UK commercial broadcaster ITV has commissioned a documentary from factual independent True Vision and London-based independent producer Nevision, in association with Topic, the fast-growing North American streaming service from First Look Media, on the Irish mother and baby home scandal, entitled The Missing Children (wt).
Irish public service broadcaster RTÉ is co-producing the project, which it will air as a feature documentary. The Missing Children is available in multiple formats including a 3 x 45’ as well as a feature length special. Abacus Media Rights has global rights to The Missing Children and Jonathan Ford’s new company was instrumental in bringing on board Topic and RTÉ.
The scandal has made headline news again in the last few weeks when the final report from the enquiry was released, concluding that overall about 9,000 children died in the 18 institutions under investigation, and the Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) Mícheál Martin apologised in parliament and described the events as a "dark, difficult and shameful chapter" of Irish history.
Focusing on the Tuam home where 796 babies are believed to have been buried in a septic tank, The Missing Children will tell the powerful story of survivors and families uncovering the truth. Hundreds of children died of neglect or were adopted, often illegally, from the notorious institution run by Bons Secours nuns. The Missing Children is directed by Tanya Stephan and produced by True Vision’s Brian Woods and Nevision’s Creative Director, Factual, Anne Morrison, with Executive Producers for Topic, Ryan Chanatry and Gena Konstantinakos.
True Vision and Nevision has followed the unfolding of events of the scandal as they have come to light over the last two years to make this definitive film about Ireland’s missing children and what really happened to them. Following the Irish government’s decision to excavate the burial site at Tuam, which will unlock the DNA to identify the babies and their surviving relatives, The Missing Children will tell the personal stories behind the international scandal which continues to affect lives in Ireland, the UK and the US.
Tom Giles, ITV Controller of Current Affairs, said: "With unrivalled access to those closest to the investigation into Tuam, one of the homes at the heart of this scandal, this film promises to provide an unflinching and vital account of what went on, who was responsible and how the impact is still being felt on lives today."
Tanya Stephan adds: “This is a major unfolding story in Ireland that impacts many people in Britain and the US. After two years’ developing, and uncovering new evidence for this documentary, I’m proud to be part of bringing this important story to light."
Brian Woods comments: “It is incredible that this abuse went on for so long, and was so often perpetrated by those who had dedicated themselves to the service of God. While this story stretches back almost a hundred years, there are also many people for whom this is very much still unfolding now, and who are desperate for their voices to be heard.”
Anne Morrison says: “The shocking treatment of mothers and babies at Tuam and other homes has contemporary and international resonance. With more information emerging, it’s an extraordinary story which demands our attention.”
"The Missing Children filmmakers set out to tell the story not just of the horrific cruelty and hypocrisy that went on in these institutions at the hand of the Irish government and the Catholic Church, but also of the collective push being made today for accountability," said Gena Konstantinakos, Executive Producer & VP of Originals for Topic. "This series will shine a bright light on what went on then and what is happening now, and we are very proud to support it.”