My Playlists

My Playlists

ZDF Enterprises ZDF Enterprises Logo

ZDF Enterprises reports first sales of „Darwin’s Secret“

Documentary reveals secret behind Theory of Evolution

Mainz, 21st June 2018

ZDF Enterprises, in charge of the worldwide distribution of the documentary “Darwin’s Secret“ (1x50‘ HD), reports first sales of the program to Smithsonian Networks and The History Channel Australia.

“Darwin’s Secret” is the first production on the true story behind the 1831-1836 epic journey of British survey barque HMS Beagle. Without this voyage, Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution would never have come about.

Produced by InspiraTV’s Jürgen Stumpfhaus, historian and documentary filmmaker, for ZDF’s renowned Terra X slot and coproduced by ZDF Enterprises, “Darwin’s Secret” reveals the secret mission of the HMS Beagle – a voyage that changed the world. Captain FitzRoy is at her helm and among those on board is an unknown young 22-year-old student from Cambridge, serving as the ship’s scientific officer. His name: Charles Darwin.

The story behind this journey would form the basis for Darwin’s ground-breaking Theory of Evolution. It would become a game-changer in science and forge our current thinking about the Earth and life on it. Yet the fact that Darwin was on this ship at all was almost by accident. The young scholar himself only realized on board the ship that he was the façade for a secret experiment. This is the story of Tierra del Fuego native Indian Jemmy Button and the tragic fate of his people. It traces an extraordinary journey to the ends of the world, to the roots of Darwin’s theory, where it all began with the theft of a surveying vessel.

Now, a new expedition traces the historic route of the HMS Beagle to lift the lid on a secret: the sailing ship SY Santa Maria Australis is set to follow the Beagle’s celebrated route to the very tip of South America. On board: Michael Robert FitzRoy, a direct descendent of the famous captain, and the well-known American author Peter Nichols, who wrote “Evolutions Captain” about the fateful historical expedition. Three leading scientists, the Chilean anthropologist Prof. Francisco Rothammer, the leading bio-geneticist Prof. Lars Fehren-Schmitz of the University of Santa Cruz in the US, and the British Marine historian Prof. Andrew Lambert of Kings College London, are also part of the team and set on finding answers to Darwin’s questions and uncovering an incredible, as yet untold story. Combined with gripping re-enactments filmed at the original locations in Tierra del Fuego and the UK, fascinating contributions from world-experts and new scientific insights, this is an incredible insight into the dawn of a new scientific era.


About ZDF Enterprises
ZDF Enterprises was founded in the year 1993 as a 100 % private subsidiary of ZDF, one of the biggest and most renowned television broadcasters in Europe. On behalf of ZDF, ZDF Enterprises is responsible for worldwide program sales, the implementation of international co-productions, license purchasing for quality programs, marketing online rights and the merchandising of strong ZDF program brands. During the course of the process of development and diversification to date, it has been possible to incorporate a large number of business activities within the television and media industry within the ZDF Enterprises Group. Consequently, today ZDF Enterprises can offer a comprehensive, full-service offer that covers every step in the process of creation and utilisation of successful TV productions, from material development in all genres to production and then on to the marketing of television licenses, merchandising and online rights.

Contact ZDF Enterprises
Christine Denilauler (Vice President Marketing and Corporate Communications), ZDF Enterprises GmbH, Erich-Dombrowski-Str. 1, 55127 Mainz/Germany, phone +49 6131-9911130, fax: +49 6131-9912130, e-mail:,


Christine Denilauler

Christine Denilauler

Vice President Marketing and Corporate Communications

+49 (0) 6131 / 991–1130
+49 (0) 6131 / 991–2130
ZDF Enterprises GmbH
Erich-Dombrowski-Str. 1
55127 Mainz | Germany


Officers of the HMS Beagle surveying the unknown coast of Tierra del Fuego. They are looking for a new sea route from the Atlantic to the Pacific to avoid the dangerous Cape Horn. COPYRIGHT: ZDF/Jürgen Stumpfhaus
The theft of the survey boat of the HMS Beagle becomes the trigger of a drama. COPYRIGHT: ZDF/Jürgen Stumpfhaus
Tierra del Fuego Indians discover the HMS Beagle on their tribal territory. COPYRIGHT: ZDF/Jürgen Stumpfhaus
The Tierra del Fuego Natives, the Yamana Indians.