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Sky Backtrack To Announce Scientology Doc Release Date

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Back in April, we brought you the news that hotly anticipated and multi-Emmy award nominated Scientology Documentary 'Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief' wasn't to get a UK release date. It was an unusual omission from the schedules, and one which left many scratching their heads, especially since Sky have an exclusive agreement with HBO to bring their programming to the UK. The truth of the matter was that although England, Wales and Scotland have laws in place which mean that religions that feel aggrieved by coverage have to prove that the programme will cause serious harm, Ireland does not. That lack of law, combined with the fact that Sky's satellites can't selectively broadcast, meant that many sources inside Sky were unconfident that the programme would ever get an air date.

It was a situation made even less likely by the limited cinema release that the feature length documentary got, but now we've got news that Sky Atlantic will be showing the documentary after all on the 21st of September at 9pm on Sky Atlantic.

The documentary, which has caused a significant stir amongst the worldwide community and attracted widespread critical acclaim was a Sky Atlantic co-production with Academy Award winning filmmaker Alex Gibney and has now been nominated for an astonishing 7 Emmy Awards, including nods for Best Direction and Best Documentary Special. Based on the book of the same name which went on to become a bestseller and regularly cited as an example of how the Church has systematically damaged lives who have sought peace within the church.

Sky customers are already voicing their support for the decision on the Sky feedback number, but it's unclear that anything has actually changed behind the scenes. Indeed, it would appear that Sky are simply planning to push ahead with the broadcast and face up to the consequences as and when they arise, stating “Both Sky, and the producers of the film, have sought legal advice at every stage of the process and are confident that the film complies with legal requirements in the territories in which we are screening the film”. Nevertheless, The Church of Scientology are famed for attempting to sue those who question them into submission.

The film highlights the Church's origins, from its roots in the mind of founder L. Ron Hubbard to its rise in popularity in Hollywood and beyond. The film is rooted around the claims of former high ranking members of the church, who have been brave enough to leave and speak out against what they consider as abhorrent behaviour from current leader of Scientology David Miscavige. The film has now been viewed by almost 6 million people, although the Church themselves have described the film as "one-sided, bigoted propaganda built on falsehoods".

On the subject of Going Clear finally getting a release date Celia Taylor, Sky’s Head of Non-Scripted Commissioning, commented: “Going Clear is a brilliantly compelling film that unflinchingly probes the secretive world of Scientology through powerful testimony and a beautifully crafted narrative. I am extremely proud of it.”

Zai Bennett, Director of Sky Atlantic, added: “I’m hugely proud that Sky Atlantic has co-produced Going Clear, especially in light of its recent success gaining seven Emmy nominations. I’m sure that Sky audiences will be captivated by Alex Gibney’s remarkable film.”

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