Nutopia (production company)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Nutopia (Production Company))
Jump to: navigation, search
For other uses, see Nutopia (disambiguation).
Industry Television production
Founded London, 2008
Headquarters London, United Kingdom
Key people
Jane Root (Founder & Chief Executive)
Carl Griffin (Managing Director)
Helena Tait (Chief Operating Officer)
Caroline McCool (Head of Production)
Natalie Spanier (Head of Talent)
Simon Willgoss (Head of Development)

Nutopia is an independent television production company established in 2008 with offices in London and Washington, D.C. It specializes in making non-scripted and documentary television programmes, most recently announcing One Strange Rock for The National Geographic Channel with Darren Aronofsky as Executive Producer.

Jane Root, former president of the Discovery Channel USA and Controller of BBC2, and Laura Franses co-founded the production company with board members Michael Jackson and Sir Peter Bazalgette.[1] Franses left the company in 2012.

Nutopia's first production was the 12-hour America: The Story of Us series for History US,[1] and has since produced shows for networks including History Channel, The National Geographic[2] CNN, ITV, PBS, Channel 4, BBC and Sky Atlantic amongst others. Nutopia followed America The Story of US with documentaries of the same format, including Mankind: The Story of All of Us and Australia: The Story of Us.

Most recent productions include Finding Jesus. Faith. Fact. Forgery for CNN, Britain's Biggest Adventures with Bear Grylls for ITV and the 2015 Emmy Award winning How We Got to Now with Steven Johnson, which also had a companion book of the same title and website How We Get To Next.[3] The show won an Emmy for Outstanding Motion Design in 2015.


Nutopia was first founded in 2008 and according to The Guardian, the production company set out with the aim of producing and selling large-scale documentaries for the United States cable market.[1]

In 2009, Nutopia brokered a deal with The History Channel to create America: The Story of Us. It was one of the first productions by Nutopia, which according to The Guardian cost three times the average budget an hour. Over the next two years, the production company grew to a core staff of 15 and had an annual turnover of £15 million.[1]

In 2012, Nutopia released another series in The Story of Us format titled, Mankind: The Story of All of Us. It was the third installment of the Story of Us documentaries and studied the historical developments within ancient empires that shaped how we live today. The estimated cost of the production was $36 million for the 12-part series.[4][1] Nutopia was also responsible for the production of the British and American documentary, Bin Laden: Shoot to Kill, which aired on PBS and Channel 4 in 2011.

Before the end of 2012, the production company was responsible for a number of well-received shows in both Britain and the United States. These included How We Invented the World[5] and The British, which aired on Sky Atlantic.[6][7] Nutopia and The National Geographic Channel announced in 2013 that they would be creating a series, The 80s: The Decade that Made Us. The show was narrated by Rob Lowe and received mainly positive reviews for its study of the decade.[8]

Nutopia's next major drama was on the Algerian siege on a gas plant. The show aired in Canada, the United States and also the UK. It documented the events in the run-up and conclusions drawn from the deadly terrorist attack, which left at least 67 dead.[9] In 2014, the production company produced The '90s: The Last Great Decade.[10] It studies events during the decade, with a summary of political, social and economic developments. The programme was a nine-episode series, which aired in the summer of 2014.[11]

In 2015, the TV show announced the co-produced documentary, Australia: The Story of Us. It was a regionalized version of the American television documentary series, which studied the history of the country. This included people, places and events that have shaped the country over the last 40,000 years.[12] Towards the end of the year, the Smithsonian Channel aired My Million Dollar Invention. NY Daily News referred to the series as an "ambitious 8 part series," which studies a number of historical inventions.[13] The third installment of the decade-based documentaries was televised in 2015, The 2000s: A New Reality.[14] Nutopia also announced the creation of the documentary, Finding Jesus. It studied new insights into the historical facts surrounding him and using new scientific techniques to study his life.[15]

Nutopia announced in late 2015 that they would be working on a TV series with Bear Grylls. Britain's biggest adventures with Bear Grylls aired on ITV and received positive reviews for studying the British landscape, including the Scottish Highlands and Snowdon.[16]

The 10-part series Civilisations was commissioned by PBS and the BBC in 2015. It was co-produced by the BBC, PBS and Nutopia, in association with the Open University. The series studies the beginning of human history to the present day. While many documentaries have followed a similar style, the Nutopia production was one of the first to document the change on a global scale.[17] Their work in 2015, led to the production company been part of RealScreen's Global 100 list.[18]

In January 2016, the Hollywood Reporter reviewed the upcoming National Geographic series, One Strange Rock. The series would study the world and also outer space, over a period of 100 weeks. This would be achieved using micro and macro photography technology, which would document images of the Earth in ways that it hadn't been documented previously.[19]

In 2016, Nutopia and Bristow Global Media announced Canada: The Story of Us for CBC. Nutopia is also currently producing a six-part series on the history of Africa, hosted by Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. The series is being created in association with McGee Media.

Notable productions[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Maggie Brown (8 January 2012). Jane Root interview: "You have to work for your audience". The Guardian. Accessed May 2014.
  2. ^ (26 March 2012) Nat Geo greenlights "The 80s". Variety. Accessed May 2014.
  3. ^ "Juried Award Winners Announced for the 67th Emmy Awards". Emmys. September 10, 2015. 
  4. ^ Genzlinger, Neil (November 12, 2012). "Yes, a Big Topic. Want to Fight About It?". NY Times. 
  5. ^ Genzlinger, Neil (March 18, 2013). "On the Origins of Gadgets". NY Times. 
  6. ^ Mount, Harry (September 6, 2012). "The British: how insularity and the weather shaped our national identity". The Telegraph. 
  7. ^ Genzlinger, Neil (November 12, 2012). "Yes, a Big Topic. Want to Fight About It?". The New York Times. 
  8. ^ Lowry, Brian. "TV Review: NatGeo's 'The '80s: The Decade That Made Us,' 'Brain Games'". Variety (magazine). 
  9. ^ "Siege in the Sahara". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. January 12, 2014. 
  10. ^ Hickley, David (July 4, 2014). "'The '90s: The Last Great Decade?' TV review". NY Daily News. 
  11. ^ Lowry, Brian (July 2, 2014). "TV Review: 'The '90s: The Last Great Decade?'". Variety. 
  12. ^ Houston, Melinda (February 15, 2015). "'Australia: The Story of Us' a rollicking yarnlcJNli5". Sydney Morning Herald. 
  13. ^ Hinckley, David (June 13, 2015). "'My Million Dollar Invention' review: Smithsonian channel begins ambitious eight-part series". NY Daily News. 
  14. ^ Hinchley, David. "'The 2000s: A New Reality' review: History remains a mystery for awhile, National Geographic". NY Daily News. 
  15. ^ "Finding Jesus - Faith Fact Forgery". CNN. 
  16. ^ Templar, Dale (September 15, 2015). "Bear Grylls on Britain's biggest adventures". Daily Telegraph. 
  17. ^ "Simon Schama, Mary Beard and David Olusoga to present BBC Two series Civilisations". BBC. December 20, 2015. 
  18. ^ "Global 100". RealScreen. 
  19. ^ Rose, Lacey (January 6, 2016). "Darren Aronofsky Filming Series in Space for Nat Geo (Exclusive)". Hollywood Reporter. 

External links[edit]