Amazon Unveils UK Docs ‘Fake Sheikh’ And ‘The Greatest Show Never Made’ In True-Crime Push — Edinburgh TV Festival

Amazon’s push into true crime continues with several new UK originals unveiled here at the Edinburgh TV Festival today.

Fake Sheikh and The Greatest Show Never Made come from Voltage TV and Factual Fiction, respectively, and will launch on the streamer next year. They will be joined by a previously announced ITN Productions doc, whose titles been revealed as The Confession, Firecrest Films’ three-part series Three Mothers (working title), a film about YouTuber KSI and Bern Stokes: Phoenix From the Ashes.

Fake Sheikh tells the story of maverick British reporter Mazher Mahmood, whose exposés generated headlines by his use of false identities to ensnare royals, sports stars, politicians, celebrities and members of the public. The three-part documentary series will track his meteoric rise (he was twice winning Reporter of The Year at The British Press Awards) and subsequent downfall and imprisonment.

Members of Mahmood’s inner circle are among the interviewees and will give those who were affected by his stings th chance to their side of the story. Ceri Isfryn is directing, with Sanjay Singhal and Jonathan Smith the executive producers.

The Greatest Show Never Made follows the story of how, on a wet morning in June 2002, four cameras filmed 30 contestants who had quit jobs and given up their homes and travelled to a park in South East London, to take part in the biggest reality show on TV. However, the show didn’t exist and the series will explore fame, identity and the desire to escape everyday life, as the group try and turn disaster into triumph as they confront the collapse of their dreams.

BAFTA Breakthrough and RTS Award winning Producer/Director Ashley Francis-Roy is to direct the two-part series, with Emily Dalton and Jonathan Smith the executive producers.

Prime Video also confirmed its ITNP documentary examining the disappearance of British housewife Patricia Hall from the small Yorkshire town of Pudsey will be called The Confession. Sam Hobkinson is directing, Vivienne Perry producing and Nathaniel Lippiett and Ian Rumsey exec producing.

“Original documentary storytelling is a key part of our growing UK slate, from nail-biting sport to intriguing whodunnits and stranger-than-fiction history,” said Dan Grabiner, Head of UK Originals, Amazon Studios. “We’re excited to be working with tremendously talented filmmakers, both new directors and legends of the genre, to bring these remarkable human stories to a global audience.”

“There’s a huge appetite for true crime in the UK,” added Amazon Development Executive Fozia Khan.

Amazon used its Edinburgh session today to also point to Three Mothers (working title), the three-part series from Scottish producer Firecrest Films announced back in May. It follows the story of Alan and Judith Kilshaw, who adopted twin baby girls from the U.S. and brought them home to north Wales. Within days, stories emerged that the Kilshaws had bought the babies online and a media storm ensued.

Prime Video Pathway Investment

Prime Video also unveiled further investment in the UK creative industries through the second phase of its Prime Video Pathway training initiative. The London Screen Academy and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland have been added to the list of organizations receiving funding. The initiative is designed to open up access to jobs in the TV and film industry across the UK.

The London Screen Academy (LSA)will receive £750,000 over the next three years, while The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS) will receive funding over the same period to support four students.

Elsewhere in the session, Amazon Head of European Originals Georgia Brown declined to directly address Prime Video’s recent subscription price hike, but said: “What we’re tasked with is delivering maximum value to our customers through the content that we’re curating and producing.” She did add Amazon’s costs had risen.

She recommitted Amazon to local production, saying the streamer had a “very different” approach to its rivals, with a smaller “curated” slate — a strategy led by Amazon Studios Heads Jennifer Salke.

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