BBC Two Acquires FX’s Cocaine Drama ‘Snowfall’, Orders ‘League Of Gentleman’ Specials & More

At his Meet The Controller session at the Edinburgh International TV Festival, BBC Two Controller Patrick Holland unveiled a raft of new programming for the channel.

BBC Two has acquired FX’s LA set cocaine drama Snowfall from Twentieth Century Fox Television Distribution and ordered a trio of specials of their cult comedy series The League Of Gentleman. In addition, the channel has commissioned a number of factual titles including Inside The Foreign Office and Army: Behind The New Frontlines.

“I’m pleased to be announcing today a number of brilliant new titles for the channel, from an ambitious new history series telling the story of the 20th century to the much anticipated return of The League Of Gentlemen. Elsewhere, I’m delighted that we are bringing John Singleton’s singular, mesmerising vision of early 80’s LA to BBC Two”, Holland said. “These new commissions demonstrate my ambition for BBC Two – to bring the increasingly complex and changing world to the audience through challenging perspectives, human engagement and great storytelling.”

Full Details Of The New Programmes Follows Below:

Snowfall

An FX Original series from John Singleton & Eric Amadio and Dave Andron, Snowfall is set in 1980s Los Angeles and explores the crack cocaine epidemic and the major impact it had on American society and culture. The drama series is produced by FX Productions and stars Damson Idris, Sergio Peris-Mencheta, Carter Hudson and Emily Rios.

This marks the third FX original series that BBC Two has acquired, after they previously swooped for first window rights to American Crime Story and Feud. It is a marked departure for the Beeb who have shyed away from U.S. scripted acquisitions in recent years, under a belief they added little value for licence fee payers. Do these deals, which were brokered by Head of Programme Acquisition Sue Deeks, signal a return to the BBC once again being a significant buyer of content from the United States?

Inside The Foreign Office

A three-parter, this factual series takes an inside look at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). The BBC has secured access to the department for the first time in two decades. Inside The Foreign Office will feature staff on the front line dealing with the thousands of Britons abroad seeking help, right up to the senior figures tasked with redefining Britain’s role on the world stage. BBC Studios are producing, with Aysha Rafaele and Shona Thompson serving as executive producers. It was commissioned by Patrick Holland and Clare Sillery, Head of Commissioning Documentaries. The Commissioning Editor is Danny Horan.

The League Of Gentleman

After more than 15 years, the iconic comedy series set in Royston Vasey will be returning to BBC Two with three specials to mark The League Of Gentleman‘s 20th anniversary. Mark Gatiss, Steve Pemberton, Reece Shearsmith and Jeremy Dyson will all be returning for the new episodes, which were commissioned by BBC Two Controller Patrick Holland and the BBC’s Controller of Comedy Commissioning Shane Allen. BBC Studios is producing, with Jon Plowman serving as the executive producer. Adam Tandy is the producer, while Steve Bendelack is attached to direct.

Army: Behind The New Frontlines

A three-part observational documentary series, Army: Behind The New Frontlines follows British soldiers as they operate across the globe, and witnesses the British Army tackling terrorism in Iraq during the battle to liberate Mosul, a humanitarian crisis in South Sudan and Russian aggression in the Baltic States. It will feature all ranks of the Army, from the Head of the British Army to new recruits. Wild Pictures are producing, with Paul Hamann and Tom Anstiss serving as the executive producers. Army: Behind The New Frontlines was commissioned by Patrick Holland and Clare Sillery, Head of Commissioning, BBC Documentaries.

Basquiat: Rage To Riches

This one-off film offers an in-depth profile of famed artist Jean-Michel Basquiat who, nearly 30 years after his death, managed to take the world by storm yet again, when one of his Skull paintings sold at Sotheby’s for over $100 million. The film features exclusive interviews with a range of subjects including Basquiat’s sisters, as well as Bruno Bischofberger, Larry Gagosian and Mary Boone. Basquiat: Rage To Riches is set up at BBC Studios and was commissioned by Patrick Holland and Mark Bell, the BBC’s Head of Commissioning, Arts. The executive producer is Janet Lee, while David Shulman will serve as producer and director.

Icons: The Story Of The 20th Century

An interactive global history series, Icons: The Story Of The 20th Century explores a century of seismic change through the lives of the iconic figures who made it. Each episode will be presented by a well known public figure and will focus on a particular field, with the presenter identifying three particular icons of the 20th century from said field. The presenters will tell the story of their icons, demonstrating how the world changed and how the lives and achievements of these people have a direct impact on our lives today.

At the end of each programme, the public will be asked to vote for their winner in that category. The series will finish with a live final where the presenters will champion the winner in their category and the overall winner, the ultimate icon of the 20th Century – will be chosen in a final vote. The series will be accompanied by online and social media presence and will partner with museums, foundations and educational institutions across the country. Eight episodes have been ordered for the series, which is being produced by 72 Films in partnership with the Open University. The executive producers are David Glover and Mark Raphael.

  • Popeye13

    WOW!
    Firstly, im delighted that the BBC are going for some of the best US drams’s out there. Snowfall is something truly amazing, its storytelling is brilliantly done and the fact BBC are going for it is a HUGE mark of respect for that fact!
    And the factual-ent content such as going inside the C&FO and the ‘Army: Behind the New Front Lines’ is also a pair of series i can’t wait for! And maybe more if they have the success lik they had with the short 1st series of The Met: Policing London and then we got a 2nd with a 3rd to come next year.

    Patrick: Will both the CFO series aswell as the Army series be for BBC One?
    Also, would be great if Chubby had some sort of cameo in the League of Gentlemen specials afterall; it is named after his real name!

    • All of these are for BBC Two. BBC One, BBC Three and BBC Four will be announcing their slate of new shows today.