Distributor, BossaNova Media, has greenlit the first project to come out of its 2023 Development Day pitching event: documentary series A Hotel Through Time, which will explore the hidden histories, secrets and scandals of the UK’s great hotels.

The 6 x 60 mins series, commissioned by Channel 5 by Commissioning Editor, Lucy Willis, and produced by Welsh indie Wildflame Productions in partnership with BossaNova, has also been commissioned by SBS for Australia. Getty Images, which sponsored Development Day 2023, is also partnering on the project which is slated to launch internationally at MIPCOM 2024.

Each episode of A Hotel Through Time will focus on one iconic hotel, with establishments including The Ritz, The Savoy and The Langham, exploring how these hotels s”erved as more than just as a place to stay – each offering a unique window on a variety of chapters of British history.”

Time hopping through history, the series will look beyond each hotel’s opulent exterior to reveal the stories within — from murder and majesty, celebrity scandals to key political decisions, innovation and architecture, as well as the unique exclusive experience each establishment offers its clientele — addressing all that has contributed to its legendary status. In addition to exclusive archive material, the series will feature interviews with each hotel’s former staff and patrons, along with journalists, historians, biographers and celebrities.

Claire Runham, Head of Acquisitions at BossaNova said: “It’s convention, when you’re launching a new show, to say it offers something for everyone. I’m here to tell you that A Hotel Through Time really does. Want a Royal love tryst or a Hollywood star behaving badly? How about a murder-suicide involving a French aristocrat, his mistress and a silk sock? Perhaps you’d be surprised to hear where the Queen learned to ice skate, or where the real James Bond devised his heroic WWI spy missions? Look no further. But as well as universal appeal, this series underscores the success of our Dev Day concept in terms of bringing together great ideas with great partners to get great television onto the world’s screens.”

Connie Fisher, Head of Development at Wildflame Productions added: “We are absolutely thrilled to win the first commission to emerge from BossaNova’s Development Day 2023 initiative for Channel 5. In the current environment, it’s more important than ever that we all work together to get great projects off the ground, and we are delighted to be partnering with BossaNova on A Hotel Through Time. Wildflame has a huge amount of experience in delivering entertaining historical factual content, exemplified by our recent Royal Residences feature docs for Channel 5, and we hope that A Hotel Through Time will prove just as popular as those shows have been.”

Lucy Willis, Commissioning Editor, Channel 5, said: “We’re delighted to be working with Wildflame again on this project. The big, landmark hotels have a fascinating history. We will be taking our viewers on a trip through the years, uncovering how these iconic hotels have changed down the decades.”

BossaNova has also announced that its fifth Development Day will take place on Thursday, October 17 at the Soho Hotel in Central London. Once again, the event will be held in the run-up to MIPCOM in Cannes to take advantage of the physical presence in Europe of many of the world’s top factual buyers and commissioners.

Development Day 2024 will be sponsored for the second year running by Getty Images, reflecting the fact that many factual projects — including A Hotel Through Time — are archive-led. During the event, buyers and commissioners from global channels and platforms will be pitched a shortlist of some 40 projects, curated by BossaNova’s Development Day producer Claire Runham from more than 200 original submissions.

Among the broadcasters that attended Development Day 2023 were A+E Networks EMEA, Channel 4, Channel 5 and Paramount+ UK, Foxtel Group, ITV, National Geographic, RTL/NTV Germany, SBS Australia, Sky, UKTV, BBC Studios, Viasat World, Warner Bros Discovery and WELT. A total of 26 producers pitched at the event. Among those making their Development Day debut were STV Studios, Alamo Pictures, Candour TV, Wildflame Productions, Nevision, Spirit Studios, Two Rivers Media, Untold Studios and Firecrest Films.

JON CREAMER