educational series 1996-2003
Andrew began his career as an in-house producer at the BBC, writing and directing series on subjects from the Roman Empire to the Medieval World. Broadcast as part of the BBC’s public service output, these series were designed to meet the curriculum needs of classroom students from 8th to 12th grade.
History File: Nazi Germany
In 1996, Andrew made 'History File: Nazi Germany', one of the most impactful and widely used educational series ever broadcast on UK television.
The series told the story of the Nazi era through the contrasting perspectives of ordinary people. Like all of Andrew’s best work, it encouraged an empathetic response, enabling students to place themselves back in time and to ask what choices we might have made in comparable circumstances.
‘History File: Nazi Germany’ has played a valuable part in the civic education of a whole generation of British schoolchildren. It was re-transmitted by the BBC every year from 1996 to 2015, and at one stage, according to BBC research, it was in regular use in over 75% of British secondary schools.
In 1997, Andrew left the BBC to found a London-based independent TV company, Lodestar Productions, which he ran until 2008 with a core staff of four and a freelance team of 20+.
Through Lodestar, Andrew continued his collaboration with the BBC, securing commissions and delivering educational content for teenagers, and he consolidated his reputation as the UK’s leading provider of broadcast educational history resources.
Series delivered in this period included:
- ‘Soviet Russia and the Cold War’ - the rise and fall of the Soviet Union, told through the dramatized accounts of ten eye witnesses (10 x 25', 1997-8)
- ‘Britain 1906-1918: A History in Photographs’ - Edwardian Britain, as captured by the pioneers of photojournalism. Presented by photographer Simon Roberts. (1 x 60', 2000)
- ‘Seven Journeys in the American West’ - how the West was won (and lost), as described by a frontiersman, an emigrant, a prospector, a cowboy, a homesteader - and Black Elk, a holy man of the Lakota Sioux. (1 x 60', 2003)
Andrew delivered 'American Voices' in 2000. Of all the series he made for the BBC, it remains his favourite.
Covering US history from 1900 to 1941, the series reconstructs the oral testimony of 20 ordinary Americans. Their words are preserved in the files of the Federal Writers’ Project, a New Deal program which in the late 1930s commissioned out-of-work writers to transcribe the American experience. The 20 interviews dramatized in the series capture immigrant tales, stories of boom and bust, of the New Deal, and of Black America in the era of Segregation.
Films for Prime-time Audiences - 2001-2015
Alongside his work for schools and colleges, Andrew has written and directed a succession of historical films for prime-time audiences.
- For Channel 4 (UK), he made ‘Gunpowder, Treason and Plot’, ‘Who Killed Thomas Becket?’, and ‘Pilate: the Man Who Killed Christ’
- For National Geographic, he made ‘Julius Caesar and the Druids: Revealed’
- For the History Channel, he directed two episodes of ‘America: the Story of US’
- For TLC, he directed the celebrity genealogy show ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’
Gunpowder, Treason and Plot
A feature-length drama-doc on the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. Wall to Wall TV for Channel 4. Produced by Ben Goold; directed by Andrew Chater.
“Historical Fact is made more gripping than a Hollywood thriller” (Daily Mail)
“The reconstructions and performances are superb. A class act” (Time Out)
“A vastly engrossing historical documentary” (The Guardian)
“The format may have been familiar enough - historians interspersed with dramatized reconstructions - but I have seldom seen it done so well” (Telegraph)
Who Killed Thomas Becket?
The strange truth behind the most notorious murder in British medieval history. With Guy Henry as Becket, and Rupert Wickham as Henry II. October Films / Lodestar Productions for Channel 4. Exec Producer Adam Bullmore; written, directed and produced by Andrew Chater.
“Flamboyantly entertaining talking heads and stylish reconstructions make this a compelling retelling of a not-so-familiar story” (Mail on Sunday)
“I was pinned to the sofa” (The Guardian)
Pilate: the man who killed christ
Shot on location in Morocco for Channel 4's Easter schedules in 2004. With Rob Marni as Jesus and Christopher Hunter as Pilate. October Films / Lodestar Productions. Exec Producer Adam Bullmore; written, produced and directed by Andrew Chater.
“Serious and stimulating history, vivid and full of surprises” (Financial Times)
“Timely and fascinating” (Daily Mail)
Julius Caesar and the Druids: revealed
An everyday story of human sacrifice and cannibalism. Change Productions for C5 and Nat Geo. Exec Producer Ben Goold; produced and directed by Andrew Chater.
“One of those programmes from Five that offers both entertainment and enlightenment. A captivating chronicle” (The Guardian)
“A startling documentary. Stunning reconstructions bring the Druids to life, while new archaeological finds expose their secrets” (Daily Mirror)
“Spine-tingling” (The Times)
“Racily educational” (Daily Mail)
Working with Director Rob Edmonds and the team at NRG Digital, Andrew has written and presented promotional videos for British cultural institutions. Two videos have been produced thus far, one for the Dean and Chapter of Westminster Abbey, and one for Exeter Cathedral.