The A+E Networks UK channel has commissioned Wavelength Films, which produced BBC4’s Stephen Fry And The Gutenberg Press and Suggs’ Italian Job for Sky Arts, to make The Battle Of Waterloo Presented By Sean Bean (w/t).
It will air in June 2015 around the anniversary of the epic battle, in which Napoleon’s French Army was defeated in Belgium.
Game Of Thrones star Bean will be familiar with the story, having played Richard Sharpe in ITV’s Napoleonic War drama Sharpe, based on Bernard Cornwell’s novels about a fictional soldier.
History and H2 director of programming Rachel Job said Bean was top of the list of talent to front the documentary. “We didn’t go after him in a massive way because we thought he’s really busy and really famous, and then Wavelength came to us with him and the idea about Waterloo,” she said. “It’s about picking the subject matter that the talent wants to do, and he’s always been interested in Waterloo and the Napoleonic War.”
The Battle Of Waterloo Presented By Sean Bean will use evidence from eyewitness accounts alongside present-day military experts to tell the story of the battle. Bean will work with these experts to test the weapons and tactics that shaped the outcome of the conflict and compare them with modern strategies.
Job said the commission highlights History’s strategy of presenting traditional documentaries “through a different lens” and follows Bannockburn, a graphic novel-style film produced by Sky Vision and Arcadia Content.
The Battle Of Waterloo Presented By Sean Bean has also been prebought by History’s sister channels in Germany, Latin America, Italy, Iberia, Australia and New Zealand. Job said although it is a UK commission, these deals will help boost the show’s budget. “As soon as I mentioned it to the other channels, they jumped on it. Game Of Thrones is massive around the world,” she added.
The doc begins filming in the UK and Belgium this month. It will be executive produced by Wavelength Films’ Patrick McGrady.