a blend of unique archive footage, contemporary visuals, and firsthand accounts from across the globe.

Bluemel, celebrated for his recent work on “Once Upon a Time in Northern Ireland,” a Keo Films co-production with Walk on Air, received widespread acclaim for his documentary series on the Northern Ireland conflict. The series clinched the Broadcast Award for the best documentary series, adding to its two Grierson Awards. Bluemel’s earlier project, “Once Upon a Time in Iraq,” secured the 2021 Bafta for best factual series, an international Emmy for best documentary, a duPont Colombia Award, and outstanding series awards at the Rose d’Or festival.

The upcoming series, set to delve into the past and present of space exploration, holds a spotlight on the consequences for the future of humanity as we embark on a renewed journey into the cosmos. The narrative will feature fresh testimonies from astronauts, scientists, engineers, space tourists, billionaires, dreamers, and astro-theorists – all captivated by the awe-inspiring possibilities of space.

Clare Sillery, BBC Head of Commissioning, Documentaries, says: “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.

I’m delighted to support his creative ambition as he and the brilliant team at Keo turn their attention to space exploration. I’m excited to see what surprising new perspectives they will unlock and what the series might reveal about us and our modern world.”

James Bluemel says: “It’s been great to work with the BBC on both Once Upon a Time in Iraq and Once Upon a Time in Northern Ireland, and I’m really excited to be starting this new one. It will be interesting creatively to take the Once Upon a Time approach and focus it on a subject like space, to move the strand on in an unexpected and refreshing way.”

The series, titled “Once Upon a Time in Space” (4×60), is commissioned by Clare Sillery, BBC Head of Commissioning, Documentaries for BBC Two and iPlayer. Tom Pullen serves as the BBC Commissioning Editor. Produced by Keo Films, a Passion Pictures company, James Bluemel will act as the Executive Producer alongside Will Anderson and Andrew Palmer for Keo Films. Vicky Mitchell takes on the role of Series Producer, with the project being produced in collaboration with the Open University.