Ed Balls will immerse himself in the lives of those who voted for Donald Trump in America’s Deep South for a new documentary, continuing his transition from politician to TV star.
The former Labour Morley and Outwood MP, who entertained the nation with his rambunctious Strictly Come Dancing efforts last year, is to front his own three-part series for BBC Two, titled Ed Balls: My Deep South Road Trip.
One year on from Trump’s win in the US presidential election, Balls will travel to some of the original Confederate states to meet those who voted for the Republican to see how they feel about their decision now, while also hoping to understand more about the impact of his victory.
Balls said: “It’s one thing to swap being a politician for reality TV and embarrass your family in the process. It’s quite another thing to swap reality TV for the US Presidency and turn the world upside down.
“I’ve always loved visiting the American South - the food and the music are fabulous and there’s so much to learn from its history.
“But I was as shocked as anyone else by the way the South helped sweep Trump to victory.
“So I’m looking forward to visiting the communities at the heart of the Trump revolution, getting to know the voters who elected him and finding out what they think of him one year on.”
Balls’ travel documentary is one of a raft of new factual programmes announced by the BBC’s controller of factual commissioning Alison Kirkham.
Line Of Duty actress Vicky McClure fronts a two-part BBC One programme in which she explores how music therapy can help fight dementia, and Sir Lenny Henry examines the deep-rooted relationship between the crown and the Commonwealth in one-off BBC One broadcast Lenny Henry: Commonwealth Kid.
In BBC One’s How Women Won The Vote, Lucy Worsley presents a special film to mark 100 years of women in the UK being allowed to vote, and historian David Olusoga’s The House, a four-part series for BBC Two, sees him tell the story of a single Georgian townhouse from the time it was built in 1838 until the present day.
Ms Kirkham said the forthcoming programmes “demonstrate my on-going commitment to bringing audiences high quality, challenging and timely content with a breadth, scale and impact not found anywhere else”.
She added: “From the latest in cutting edge science to history programmes offering fresh perspectives on the past as well as series tackling some of the big issues facing us today, I hope that these new commissions will entertain and inspire viewers and open their eyes to the world in new ways.”