Several months back, the United Grand Lodge of England granted access to a British production company to create a four-part series for the Sky television network to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the modern founding of the fraternity in 1717. The result is Inside the Freemasons, and the final show has been expanded to five episodes. Now, it may be distributed to other television markets outside of the UK.
From the BroadcastNow.co.uk website yesterday:
The series was commissioned as a four-parter but on delivery earlier this year, Sky and the Freemasons themselves agreed that it should be extended by one hour.
Emporium [Productions'] Emma Read, who is renowned for securing difficult access after series like Sky 1’s Harrow: A Very British School, won the confidence of the organisation and has delivered a series that she says “found the fun” in Freemasonry, as well as uncovering its secrets.
The show features stories from across England and Wales, including the consecration of a new lodge in Cardiff, and features individuals from many walks of life – from ex-military members in the north-west to biker Freemasons in Newcastle.
“We told a story of 21st century men and why they joined, what they get out of it, and why they would want to join something where they have to learn all these rituals perfectly and dress up in aprons and gloves,” Read explains.
The show is being distributed by Hat Trick International. Director of sales Sarah Tong says that because of the unprecedented access and the intrigue that surrounds the organisation, she expects it to easily attract an international audience.
“People will think they know what a Freemason is – this sort of secret society – so they’ll watch thinking it’s all very peculiar and strange, and that’s why it will sell,” she explains.
The society has members across the world, including a massive contingent in the US, which Tong says she hopes will give the show traction there. Hat Trick is also targeting Australia, New Zealand, Scandinavian and Europe.