Sky Documentaries unveils Barbie Uncovered, exploring one of the world’s most iconic brands

Tuesday 12 March 2024

 Sky Documentaries today announces Barbie Uncovered, a new Sky Original exploring the unknown origin story behind one of the most iconic brands – Barbie. This feature length documentary will air on Sky Documentaries and streaming service NOW on 27 March.

While the triumph of the world’s most talked about doll has been widely documented, this film reveals the untold story of Barbie’s Mum and Dad, Ruth Handler and Jack Ryan. The documentary delves into the history of the duo who made Barbie rise to fame, one who built the largest toy company in the world, Mattel, from nothing, and the other, a rocket scientist who made Barbie “twist and turn”.   

The film spotlights the soaring success of Barbie, with sales of three hundred thousand dolls in the first year, to over two billion before Ruth died. The enormous financial rewards for both multi-millionaire parents are exposed, and this leads to a surprising story of betrayal, sex, drugs and excessive partying.

As the story unfolds, viewers will see in-depth interviews with those closest to the story: Ann Ryan (Jack’s daughter), Annie Constantinesco (Former employee and lover),Tom Kalinske (Former CEO of Mattel), Mattel employees, friends of Jack and Ruth and period biographers. The documentary turns to the fascinating hold Barbie has on society today, told by Bettinna Dorfmann (the world largest Barbie doll collector), Sandi Grayson (World record holding Barbie Auctioneer) and Marcela Iglesias (World famous human barbie doll).

Jack Oliver, Head of Co-Productions at Sky said: “I was instantly intrigued to learn that Barbie’s biographical story was loaded with jealousy, betrayal, sex, drugs and rock n’roll. Barbie survived all that to become one of the most iconic success stories of the 20th Century. Working with Eddie Hutton Mills and the teams at Two Rivers and Abacus Media Rights to bring this documentary to life has been pleasure, we know audiences will love it and we’re delighted to be launching the true story behind Barbie’s squeaky-clean image on Sky Documentaries.” 

Alan Clements, Producer at Two Rivers said: “Everyone at Two Rivers loves a great story, and stories don’t come much bigger than Barbie.  It has been a real pleasure making our first Sky Documentary with Jack and his team and we hope the Sky audience are as gripped by this extraordinary tale as much as we were”.

Barbie: Uncovered has been commissioned for Sky Documentaries by Zai Bennett, Sky’s Managing Director of Content and Jack Oliver, Head of Co-Productions. The Sky Original is produced by Two Rivers and co-produced by RW Productions. The producers are Alan Clements and Ross Wilson, the director is Eddie Hutton-Mills. Abacus Media Rights handle the distribution rights and facilitated the deal with Sky.

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