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Drama About Space Shuttle Challenger Tragedy Coming From BBC and Science Channel

William Hurt
Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images

William Hurt will star in the co-production, which will detail the hunt to find out why the mission blew up, killing all on board in 1986.

LONDON -- The BBC has teamed with Science Channel to produce a one-off biographical drama starring William Hurt centered as scientist Richard Feynman on his search for truth in the wake of the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster

Feynman was instrumental in uncovering the truth behind the 1986 crash of NASA's reusable spacecraft.

Hurt will star alongside Bruce Greenwood (Thirteen Days), Brian Dennehy (First Blood), Joanne Whalley (The Borgias), Kevin McNally (Wuthering Heights), Henry Goodman (Notting Hill) and Eve Best (The King’s Speech).

James Hawes (Doctor Who) directs from a script by Kate Gartside (Mistresses).

When Challenger exploded 73 seconds into its flight on the morning of Jan. 28, 1986, it represented one of the most shocking events in the history of space exploration.

A presidential commission was convened to explore what had gone wrong, but with the vast complexity of the space shuttle and so many vested interests involved in the investigation, discovering the truth was a nearly impossible challenge.

The drama tells the tale from Feynman's perspective.

Kim Shillinglaw, BBC commissioning editor, science and natural history, said: "This is the gripping story of a brilliant physicist’s battle for scientific truth in the dark corridors of big government. With an impressive cast, including award-winning actor William Hurt, it promises to be a powerful factual drama for BBC Two and part of our mission to make science programs ever more surprising and ambitious."

Debbie Myers, GM and executive vp of Science Channel, added: "The Challenger disaster represents an indelible moment in American history. Anyone who is old enough to recall it remembers exactly where they were then this terrible tragedy occurred."

Filming begins this month, and the program is due to air on BBC Two in 2013.