London – 25 January 2021, Discovery UK has today announced the commission of Children Of The Cult (w/t), a major new 5-part documentary series that tells the astonishing tale of one of the world’s most notorious and prolific cults through the stories of three British women who escaped its clutches. The series tracks the dramatic rise and fall of the cult alongside the unfolding criminal investigation to bring members of the cult to justice.
The Children of God cult sprang out of 60s hippie culture in California, established its HQ in London in 1971, and spread to 130 countries around the world. Founded by David Berg, a travelling preacher and self-styled prophet, the Children of God started as a utopian Christian community preaching a message of love, but became increasingly corrupted, with claims of prolific sexual abuse, child trafficking and extreme psychological manipulation sparking a 50 year game of cat and mouse with investigating authorities across the globe.
The films tell the story of how the three British women, who were born into the cult, managed to escape and attempt to bring the cult down – by getting their stories out and trying to bring their abusers to justice with the help of a team of dogged and determined police officers. Each episode uses powerful testimony from the women, other victims and the detectives alongside remarkable previously unseen footage to chart the global investigation that ultimately brought some of the perpetrators to justice.
Clare Laycock, SVP, Head of Lifestyle & Entertainment Brands at Discovery, said: “This in-depth documentary series exposes one of the world’s most prolific cults through the testimonies of three courageous British women. In collaboration with our commissioning team, Mentorn have done a stellar job weaving together interviews and archival content to create a dramatic-narrative style documentary series that will resonate with our true crime fans on discovery+.”The series was ordered by Clare Laycock and commissioned by Charlotte Reid. The commissioning executive for Discovery is Romy Page, the executive producer for Mentorn is Bernie Kay, the series editor is Alicia Kerr, and the series director is Hugh Ballyantyne.
Bernie Kay, Head of Factual for Mentorn said: “We are excited to be making our first premium documentary series for discovery+ and are proud to be telling this extraordinary story with unique access and powerful unheard voices at its heart.”
Children of the Cult builds on the popularity of discovery+ UK specials Faking It: Jimmy Savile, Donald Trump: A Faking It Special and Prince Andrew, Maxwell & Epstein commissioned by the same team at Discovery.