• John Sergeant embarks on a unique 3,000 mile journey exploring the history of India's rail network in this two part series for BBC FOUR it was announced today (Monday).

    The documentary produced by Mentorn Media, 'John Sergeant on Tracks of Empire', transmits on 13th and 14th July at 9pm.

    Mentorn Media's Executive Producer, Neil Grant, said "The railways hold a pivotal place in India's national identity. John's fascination for India's history and politics make him perfect to present this remarkable story".

    The documentaries journey through the history of the greatest legacy the British left to India: its rail network. The biggest in Asia, it runs on forty thousand miles of track and reaches every corner of the subcontinent. Proposed in 1853 by Governor General Lord Dalhousie, it would become the biggest engineering project of its time and instrumental in every chapter of India's history.

    Starting in Kolkata, John traverses India from East to West, travels through turbulent Bihar state, visits the Victorian railway town of Jamulpur, and discovers why the construction of the Dufferin Bridge at Varanasi resulted in Victorian technology and ingenuity clashing with ancient religion. He ends his journey at the border with Pakistan.

    Even though Mahatma Gandhi denounced the railways as 'evil', Sergeant reveals how it became a civil engineering triumph that united the country and played a crucial role when India became independent in 1947.

    In episode two, John continues his 3,000 mile journey along India's rail tracks. He travels north to south to discover how the railways not only shaped its history, but now shape India's future. He concludes that today it is India's railways that continue to change the lives of its one billion people in ways that would have delighted its colonial architects.

  • Following the success of BAFTA nominated Cutting Edge Katie: My Beautiful Face, Channel 4's Mark Raphael has commissioned a follow-up four-part documentary series from Mentorn Media, it was announced today (8th July).

    Katie: My Beautiful Friends (working title) will follow acid attack survivor Katie Piper as she sets out on an extraordinary journey: to use her personal experience to help rebuild the lives and confidence of people like her who are fighting for normality with a disfigurement or disability.

    Katie was contacted by hundreds of people after the Cutting Edge transmitted who identified with her story and asked for her help. The series will follow Katie overcoming her fear of meeting strangers to encounter some of the extraordinary people who have contacted her - while continuing to overcome the personal challenges of her changing appearance, new independence and relationships as Katie rebuilds her own life.

    Commissioning Editor, Mark Raphael, said: "The Piper family have been incredibly strong over the last 18 months, allowing Katie to make a huge leap forward. In this series we'll see Katie using that life experience to help others confront their own situation."

    Mentorn Media's Executive Producer, Dan Goldsack, said: "Millions of viewers were touched by Katie's extraordinary determination and strength of character as she took her first tentative steps outside her childhood home. In this series, we'll see Katie using her personal experience to help others while she continues to readjust to the challenges of a new life with her infectious sense of humour and humility."