Channel 4 has commissioned BriteSpark Films, part of Argonon, to make a fast-turnaround 30-minute Dispatches film following Conservative MP Johnny Mercer’s private trip to experience the war in Ukraine first hand. BriteSpark is partnering with Levison Wood’s Blackmane Media for the project.
Wood (Walking the Nile – Channel 4) accompanied Mercer into Ukraine for a week along with Director Neil Bonner, at the invitation of Ukraine MPs. They followed Mercer as he travelled from Krakow to Lviv and on to the scene of fighting in Kyiv so the former soldier and veterans minister could experience the realities of the war and offer support to his Ukrainian counterparts. Following the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of women and children, they met those who remain and plan to resist including some who have already been seriously injured in the fighting. Mercer describes the war as ‘our generation’s righteous fight’.
The film will be directed by Erica Jenkin (Stacey Dooley Back on The Psych Ward – BBC3) and Bonner with Wood and Tom Porter Executive Producing for Blackmane and BriteSpark respectively. The film was commissioned by Head of News and Current Affairs and Specialist Factual and Sport Louisa Compton.
Johnny Mercer MP said: “I want this film to communicate the amazing resilience and bravery of the people we met in Kyiv. I hope it will help my colleagues and the British public make the right decisions about how we can all support Ukraine to get through this conflict, which is our generation’s righteous fight.”
Tom Porter, director of programmes at BriteSpark Films said: “It’s a privilege to be collaborating with Johnny and Lev on this film. Their material, gathered in extraordinary circumstances, highlights the plight of the Ukrainian people from a totally unique perspective.”
Louisa Compton, Head of News and Current Affairs and Specialist Factual and Sport said: “In this film Johnny Mercer will bring us to the frontline of the biggest story of the moment. The on the ground reporting will be invaluable both for showing British viewers the reality of life as it is right now for Ukrainian people and for documenting the damage of Putin’s war to the civilian population.”