Framing Britney Spears, a new documentary about the pop singer, has been described by viewers as “shocking”.
The New York Times documentary, which aired on Saturday 6 February in the US, focuses on Spears’s controversial conservatorship and the ongoing court battle.
It also highlights the #FreeBritney movement that has gained momentum in recent years.
Here’s everything you need to know about the documentary - including if you can watch it in the UK.
What is the Framing Britney documentary?
The Times’ Framing Britney Spears, directed by Samatha Stark, gives fans an inside look into the pop icon’s career and her court-mandated conservatorship.
It was originally pitched as a look back at the media’s coverage of Spears, Stark told Sky News, but as filming progressed the conservatorship became the main focus.
Spears’s assets have been under the control of her father, Jamie Spears, since 2008.
The arrangement means that her father, and a lawyer, have the legal right to oversee and make decisions about her own finances, health, business deals - and even her personal life.
It is this court agreement that is explored in the new documentary, which is produced by New York Times journalists Jason Stallman, Sam Dolnick and Stephanie Preiss in collaboration with Left/Right’s Ken Druckerman, Banks Tarver, and Mary Robertson.
Spears has since requested for the courts to remove her father as her co-conservator.
Her lawyer said she was “afraid” of him, and that the pop icon would not be performing again in public until the conservatorship was changed.
Stark said: “These court documents dropped where Britney indicated that she didn't want her father in charge of her money anymore. And that was a huge thing."
The programme also looks at the growth of the #FreeBriney movement, which started when fans became concerned about Spears’s wellbeing.
Stark said the documentary’s producers tried to get in touch with Spears for the programme through people close to her, but they are unsure if the pop star was even aware of the attempts to make contact due to the restrictions around her.
An official announcement for the programme reads: “The New York Times Presents: Framing Britney Spears re-examines her career and offers a new assessment of the movement rallying against her court-mandated conservatorship, capturing the unsavoury dimensions of the American pop-star machine.”
It is hoped that the documentary will encourage people to look at the bigger picture surrounding Spears’s conservatorship.
A number of viewers called the documentary "shocking" and "upsetting" on social media after it was aired.
What is Britney Spears’s conservatorship?
A conservatorship in the US is most often used for elderly people with dementia, which is what makes Spears’s situation unusual.
In 2008, the mum-of-two was put on a 5150 involuntary psychiatric hold and had visitation rights to her children, Sean and Jayden, suspended.
What was supposed to be a temporary court-sanctioned conservatorship has now been in place for 13 years.
Many aspects of the star’s life and finances - she is thought to be worth $60million - are outside her control.
At first, the conservatorship seemed to be working as Spears released four more albums and held a multimillion-dollar residency in Las Vegas under the order.
In August 2020, Spears requested to end her father’s control at a Los Angeles court. They are thought not to be on speaking terms.
The legal battle over the conservatorship returned to court on 11 February.
What is Free Britney?
Fans of Britney Spears started to question the legal ruling in recent years which resulted in the viral #FreeBritney movement.
Many of the pop star’s fans have staged protests outside the Los Angeles courthouse where status hearings are held in the case as they are concerned about her wellbeing.
Some fans have even tried to do their own investigative work to find out the “truth” of what is going on and have used the hashtag to bring attention to the legal battle over the conservatorship.
There are also theories that Spears is trying to send messages for help through her Instagram photos and videos.
Can I watch the documentary in the UK?
Britney Spears fans in the UK will finally be able to watch the high profile US documentary.
It is set to air on Sky Documentaries on Tuesday 16 February at 9pm.
It will also be available to watch on demand and on NOW TV.