BBC Drama has unveiled a raft of commissions for BBC One, BBC Two and BBC Four. The announcement, which was made earlier this evening at a press event by the BBC’s Controller of Drama Ben Stephenson, includes (as TVWise previously reported) a new 8 part drama series from former Strike Back showrunner Tony Saint for BBC One, a new Saturday night adventure series to fill the shoes left by Merlin titled Atlantis, a third season for both Call The Midwife and Death In Paradise.
Speaking of the new and returning dramas, Ben Stephenson said: “Drama and the BBC are inseparable – it is written through the BBC like a stick of rock. No other broadcaster in the world has drama so firmly in its DNA. My aim is to build a BBC drama department that has an enormous international reputation. That means making us more British than ever – it is about applying the Danny Boyle vision to our work – a bold, adventurous, authorial approach that exports because of its Britishness not despite it. A BBC that feels inspiringly creative – where there is a buzz and creativity and anything goes optimism. Ultimately I can boil this down to one thing – I want to make the BBC the hall mark of quality drama and the automatic home for the best talent in the world.”
Full Details of New & Returning Dramas Follows Below:
Call The Midwife
BBC One’s hit series Call The Midwife has landed a third season renewal with an order for 8 episodes, in addition to an order for a 2013 Christmas special. Season 3 will be set in 1959 and the eve of the swinging Sixties. The winds of change are sweeping through the country and the residents of Nonnatus House face some momentous changes of their own. The show’s second season, which is currently airing on BBC One, is averaging a consolidated average audience of 10.6 million and a 32.3% share. PBS will again co-produce with Neal Street Productions.
Death In Paradise
The popular murder mystery series will return for a third season of 8 episodes in 2014. Produced by Red Planet Pictures, Death In Paradise has been averaging nearly 8 million viewers per episode according to consolidated figures. The show’s third season will again be filmed on the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe. The executive producers are Polly Hill, Tony Jordan and Belinda Campbell.
As I reported last month, this 8 part “high octane” police drama was created by former Strike Back showrunner Tony Saint and revolves around a state of the art law enforcement team whose unswerving mission is to hunt down some of Britain’s most dangerous and ruthless criminals. (more detailed information can be seen in this report). BBC Drama Production is producing with Sarah Brown serving as executive producer.
The BBC has purportedly found its new Saturday night adventure series, a slot left vacant since Merlin wrapped its five season run. Created by Howard Overman (Merlin), Atlantis is set in the city of Atlantis: a mysterious ancient place; a world of bull leaping, of snake haired goddesses and of palaces so vast it was said they were built by giants. It’s into this strange, compelling realm that the young Jason arrives and an amazing adventure begins, bringing to life the vast store of Greek myths and legends. The series has been given a 13 episode order, and is set to begin production in April. BBC Cymru Wales is producing, with Howard Overman, Johnny Capps, Julian Murphy and Bethan Jones serving as executive producers.
Death Comes To Pemberley
A 3 part adaptation of the P.D. James novel, Death Comes To Pemberley is set six years after the events of Pride & Prejudice and centers on Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy as they find themselevs in the midst of a murder mystery plot. The three part serial was written by Juliette Towhidi. Origin Pictures are producing with Polly Hill, David Thompson and Ed Rubin serving as executive producers.
A new 8 part series for BBC One, Breakdown is a new drama which follows a family whose son is kidnapped while they are on holiday in France. The father’s search for his son fractures his marriage and destroys his life. Created by Jack and Harry Williams, the series is being produced by New Pictures & Company Pictures in association with Two Brothers Pictures. The executive producers are Charlie Pattinson, Willow Grylls, Polly Hill, John Yorke and Harry and Jack Williams.
Penned by Emma Frost, Jamaica Inn is an adaptation of the classic Daphne du Maurier novel. Set in 1820 against the foreboding backdrop of windswept Cornish moors, the three part drama serial follows young Mary Yellan as she becomes entangled in a dangerous criminal world ridden with smuggling and murder, testing her resolve and morality to the very core. Origin Pictures are producing with Sarah Stack, Stephen Wright, avid Thompson, Ed Rubin and Hilary Heath serving as executive producers.
A 3 part serial written by Gwyneth Hughes, Remember Me is a mystery which tells the story of an old Yorkshireman who leaves his own home to move into residential care and becomes the sole witness to a violent death. His teenage care assistant tries to unravel the riddle of his strange and secretive life, and is drawn into an eerie and dangerous world of lost love and betrayal. Mammoth Screen is producing with Polly Hill, Gwyneth Hughes, Rebecca Keane and Damien Timmer serving as executive producers.
Over at BBC Two, Ben Stephenson and Channel Controller Janice Hadlow have commissioned two follow ups to David Hare’s 2011 TV movie about MI5 titled Page Eight. In that TV Movie, following the death of the DG of MI5, Johnny Worricker, an intelligence officer, is made aware of a plot to hand control of the organization directly over to the Prime Minister, Alec Beasley. Page Eight was produced by Carnival Films in association with Heyday Films & Runaway Fridge Films and starred Bill Nighy, Rachel Weisz, Ralph Fiennes, Judy Davis and Michael Gambon. These two new follow ups are titled Turks And Caicos and Salting The Battlefield. Carnival Films will again produce the two films in association with Heyday Films & Runaway Fridge Films. The executive producers are Gareth Neame, David Heyman, David Barron and Christine Langan.
Turks And Caicos
Johnny Worricker has walked out of his job at MI5, going to the airport apparently to choose his destination at random. But his presence on the obscure islands of Turks and Caicos brings him a new problem: he is being forced by the CIA to deal with a group of ambiguous Americans who are on the islands for high-level conference on the world financial crisis. At the same time, an old girl-friend, Alison Tyrrell, is being asked to betray her boss in London in order to establish an illicit connection between the prime minister and dark goings-on in the war on terror.
Salting The Battlefield
Johnny Worricker and Alison Tyrrell are on the run across Europe, with M15 hard on their heels. But life in exile is proving much harder than either of them expected. Worricker knows that his only chance of resolving both his personal and his professional lives is if he returns home to confront the powerful prime minister, Alec Beasley. In a duel of wits between the two men, there will be only one winner.
Burton And Taylor
A 90 minute one-off drama, Burton and Taylor is a biopic about Richard Burton and Liz Taylor which documents their ill-fated appearance in a 1983 revival of Noel Coward’s stage play, Private Lives. The drama was written by William Ivory. BBC Drama Productions are producing the one-off, which stars Dominic West as Burton and Helena Bonham Carter as Taylor. The executive producers is Jessica Pope, Richard Laxton is directing.