C4 commissions ground-breaking documentary series Putin: A Russian Spy Story

Category: News Release

Channel 4 has commissioned Rogan Productions to produce a ground-breaking three-part documentary series on Russian President Vladimir Putin. Filmed across Russia, America, Europe and the UK, this landmark series will show how Putin brought his knowledge of spy-craft to define the presidency of a nuclear power. Landing 20 years into his rule, this will be the definitive account of Putin’s power and how it has changed the modern world. 

It will explore how Putin’s personal experiences have influenced his politics, how modern Russia has been created through an acute sense of betrayal, pride and anger, and how Putin's values have been exported around the world – from Crimea to Salisbury to Washington DC.  

Told using Putin’s own words, by those close to him and by those most impacted by his actions, this series will take viewers on an unprecedented journey into the mind of this 21st century leader.  

Vladimir Putin’s extraordinary story began in 1968, Leningrad, USSR. Fed on a childhood of Soviet propaganda, Putin dreamed of being a spy, so much so that he knocked on the door of KGB HQ asking to join, when he was just 16.

This was the start of a journey that would see Putin join the Soviet KGB (after he finished his studies), get a taste for power and money in the chaos of post-Communist Russia, take over the KGB’s successor, the FSB, and become president of Russia. Enigmatic, cunning and unpredictable, Putin’s rule has been steeped in the values of the KGB. When he came to power Russia looked like a nation in terminal decline, but not anymore.  

As president, Putin set about ‘making Russia great again’ and repositioning it on the world stage. He has outlasted three American presidents and four British prime ministers. Fake news, resurgent populism and punchy presidential pronouncements all find their guiding star in Putin’s presidency. His political playbook is now imitated and admired by leaders ranging from Donald Trump to Rodrigo Duterte to Mohammed Bin Salman, making him arguably the most influential leader of his time.

Fatima Salaria, Head of Specialist Factual said: “This new exciting commission promises to deliver new revelation and insight into a figure who we are all intrigued by. Nick Green, Paul Mitchell and James Rogan will bring intricate storytelling, beautifully assembled archive and fascinating interviews from those who witnessed and lived through these events."

James Rogan, Executive Producer commented: “To understand what is happening in the world right now, it is necessary to understand Vladimir Putin. Putin has shown his staying power as one of the most formidable politicians of the 21st century. This series will explore how as a former spy he has redefined politics and the impact this has had globally.”

Production Co: Rogan Productions

Series Director: Nick Green

Series Producer: Paul Mitchell

Executive Producer: James Rogan

Commissioning Editor: Fatima Salaria, Head of Specialist Factual