White Spark Pictures to embark on landmark documentary project | Programming | News | Rapid TV News
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Australian factual indie White Spark Pictures has revealed that it is to announce that it is to embark on a major new television documentary series – The World’s Largest Telescopes: Beyond the Milky Way.
white spark 24Nov2022
The project follows the construction of the SKA telescopes, a project that has been billed as the world’s greatest-ever scientific endeavour. Effectively acting as a ‘time machine’, capable of seeing further into space than ever before, the v (Square Kilometre Array) project brings together astronomers, engineers and scientists from sixteen participating countries to build the world’s largest and most capable network of radio telescopes.

The unprecedented scale of this project, eventually including hundreds of radio dishes across Southern Africa and hundreds of thousands of low-frequency antennas in Western Australia, will enable astronomers to observe the first stars and galaxies to exist in the Universe and give humanity its best-ever chance of discovering if there’s life beyond Earth.

After three decades of planning, the SKAO (Square Kilometre Array Observatory, the organisation which runs the telescopes) started initial construction activities around the world in July 2021. The next phase will begin with a critical milestone in the history of the observatory, namely that start of on-site construction at two of the most radio-quiet places on Earth: outback Western Australia and South Africa’s Karoo.

The primetime event documentary, the first 2 x 60’ series (or 1 x 90’), will arrive in 2024 with a further two series planned, charting key milestones and discoveries over the course of the decade. White Spark Pictures’ consultant, Wild Thring Media, will be formally launching the project to broadcasters at the World Congress of Science & Factual Producers.

White Spark Pictures has negotiated unprecedented access to film this incredible feat of engineering, due to be completed at the end of the decade, as well as to capture international collaboration at play at the SKAO’s UK headquarters and the work of astronomers on the ground in both locations who will ultimately harness its power to solve the mysteries of the Universe.

Commenting on the project, Briege Whitehead, founder and creative director at White Spark Pictures said: “With The World’s Largest Telescopes: Beyond the Milky Way we will be capturing a monumental, ground-breaking international project and I am honoured that all the leading scientific institutions involved are putting their trust in me to bring their endeavours to the screen and tell the SKA’s incredible story to viewers around the world. The telescopes will be capable of showing us so much over time – from how galaxies and black holes are formed to if there is life on other planets. Indeed, the established pre-cursor telescopes are already making major scientific breakthroughs on a regular basis, so what we will be able to learn over the next decade could not only redefine current levels of understanding but also reshape mankind’s future.”

Edwina Thring from Wild Thring Media added: “The word unique is used a lot in TV production but The World’s Largest Telescopes: Beyond the Milky Way truly is a one-of-a-kind project that is destined to change the way we look at our world and the Universe. Such major event programming is rare and, as a result, we predict a groundswell of interest from international broadcast partners looking for standout unscripted content that will successfully bring people together in primetime.”