SMITHSONIAN CHANNEL™ AND THE BBC EXPLORE THE ORIGINS OF BREXIT AND THE MIGRANT CRISIS IN EUROPE IN CHAOS
BACK-TO-BACK HOUR LONG SPECIALS PREMIERE THURSDAY, MARCH 28 AT 8PM ET/PT
NEW YORK – February 25, 2019 – Smithsonian Channel and the BBC have teamed up on a riveting insider account of two forces that threaten to tear Europe apart: Brexit and the migrant crisis. Two hour-long specials reveal the fierce arguments and personality clashes among Europe’s leaders as they struggled over the past decade to find common ground amid intense political pressure, overwhelming waves of refugees and a referendum in Britain that shocked the world. The back-to-back specials of EUROPE IN CHAOS premiere on Smithsonian Channel on Thursday, March 28 at 8 PM ET/PT, just as the United Kingdom enters the March 29 deadline for withdrawal from the European Union.
The first hour, titled BREXIT, tells the story of how British Prime Minister David Cameron – who favored remaining in the EU – caved to the Euro-skeptic wing of his party and ended up calling the referendum that plunged his country into its biggest political crisis since World War II. For the first time on television, former Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs William Hague, former Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne and former Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg recreate the internal arguments that led to Cameron’s fateful decision. The special also reveals insider accounts from the UK’s allies in the EU, who watched with dismay and then alarm as the political storm in Britain forced them into an impossible choice: to abandon fundamental principles of their Union or lose a key member forever.
MIGRATION CRISIS goes behind the scenes to show how European leaders desperately struggled to address one of the century’s greatest humanitarian crises: the influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees arriving on Europe’s borders in 2015 from Syria and North Africa. Again the EU faced a threat that challenged a core conviction – the principle of open borders within the Union – against the intractable political problem of a flood of migrants, with no end in sight. The crisis exposes a sharp division between East and West, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and others offering sanctuary while Eastern European countries argue fiercely to stem the tide and send migrants back.
EUROPE IN CRISIS comes from notable documentary filmmaker Norma Percy, whose work has encompassed several significant international stories (The Death of Yugoslavia, Endgame in Ireland). Her most recent series include Putin, Russia and the West andInside Obama’s White House.Percy’s work has won more than two dozen major awards, including an Emmy®, two BAFTAs, four Royal Television Society Journalism awards and five Peabody Awards for broadcast excellence.
EUROPE IN CHAOS is produced by Brook Lapping Productions, Ltd. and Smithsonian Networks in association with BBC and France Television. Norma Percy, Greg Sanderson and Lucy Hetherington are executive producers for Brook Lapping. Charles Poe and David Royle are executive producers for Smithsonian Channel.