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CBC, PBS, C4 locate Franklin’s Lost Ships

Franklin's-Lost-Ships_S1_Ep1_CCGS-Sir-Wilfrid-Laurier-©-Lion-TV-&-All3Media-IntA trio of public broadcasters from around the world have joined forces for Franklin’s Lost Ships, a special about the discovery of Arctic explorer Sir John Franklin’s lost ship Erebus.

Canada’s CBC, PBS Nova – the US public service broadcaster’s science strand – and the UK’s Channel 4 have joined forces for the project.

UK producer Lion Television is making the one-off doc. Lion’s All3Media stablemate, All3Media International, rounds out the roster of copro partners and will sell the film internationally. Canadian indie 90th Parallel is also a production partner.

Lion obtained world exclusive footage of the discovery of the ship, which was lost while searching for the Northwest passage trade route. It filmed the first moment that divers approached the wreck, which was in shallow Arctic waters. A drama-doc element will tell the story of the vessel and the sailors on board.

Erebus is one of two vessels that set sail in 1845 and were lost with their crews, prompting stories of cannibalism when some of the sailors’ bodies were later recovered.

Franklin's-Lost-Ships_S1_Ep1_Captain-Crozier-©-Lion-TV-&-All3Media-IntThe producer followed the latest search expedition for the ships, which was backed by Parks Canada and the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.

Richard Bradley, co-managing director of Lion Television, said: “We’re thrilled to announce this new international partnership to record this once-in-a-lifetime discovery bringing together a wealth of production and broadcasting talent.

“Being granted exclusive access to such an exciting and historically important expedition such as this is an incredible opportunity for a producer.”

All3Media International will launch the show at MIPTV in one-hour and 90-minute formats. Canada’s CBC will debut the doc on April 9 and Channel 4 and PBS Nova will then debut it in their respective territories.

“Richard and his team at Lion have done a fantastic job in bringing together a roster of companies that are renowned throughout the world for ambitious and inspiring factual content – and such an impressive pedigree will ensure the series will be highly anticipated amongst our international clients,” said Maartje Horchne, All3Media International’s head of acquisitions.