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ITV has commissioned The Missing Children (wt), a documentary about the Irish mother and baby home scandal, in association with North American streaming service Topic.

Mass Grave Bon Secours Mother and Baby Home Tuam
A view of the mass grave at Bon Secours Mother and Baby Home in Tuam, Galway, Ireland — Photo by AugusteBlanqui (CC BY-SA 4.0)

UK commercial broadcaster ITV commissioned The Missing Children (wt) from factual independent producer True Vision and London-based independent producer Nevision. The project, produced in association with Topic and co-produced by Irish public service broadcaster RTÉ, will air as a feature-length documentary or a three-part docuseries.

The Irish mother and baby home scandal has made headline news again in the last few weeks, when the final report from the enquiry was released. It concluded that, overall, approximately 9,000 children died in the 18 institutions under investigation, prompting Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) Mícheál Martin to apologize in parliament, describing the events as a “dark, difficult and shameful chapter” of Irish history.

The Missing Children tells the powerful story of survivors and families uncovering the truth, focusing on the Tuam home, where 796 babies are believed to have been buried in a septic tank. Hundreds of children died of neglect or were adopted, often illegally, from the notorious institution run by Bons Secours nuns.

Said Tom Giles, ITV Controller of Current Affairs:

“With unrivalled access to those closest to the investigation into Tuam, one of the homes at the heart of this scandal, this film promises to provide an unflinching and vital account of what went on, who was responsible and how the impact is still being felt on lives today.”

True Vision and Nevision have followed the unfolding of events of the scandal as they have come to light over the last two years to make this definitive film about Ireland’s missing children and what really happened to them. Following the Irish government’s decision to excavate the burial site at Tuam, which will unlock the DNA to identify the babies and their surviving relatives, The Missing Children will tell the personal stories behind the international scandal, which continues to affect lives in Ireland, the UK, and the US.

(As an aside, I’ve been watching coverage of this on a few international news channels and what I’ve learned has been gut-wrenching.)

The Missing Children is directed by Tanya Stephan and produced by True Vision’s Brian Woods and Nevision’s Creative Director, Factual, Anne Morrison, with Ryan Chanatry and Gena Konstantinakos as Executive Producers for Topic.

Tanya Stephan said:

“This is a major unfolding story in Ireland that impacts many people in Britain and the US. After two years’ developing, and uncovering new evidence for this documentary, I’m proud to be part of bringing this important story to light.”

Added Brian Woods:

“It is incredible that this abuse went on for so long, and was so often perpetrated by those who had dedicated themselves to the service of God. While this story stretches back almost a hundred years, there are also many people for whom this is very much still unfolding now, and who are desperate for their voices to be heard.”

Anne Morrison commented:

“The shocking treatment of mothers and babies at Tuam and other homes has contemporary and international resonance. With more information emerging, it’s an extraordinary story which demands our attention.”

And Gena Konstantinakos, Executive Producer & VP of Originals for Topic, stated:

The Missing Children filmmakers set out to tell the story not just of the horrific cruelty and hypocrisy that went on in these institutions at the hand of the Irish government and the Catholic Church, but also of the collective push being made today for accountability. This series will shine a bright light on what went on then and what is happening now, and we are very proud to support it.”

Stay tuned for updates.

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The Missing Children (wt): Topic Boards Documentary on Irish Mother and Baby Home Scandal
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