ITV COMMISSIONS FACTUAL SPECIAL 
THE MISSING CHILDREN

27 January 2021

Topic and RTÉ board True Vision and Nevision’s documentary on the Irish Mother and Baby Home Scandal.

UK commercial broadcaster ITV has commissioned a documentary from factual independent True Vision and London-based independent producer Nevision, in association with Topic, the fast-growing North American streaming service from First Look Media, on the Irish mother and baby home scandal, entitled The Missing Children (wt).

Irish public service broadcaster RTÉ is co-producing the project, which it will air as a feature documentary. The Missing Children is available in multiple formats including a 3 x 45’ as well as a feature length special. Abacus Media Rights has global rights to The Missing Children and Jonathan Ford’s new company was instrumental in bringing on board Topic and RTÉ.

The scandal has made headline news again in the last few weeks when the final report from the enquiry was released, concluding that overall about 9,000 children died in the 18 institutions under investigation, and the Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) Mícheál Martin apologised in parliament and  described the events as a “dark, difficult and shameful chapter” of Irish history.

Focusing on the Tuam home where 796 babies are believed to have been buried in a septic tank, The Missing Children will tell the powerful story of survivors and families uncovering the truth. Hundreds of children died of neglect or were adopted, often illegally, from the notorious institution run by Bons Secours nuns. The Missing Children is directed by Tanya Stephan and produced by True Vision’s Brian Woods and Nevision’s Creative Director, Factual, Anne Morrison, with Executive Producers for Topic, Ryan Chanatry and Gena Konstantinakos.

True Vision and Nevision has followed the unfolding of events of the scandal as they have come to light over the last two years to make this definitive film about Ireland’s missing children and what really happened to them. Following the Irish government’s decision to excavate the burial site at Tuam, which will unlock the DNA to identify the babies and their surviving relatives, The Missing Children will tell the personal stories behind the international scandal which continues to affect lives in Ireland, the UK and the US.

Tom Giles, ITV Controller of Current Affairs, said: “With unrivalled access to those closest to the investigation into Tuam, one of the homes at the heart of  this scandal, this film promises to provide an unflinching and vital account of what went on, who was responsible and how the impact is still being felt on lives today.” 

Tanya Stephan adds: “This is a major unfolding story in Ireland that impacts many people in Britain and the US. After two years’ developing, and uncovering new evidence for this documentary, I’m proud to be part of bringing this important story to light.”

Brian Woods comments: “It is incredible that this abuse went on for so long, and was so often perpetrated by those who had dedicated themselves to the service of God. While this story stretches back almost a hundred years, there are also many people for whom this is very much still unfolding now, and who are desperate for their voices to be heard.”

Anne Morrison says: “The shocking treatment of mothers and babies at Tuam and other homes has contemporary and international resonance. With more information emerging, it’s an extraordinary story which demands our attention.”

The Missing Children filmmakers set out to tell the story not just of the horrific cruelty and hypocrisy that went on in these institutions at the hand of the Irish government and the Catholic Church, but also of the collective push being made today for accountability,” said Gena Konstantinakos, Executive Producer & VP of Originals for Topic.  “This series will shine a bright light on what went on then and what is happening now, and we are very proud to support it.”

For further information, please contact DDA Blueprint

Janet Balmforth Tel: + 44 (0) 7748 185 656 or email janet@ddablueprint.com

For further information in the US, please contact Topic

Nathaniel Baruch: Nathaniel.baruch@topic.com

Notes to editors:

About Nevision

Nevision is an independent production company that originates, produces and facilitates content creation, curating and nurturing a project from inception to exploitation.

 The company currently has a broad slate of series in active development and productions across all genres including: animated series Floogals for Universal Kids in US and Channel 5’s Milkshake! in the UK; three seasons of scripted series Keeping Faith with Vox Pictures for BBC, S4C and Acorn TV; scripted series Alex with SF Studios in Sweden for Viaplay, Atlantic Crossing with CineNord for NRK and Beta, and in partnership with Palatin Media in Germany, it has co-produced eight-part series Spides, shot in the English language for NBCUniversal International Channels.

 Nevision is producing documentary special The Missing Children in co-production with True Vision for ITV in the UK, Topic in the US and Irish broadcaster RTE, and has recently co-produced factual series Rolling Stone with Jigsaw Productions for HBO US and Sky Arts in the UK. Nevison’s slate also includes the company’s first feature documentary Manolo: The Boy Who Made Shoes for Lizards.

 In addition to its own production slate, Nevision has a sister Scandinavian drama production company Nevis Productions.

About True Vision

True Vision was founded by Brian Woods in 1995 to produce television that makes a difference.  It has been described by The Guardian as “the country’s best, most committed documentary maker”. Films made by the company have been nominated for BAFTA awards in 9 out of the last 10 years – including in 2020 when both The Family Secret and Growing Up Poor were nominated.

BAFTA winning films the company has made include My Son the Jihadi, Evicted, Orphans of Nkandla, China’s Stolen Children, Chosen and Zimbabwe’s Forgotten Children. In addition the company has won several Emmies, 3 Peabodies, and numerous other international awards.

True Vision has a particularly strong record in giving a voice to children and others who are all too often sidelined.  It also has considerable experience in working with the police such as following the 3-year-long investigation into the murder of Peter Farqhar, which the company made into a feature length documentary for Channel Four, and is now co-producing as a drama serial for BBC ONE.

About Abacus Media Rights

Abacus Media Rights (AMR) acquires and distributes a diverse slate of premium, multi-genre programming in the international market. At the same time, the company also works with producers to facilitate pre-sales and development finance as well as broadcaster commissions.

 Embracing a fully transparent reporting ethos throughout, AMR focuses on building strong client relationships and generating positive solutions at every stage of the process, from initial financing to worldwide broadcast in order to successfully deliver scripted and non-scripted entertainment that counts to a global audience.

 Abacus Media Rights is a member of the Amcomri Media Group.

Further details: www.abacusmediarights.com

Twitter: @abacus_rights

About Topic

Topic is the new streaming service from First Look Media, curated for a curious and engaged audience seeking smart, provocative and meaningful entertainment. Topic features North American premieres and programming from around the world, complemented by a diverse slate of originals including scripted comedies and dramas, talk shows, documentaries, features and more. Topic is available to US and  Canadian audiences on Topic.com, AppleTV & iOS, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Android, and Amazon Prime Video Channels, with more coming soon.  Currently streaming on Topic is the original series What’s Your Ailment?! hosted by comedian Maria Bamford; the acclaimed Italian crime drama The Miracle, the action-packed German crime series Pagan Peak. and Venezuela’s selection for the 2021 Academy Awards, Once Upon A Time in Venezuela