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ClearStory Ltd is a British independent television production company. Founded in 2010 by the film-makers Russell Barnes and Molly Milton, it produces factual programming, often in the history and science genres, and has explored provocative social issues through documentary formats, sparking controversies.

The company’s credits include Dawkins: Sex, Death & the Meaning of Life for Channel 4, Men of the Thames for London Live, Long Shadow for BBC2 and World War Two: 1945 & the Wheelchair President [1][2] BBC Four

In 2011 ClearStory produced Gypsy Blood, an award-winning[3] observational documentary, directed by photographer Leo Maguire about gypsy fathers and sons for the True Stories strand on Channel 4. Broadcast in January 2012, the film won critical praise[4] but also drew complaints from animal rights activists for its depiction of alleged animal cruelty perpetrated by some of the film’s characters.[5] In March 2012 Ofcom dropped these complaints, stating they did not raise issues that warranted investigation.[6]

In 2013 ClearStory produced Sex Box, a one-hour formatted studio show and series of short programmes broadcast on Channel 4 as part of its Real Sex season. In Sex Box couples had sex in a specially constructed box in a TV studio, then emerged to talk about what happened and their sex lives more generally with agony aunt Mariella Frostrup and a panel of experts - Phillip Hodson, Tracey Cox and Dan Savage. The programme provoked controversy and debate in both the British and international press[7][8] though several reviews of the programme were positive, praising the sincerity of the programme's aims.[9][10][11] According to The Times: 'If you put aside your preconceptions, ignore the surrounding brouhaha and watch this programme with an open mind, it becomes difficult to criticise and impossible to condemn'. Sex Box has been syndicated to several territories, including America where it was broadcast in 2015 on WE tv channel.[12][13]

A new UK series of Sex Box on Channel 4, presented by the Belgian psychologist Goedele Liekens, was announced in October 2015.[14][15][16]

In 2016, Channel 5 broadcast Battlefield Recovery, ClearStory’s series exploring the history of World War Two’s Eastern Front. The series follows the work of authorised volunteers who excavate soldiers still left behind in the fields and forests of Latvia and Poland in order to bury them with honour in official cemeteries.[17] The series previously sparked controversy amongst some archaeologists when it was launched by the National Geographic Channel in 2014 as ‘Nazi War Diggers’.[18] In 2016, archaeologists complained about the Channel 5 broadcast but Ofcom dismissed these complaints following broadcast of the series and stated: ‘The series dealt effectively with potential audience concerns about the contributors’ methods. It made clear that the specific practices adopted were undertaken within recognised protocols. Scenes that featured human remains were dealt with sensitively, and the contributors appeared visibly moved by their discoveries.’

ClearStory’s corporate work includes the viral short #Connect for Durex. A Webby and DMA awards nominee, the official version scored over 37 million hits worldwide.[19][20]


  1. ^ "BBC". 
  2. ^ "The ArtsDesk". 
  3. ^ "Grierson Trust". Archived from the original on 29 October 2013. Retrieved 27 October 2013. 
  4. ^ Wollaston, Sam (19 January 2012). "Guardian Review". The Guardian. London. 
  5. ^ "Gypsy Blood sparks 289 complaints". 
  6. ^ "Gypsy Blood complaints top 1,000". Broadcast. 
  7. ^ "Huffington Post". 
  8. ^ Murfitt, Nikki; Knowsley, Jo (28 September 2013). "Daily Mail". London. 
  9. ^ "Timeout". 
  10. ^ "The Guardian". 
  11. ^ "Televisual". 
  12. ^ "The Daily Beast". 
  13. ^ "Hollywood Reporter". 
  14. ^ "Huffington Post". 
  15. ^ "Broadcast Now". 
  16. ^ "The Mirrow". 
  17. ^ "ClearStory". 
  18. ^ "Real Screen". 
  19. ^ "Forbes". 
  20. ^ "AdWeek". 

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