As military action in the Gulf steps up a gear, the BBC is set to air a 60-minute documentary charting 50 years of American attempts to protect itself from a missile attack, writes John Plunkett

As military action in the Gulf steps up a gear, the BBC is set to air a 60-minute documentary charting 50 years of American attempts to protect itself from a missile attack, writes John Plunkett

Star Wars Dreams follows the "hopes and delusions" of America's search for invulnerability, from Eisenhower and Reagan to President George W Bush's "Son of Star Wars" initiative.

An Antelope production for the BBC and TV2 in Denmark, it is executive produced by Mick Csaky and produced and directed by Leslie Woodhead.

Key witnesses include pro-missile "super-hawks" like Richard Perle and Dr Edward Teller, JFK's defence secretary, Robert Macnamara, and whistle-blowing scientist professor Ted Postol.

The documentary was produced in association with Arte in France and Germany, NRK (Norway), CBC and SRC (Canada) and SBS (Australia). It is expected to air on both BBC2 and BBC4 in the UK in the coming weeks. International distribution is being handled by TV2.

Star Wars Dreams is the first production to be completed under the factual indie's new ownership structure. Csaky has bought out French media outfit Tele Images, which purchased a majority shareholding in the indie in 1995.

Csaky now owns 100 per cent of the company, in exchange for distribution rights to Antelope's 700 hour-strong back catalogue, now owned by Tele Images.

Csaky will run a slimmed-down operation, which has moved from London to west Sussex, and is also planning to work as a freelance producer/director. "I want to operate within a substantially lower overhead and in a much more flexible manner," he said.

Antelope's past credits include landmark documentary series Africa and Oil for Channel 4; the Emmy-winning Chasing A Rainbow: The Josephine Baker story; and biographies of Slobodan Milosevic, Bob Marley and Chairman Mao. It will continue to specialise in biography, history, current affairs, religion and the arts.