Starz Backs Out Of Stephen Poliakoff’s BBC Drama ‘Close To The Enemy’, Acorn TV Set As New U.S. Co-Producer

StarzMore than a year after they originally boarded, and mere months before the series is set to premiere on BBC Two here in the UK, Starz has backed out as the U.S. co-producer of Stephen Poliakoff’s lavish period drama Close To The Enemy.

International distributor All3Media International has wasted no time in securing a new U.S. partner for the project, however, and has pacted with RLJ Entertainment, who will now co-produce for their VOD service Acorn TV. This marks the fifth international co-production for Acorn, after they previously collaborated on such dramas as Sky1’s Agatha Raisin, ITV’s The Level, BBC One’s Agatha Christie drama Witness For The Prosecution and Irish legal drama Striking Out.

“After the hugely successful August premiere of Agatha Raisin, our first Acorn TV Original Series, we’re thrilled to offer our subscribers the next Acorn TV Original with the thrilling drama series Close to the Enemy”, said Mark Stevens, President of Acorn Brands at RLJ Entertainment. “Award-winning filmmaker Stephen Poliakoff penned the gripping script and directed an incredible cast with a cinematic production set in war-torn Britain.”

close-to-the-enemyClose To The Enemy tells the story of intelligence officer Captain Callum Ferguson, whose last task for the Army is to ensure that a captured German scientist, Dieter, starts working for the British RAF on urgently developing the jet engine. With the background of the emerging Cold War, it is clear to all that it’s crucial for British national security that cutting-edge technology is made available to the armed forces as quickly as possible.

Jim Sturgess (One Day) leads the cast as Captain Callum Ferguson; August Diel (Inglourious Basterds) portrays German scientist Dieter; while rising star Freddie Highmore (Bates Motel) will play Victor, Callum’s younger brother. Charlotte Riley (Peaky Blinders), Phoebe Fox (Woman in Black 2), Robert Glenister (Hustle), Alfie Allen (Game Of Thrones), Charity Wakefield (Wolf Hall), Angela Bassett (American Horror Story), Lindsay Duncan (Birdman), and Alfred Molina (Love Is Strange) also star.

Stephen Poliakoff penned the scripts for the six episode drama, which was picked up to series by BBC Two back in March 2015. Little Island Productions, Endor Productions and Playground Entertainment are producing in association with All3media International. The executive producers are Helen Flint, Colin Callender and Hilary Bevan Jones. In addition to penning the scripts, Poliakoff also directed. Close To The Enemy is set to premiere in the UK towards the end of the year, and will be made available shortly thereafter on Acorn TV in the United States.