White Spark Pictures announces ‘Beyond the Milky Way’ documentary series

White Spark Pictures’ Beyond the Milky Way, an immersive film about the construction of one of the world’s largest radio telescopes, is set to be expanded into a new decade-long documentary series.

The World’s Largest Telescopes: Beyond the Milky Way will begin with two hour-long installments that examine the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project in Western Australia’s Murchison Shire — one of two sites chosen to house the telescope, along with South Africa’s Karoo region.

The new series is expected to be delivered in 2024, with a further two productions planned to chart key milestones and discoveries at the site over the course of the next ten years.

It comes 12 months after a 25-minute VR documentary about the international construction effort premiered at WA Museum Boola Bardip in Perth, Australia.

Narrated by Brian Cox, the film featured immersive tour of CSIRO’s Murchison Radio Astronomy Observatory through the eyes of people working on the site, the astronomers who will eventually use the SKA and the Wajarri Yamaji traditional landowners.

Funding for the project is still being negotiated.

It is also being represented by Wild Thring Media, who will be formally launching it to broadcasters at the World Congress of Science & Factual Producers in Glasgow next week.

Western Australia’s Murchison Shire.

White Spark Pictures founder and creative director Briege Whitehead said she was honoured that the scientific institutions involved were putting their trust in the company to bring their endeavours to the screen.

“With The World’s Largest Telescopes: Beyond the Milky Way we will be capturing a monumental, ground-breaking international project,” she said.

“The telescopes will be capable of showing us so much over time – from how galaxies and black holes are formed to if there is life on other planets.

“Indeed, the established pre-cursor telescopes are already making major scientific breakthroughs on a regular basis, so what we will be able to learn over the next decade could not only redefine current levels of understanding but also reshape mankind’s future.”

Wild Thring Media director Edwina Thring said the series “truly is a one-of-the-kind project”.

“Such major event programming is rare and, as a result, we predict a groundswell of interest from international broadcast partners looking for standout unscripted content that will successfully bring people together in primetime.”

Following its premiere in WA, the VR version of Beyond The Milky Way will launch at other major Australian venues over the coming months ahead of an international roll-out.