“The editing is strong and pacy, creating a point of difference. We have pitched this doc quite young”


Distributor TCB Media Rights
Producers Blackball Media; Woodcut Media
Length 1 x 60 minutes
Broadcaster TBC

With the upcoming wedding of Prince Harry to actress Meghan Markle, and elder brother Prince William and wife Kate expecting their third child, the younger members of Britain’s royal family are headline attractions in their own right.

This single documentary seeks to tap into the huge popularity of the younger royals, arguing that Princes William and Harry have, between them, helped to modernise and open up ‘the Firm’, transforming its image around the world.

The 60-minute doc is handled by distributor TCB Media Rights, which has had success recently with films about the royal family, including ITN Productions’ eight-parter Elizabeth, which played on Channel 5 in the UK, and Like A Shot Entertainment’s Private Lives Of Monarchs, which it pre-sold to UKTV and Viasat.

TCB commissioned Modern Royals itself, putting up the money for the doc, which is produced by Blackball Media and exec produced by Woodcut Media. The film is one of about 20 singles and series the distributor has financed over the past six months without a broadcaster commission.

TCB founder and chief executive Paul Heaney says he noticed when he was helping to put together the financing for Elizabeth that people kept talking about the young royals.

So when he was approached about backing this project, he felt confident of finding international buyers to justify investing up front.

Heaney says there is already interest from a UK terrestrial channel, and with TV star Markle about to marry into the family, there is likely to be strong interest from US buyers, as well as from broadcasters in countries where the royals resonate strongly, such as Australia, New Zealand, the Nordics, France and parts of Central and Eastern Europe.

The documentary is not a salacious, denigrating film, says Heaney, noting the strong factual track record of the producers.

Woodcut Media’s credits include Combat Ships for A&E Networks and one-off doc The Ivy for ITV.

Modern Royals looks at how the younger royals have opened up to the world, talking about the challenges they faced growing up in the shadow of the death of their mother, Diana. Heaney says it is celebratory in tone.

Royal causes

Modern Royals also follows the princes as they take part in public events to raise awareness for causes close to their hearts, such as mental health and disability.

Heaney says one of the briefs for the documentary was to create a film with a long shelf life, so it is not just pegged to the upcoming royal wedding – although this will likely be of great interest to broadcasters looking for programming around the high-profile marriage, which takes place in Windsor on 19 May.

The editing, adds Heaney, is strong and pacy, creating a point of difference with other royal docs. “We’ve also pitched this documentary quite young,” says Heaney, explaining that the producers have made sure to include “a young bunch” among their interviews with royal correspondents and journalists.

Contributors include CNN royal commentator Victoria Arbiter and The Mail on Sunday royal correspondent Katie Nicholl.