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Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

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Atlantis – end of a world, birth of a legend

New drama and documentary coming soon to the BBC

BBC One is to tell the dramatic story of the greatest natural disaster to shake the ancient world, a disaster that triggered the downfall of a civilisation and spawned a legend.

Around 1620 BC a gigantic volcano in the Aegean Sea stirred from its 19,000-year slumber.

The eruption tore the island of Thera apart, producing massive tsunamis that flooded the nearby island of Crete, the centre of Europe's first great civilisation – the Minoans.

This apocalyptic event, many experts now believe, provided the inspiration for the legend of Atlantis.

Based on the work of leading scientists, archaeologists and historians, this drama immerses viewers in the exotic world of the Minoans.

Starring Reece Ritchie (The Lovely Bones; Prince Of Persia ) and Stephanie Leonida (Yes; MirrorMask), Atlantis is the first British TV drama to use the virtual backlot production technique of the movie 300.

Incorporating the latest CGI technology, the film brings viewers face to face with one of history's greatest disasters – from the precursory earthquakes through the eruption sequence to the pyroclastic flows and tsunamis.

The programme is a co-production with Discovery, BBC Worldwide, Pro Sieben (Germany) and France Deux (France).

In a companion documentary on BBC Two, historian Bettany Hughes traces the origins of the Atlantis myth and presents compelling evidence that the Thera eruption inspired Plato's account of Atlantis.

Executive producer Ailsa Orr said: "Atlantis will immerse the viewer in a world they've never seen before, in a brand new, exciting way.

"The world of the Minoans and the disaster that wiped them out has been created using visual effects that have, to date, only ever been used in Hollywood movies.

"It offers our audiences a unique viewing experience – the closest they'll ever get to one of the greatest natural disasters of all time."

Notes to Editors

Atlantis is a BBC Northern Ireland Production.

Virtual backlot production technique of 300 means that the entire production is shot in a studio against green screen, mixing physical with virtual (CG) set builds. The technique provides unique creative control over the visual style of the film.

Michael Mosley (executive producer) executive produced many of the BBC's high-end factual dramas, such as Pompeii – The Last Day, Supervolcano, Superstorm and Krakatoa: The Last Days.

Ailsa Orr (executive producer) is BBC Northern Ireland's Head of Programmes and was the Producer behind Pompeii – The Last Day, Supervolcano, Hannibal and Superstorm.

Detlef Siebert (series producer) has a long track record in historical programmes. Most recently, he was the drama director on Auschwitz – The Nazis And the Final Solution, wrote and directed the drama-documentary The Somme – From Defeat To Victory, and series produced Nuremberg – Nazis On Trial.

Tony Mitchell (director) pioneered historical documentary dramas with Neanderthal and Ancient Egyptians and is one of the world's top directors of CG-heavy drama, including Supervolcano, Primeval and Flood.

JF

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