The chilling reality of life inside the notorious Manson Family will be revealed in a new series on the murderous 1960s cult led by Charles Manson, commissioned by ITV with distribution rights to FremantleMedia International.


The Manson Family: The Lost Tapes (WT), a 2×60 series, has exclusive access to more than 100 hours of previously unseen footage of the Manson Family cult unearthed by British indie Naked Entertainment in 2016 after the death of the filmmaker who shot it half a century ago.


The show provides an exclusive new and unique insight into how Charles Manson assembled a group of young followers in a commune that would go on to commit the most infamous series of murders in U.S. history, which came to be seen across the world as the dark side to the hippie movement.


Fifty years since Charles Manson moved his “family” into the ranch that would become the base for their killing spree previously unseen footage shot with intimate access to the cult reveals the “free love” lifestyle with sex and drugs at its core, and how the young people initially pursuing their hippy ideals were brainwashed into committing the most appalling crimes under their leader’s influence.


The footage was discovered because of the persistence of British producer Simon Andreae, who wanted to find the whereabouts of filmmaker Robert Hendrickson who had been given exclusive access to the Manson cult 50 years ago. Convinced that there may be previously unseen footage of the Manson Family, a private investigator was hired to find Robert, but when he did, he discovered he had died a few weeks earlier, in October 2016, leaving a vast collection of footage, interviews and photos.


Now, The Manson Family: The Lost Tapes draws on that material to present the inside story of how an apparently peace-loving commune was turned into America’s most horrifying group of cold-blooded killers.


The Manson Family name still resonates as a byword for the dangers of cults and this series offers a valuable, unique and powerfully intimate perspective on how people can be influenced to commit the most terrible crimes, including striking and disturbing footage of the young perpetrators explaining, at the time, and in their own words, why they committed their acts.


The series will also feature new and archival interviews with former Manson cult members, such as Catherine “Gypsy” Share and Dianne “Snake” Lake, in addition to key people involved in the history of the infamous Manson case, including prosecutor Stephen Kay and FBI criminal profiler John Douglas.


The Manson Family: The Lost Tapes is commissioned for ITV by Kate Teckman, Commissioning Editor, and Sue Murphy, Head of Factual Entertainment.


Kate said: “Almost 50 years since the Manson Family murders, the radicalisation of young people is a more pressing issue than ever.  Hendrickson’s extraordinary unseen footage provides a chilling and compelling insight into how vulnerable young people were influenced into carrying out some of the most horrific murders of the 20th century.”


“Raw, candid and compelling, this extraordinary cache of material takes us right inside the Manson Family home at the very time the crimes were committed,” said executive producer Simon Andreae. “The footage shows, in real time, how the cult members were brainwashed under Manson’s influence.”


The Manson Family: The Lost Tapes is produced by Naked Entertainment. Simon Andreae, Hugh Ballantyne and Richard Dale are executive producers, along with Allan Gaba and Dean Egnater. FremantleMedia International will handle global distribution for the project.