Get ready for the Greta Thunberg docuseries that aims to show a different side to the activist

The miniseries will alternate between showing Thunberg protesting climate change and struggling with teenage issues

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published February 10, 2020 3:47PM (EST)

17-years-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg holds a poster reading "School strike for Climate" as she protests in front of the Swedish Parliament, where she goes on school strike on January 10, 2020 in Stockholm.  (JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP via Getty Images)
17-years-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg holds a poster reading "School strike for Climate" as she protests in front of the Swedish Parliament, where she goes on school strike on January 10, 2020 in Stockholm. (JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP via Getty Images)

BBC Studios is teaming up with climate change activist Great Thunberg for an upcoming documentary series that will chronicle the teenager's campaign to save humanity from global warming.

"Climate change is probably the most important issue of our lives so it feels timely to make an authoritative series that explores the facts and science behind this complex subject," BBC Studios executive producer Rob Liddell said during a BBC Showcase trade show on Monday. "To be able to do this with Greta is an extraordinary privilege, getting an inside view on what it's like being a global icon and one of the most famous faces on the planet."

The series will supplement footage of Thunberg's activist activities with clips of climate experts explaining the science behind her positions. In addition to covering her climate change activism, the series is also going to be a coming-of-age narrative as it focuses on Thunberg navigating through her teenage years and becoming an adult.

"I can see Greta is very happy from doing this, and I saw where she was before," her father, Svante Thunberg, revealed during an interview with BBC Radio 4 Today in December. Before Thunberg began her Swedish school strike in August 2018, Thunberg says that she had been depressed for years because of how climate change would impact the world's future. Her depression was so severe that for a time she did not speak to anyone except her parents, sister and one teacher, and did not eat "which of course was the ultimate nightmare as a parent."

Thunberg's activism has also caused her to become the subject of attacks from many conservatives, including President Donald Trump. After being chosen as Time's Person of the Year in December, Trump tweeted that Thunberg "must work on her Anger Management problem, then go to a good old fashioned movie with a friend! Chill Greta, Chill!" One month later, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Trump answered a reporter's question about Thunberg's protest by saying "to embrace the possibilities of tomorrow, we must reject the perennial prophets of doom and their predictions of the apocalypse. They are the errors of yesterday's fortune tellers, and we have them and I have them. And they want to see us do badly, but we don't let that happen."

He later added, "This is not a time for pessimism. This is a time for optimism. Fear and doubt is not a good thought process, because this is a time for tremendous hope and joy and optimism and action."

Trump's treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, also threw shade at Thunberg during the Davos summit. When asked about her climate strike, Mnuchin sarcastically asked, "Is she the chief economist? Or who is she? I'm confused."

After explaining that his comments were "a joke" meant to be "funny," Mnuchin said, "After she goes and studies economics in college, she can come back and explain that to us."

Hulu is also working on a documentary about Thunberg, tentatively titled "Greta," which is expected to premiere later this year. She was also briefly featured in an Academy Awards clip package in which she credited documentary films for opening her eyes to the climate crisis. 

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a professional writer whose work has appeared in multiple national media outlets since 2012 and exclusively at Salon since 2016. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012, was a guest on Fox Business in 2019, repeatedly warned of Trump's impending refusal to concede during the 2020 election, spoke at the Commonwealth Club of California in 2021, was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022 and appeared on NPR in 2023. His diverse interests are reflected in his interviews including: President Jimmy Carter (1977-1981), Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak (1999-2001), animal scientist and autism activist Temple Grandin, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright (1997-2001), director Jason Reitman ("The Front Runner"), inventor Ernő Rubik, comedian Bill Burr ("F Is for Family"), novelist James Patterson ("The President's Daughter"), epidemiologist Monica Gandhi, theoretical cosmologist Janna Levin, voice actor Rob Paulsen ("Animaniacs"), mRNA vaccine pioneer Katalin Karikó, philosopher of science Vinciane Despret, actor George Takei ("Star Trek"), climatologist Michael E. Mann, World War II historian Joshua Levine (consultant to "Dunkirk"), Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (2013-present), dog cognition researcher Alexandra Horowitz, Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson (2012, 2016), comedian and writer Larry Charles ("Seinfeld"), seismologist John Vidale, Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Lieberman (2000), Ambassador Michael McFaul (2012-2014), economist Richard Wolff, director Kevin Greutert ("Saw VI"), model Liskula Cohen, actor Rodger Bumpass ("SpongeBob Squarepants"), Senator John Hickenlooper (2021-present), Senator Martin Heinrich (2013-present), Egyptologist Richard Parkinson, Rep. Eric Swalwell (2013-present), Fox News host Tucker Carlson, actor R. J. Mitte ("Breaking Bad"), theoretical physicist Avi Loeb, biologist and genomics entrepreneur William Haseltine, comedian David Cross ("Scary Movie 2"), linguistics consultant Paul Frommer ("Avatar"), Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (2007-2015), computer engineer and Internet co-inventor Leonard Kleinrock and right-wing insurrectionist Roger Stone.

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