PBS’ Masterpiece Boards BBC Two’s ‘Wolf Hall’, Peter Kosminsky To Direct

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US public broadcaster PBS has boarded BBC Two’s upcoming six episode drama Wolf Hall – which is based on the Hilary Mantel novels Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies – as a co-producer and will air the drama state-side as part of their Masterpiece strand. The two parties also confirmed that (as TVWise reported back in March) Mark Rylance will lead the cast as Thomas Cromwell, while BAFTA-winning director Peter Kosminsky will direct.

A six part adaptation Hilary Mantel’s novels Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies, Wolf Hall is set in England in the 1520′s, which is a heartbeat from disaster. If Henry VIII dies without a male heir, the country could be destroyed by civil war. Into the impasse steps Thomas Cromwell; son of a brutal blacksmith, a political genius, a briber, a bully and a charmer, Cromwell has broken all the rules of a rigid society in his rise to power, and is prepared to break some more. Pitting himself against parliament, the political establishment and the papacy, he is prepared to reshape England to his own and Henry VIII’s desires. The adaptation is being penned by Peter Straughan. Company Pictures, Colin Callender’s Playground Entertainment and Masterpiece in association with BBC Worldwide, who are retaining global distribution rights. The executive producers are Poly Hill, Rebecca Eaton, Colin Callender, John Yorke, Martin Rakusen and Ben Donald.

This is the latest British period piece that PBS has boarded in recent months. In addition to being the US home to ITV’s Downton Abbey and Mr Selfridge, the public broadcaster also airs such series as BBC One’s Sherlock, Silk and The Paradise and ITV’s The Bletchley Circle. The network also recently inked a deal to co-produce Channel 4’s upcoming India set period drama Indian Summers. Production on Wolf Hall is slated to commence in 2014 with BBC Two and PBS both eyeing 2015 premieres.