ITV has given the green-light to The Halcyon, an eight episode period drama set in a bustling and glamorous five star hotel at the centre of London society during the second world war, which hails from Strike Back indie Left Bank Pictures.
The Halcyon is set in 1940 and shows London life through the prism of war and reveals how the war permeates everyone’s lives from the glamorous guests to its loyal, hard-working staff watched from within by American journalist Joe O’Hara.
“A hotel is the perfect place to show ambition in telling the story of World War II. It was an extraordinary time in our country’s history, and London was a transforming city”, said ITV’s Director of Drama Steve November, who commissioned the series alongside ITV’s Controller of Drama Victoria Fea. “The Halcyon takes us right to the heart of this as the hotel is busy, energetic, and vibrant which reflects how people carried on with their lives with defiance in the air,” added Steve.
The eight episode period drama, which is expected to have a sizeable budget, hails from Trust Me scribe Charlotte Jones, who created The Halcyon and is penning the scripts. Left Bank Pictures is producing, with the indie’s Chief Executive Andy Harries serving as the executive producer. Casting for the project is now underway, with production expected to commence in London and surrounding areas in April 2016.
“1940 is one of the most dramatic years in our islands history. Who could have imagined that London would survive the blitz and Luftwaffe’s attempted destruction of the city? What was it like to be in a 5 star hotel in the West End through this extraordinary period?”, said Harries. “It’s such a compelling idea for a drama. The world of the Halcyon hotel has to carry on, through thick and thin and against all odds. The bedrooms have to be made safe, the bars have to stay open, and the band has to play on. People have to sleep, eat and survive. Our opening line says it all: ‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times’.”
It’s been a good 24 hours for Left Bank Pictures, whose numerous credits include the Sky1 dramedy Mad Dogs (which has been adapted for the US market by Left Bank owner SPT and Amazon Prime Instant Video), Sky1/Cinemax co-production Strike Back and BBC One’s Wallander. Earlier today, ITV announced that they have also recommissioned Left Bank to produce a fifth season of DCI Banks starring Stephen Tompkinson.