The BBC’s “Oppenheimer” has finally landed on iPlayer.
All seven episodes of the Sam Waterston-led drama series from 1980 is now available in full on the BBC streaming service. Until now, the BAFTA-winning and Emmy-nominated series was only available to rent or purchase on Prime Video. Its release comes weeks after Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer” movie began tearing up the box office with “Barbie” as part of the “Barbenheimer” cinematic event. “Oppenheimer” has now grossed more than $405 million in worldwide box office.
Distributed by BBC Studios, the TV show starred Waterston as the contemplative father of the atom bomb, J. Robert Oppenheimer, and “Poirot” star David Suchet as the Los Alamos scientist Edward Teller. The cast was mainly comprised of American actors, who were all based in the U.K. at the time, save for Waterston.
Produced for $1.5 million (the equivalent of around $5.5 million today), the series filmed between the U.K. and U.S., and built an extensive set in Colorado Springs to depict Oppenheimer’s Los Alamos project, which housed the scientists of the Manhattan Project.
Variety recently uncovered the rich history of the show, which isn’t a commission you’d see from the BBC nowadays given its American subject matter.
“When [producer Peter Goodchild] put up ‘Oppenheimer’ as an idea, it was clearly an important subject matter, because it’s not just about the country we live in, but about the world that we live in,” said Ruth Caleb, who was a line producer on the series. “I think they trusted that Peter would come up with something pretty special.”
Goodchild’s research process for the series involved a trip to the U.S. with writer Peter Prince to meet Oppenheimer’s family and friends.
“It was an amazing story, and I’d always wanted to do it,” said Goodchild, a long-time editor on BBC science program ‘Horizon.’ “Someone suddenly presented me with a book about Oppenheimer and his relationship with one of his other scientific colleagues, which was an excellent story. I said, ‘I’d love to take it further.’ And we did.”
Added Peter Prince over email: “My abiding memory of the production is how nice Sam Waterston was to work with. I re-watched a couple of episodes to refresh my memory and was reminded again how good Sam was as the actor: he was the complex Oppenheimer — charming, conflicted and driven.”
“Oppenheimer” is now streaming on BBC iPlayer.
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