Political thriller Undercover and mystery Thirteen are BBC America’s first new co-productions developed since AMC Networks acquired a 49.9% stake and operating control of BBCA in October, as part of a wide-ranging partnership.
Undercover, a six-part limited series from writer Peter Moffat (Silk, Criminal Justice) stars Sophie Okonedo (Criminal Justice) as Maya, who is about to become the first black woman to hold the highest-ranking public prosecutor role in England. Just as her life comes under intense public scrutiny she discovers her husband Nick (Adrian Lester) has been lying to her for years. Moffat described it as a thriller about the struggle to lead a morally principled personal and professional life, “while working up close with the police, press, politicians and criminals who have so corrupted and damaged public life over the last 20 years.” Hilary Salmon, Head of BBC Drama Production England, for BBC One and BBC America, is exec producing.
Thirteen is a five-part contemporary mystery from Marnie Dickens following Ivy Moxham (Jodie Comer) on the day she escapes from the cellar that has been her prison for the last 13 years. Thirteen is produced by BBC In-House Drama Production England and executive produced by Elizabeth Kilgarrif for BBC Three and BBC America.
BBC America president and GM Sarah Barnett, appearing at TCA this morning, called Moffat “one of the UK’s most vibrant and acclaimed screenwriters,” adding that new talent Dickens brings a singular voice and perspective to her first original series.” Both will debut in 2016.
Barnett also announced the first tranche of an extensive original scripted development slate, including:
• Dirk Gently, an adaptation of Douglas Adams’ (Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy) comic novel Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, is an anthology series set in the unexpected world of the hyper, absurd, ridiculous Dirk Gently. With an utterly fresh, comically self-aware tone, this series is equally sincere in its danger, humor, violence and drama. Penned by Max Landis – the mind behind Chronicle – this series is produced by IDW, Circle of Confusion and Ideate for BBC America.
• An untitled project from prolific filmmaker Sebastian Silva. Using unconventional storytelling – including real people – Silva explores humorous, absurd and uncomfortably raw stories of 21st century dating in our impulsive era of swiping and liking. Silva is the writer-director of 2015 Sundance and Berlinale selection Nasty Baby, starring Kristen Wiig, and The Maid. A24 is attached to produce.
• Moths follows a young American woman whose reckless quest for thrill and adventure takes her to the epicenter of Tokyo’s Shibuya sub-culture scene. After a crime occurs, she finds herself face-to-face with an unfamiliar, ancient and intractable world. Tony Wood and Cineflix are attached to produce.
• The Greater Good from filmmaker Dana Shapiro (Murderball) is the provocative, fictionalized story of Cora Jones, lone survivor of the Jonestown massacre in which 918 of her fellow cult members died. She believes she survived to rid the world of false prophets but, as her own fame as an atheist preacher grows, she begins to morph into the very thing she’s been railing against. This compelling drama about faith, family, hubris, paranoia and healing is also a cautionary tale about the rise and fall of an American leader. It is produced by Lakeshore Entertainment (Underworld).
• An untitled comic-noir thriller from Anders August set in a 1950s resort follows the social climbing of a disarming young woman who turns out to be a dangerous sociopath. Anders August wrote The Pig and was executive producer of Follow The Money which premiered at the 2015 Berlin Film Festival. Michael London (The Illusionist, Sideways) is attached to produce.
• An untitled project from Anna Winger. A family drama, an amped-up adventure, and a celebration of the city of Berlin today, this journey is a darkly humorous exploration of colliding worlds, the unifying bonds of loss, and the dangerous pursuit of answers in a utopian city. Winger is the creator of international series Deutschland ’83.
“The scripted TV explosion in recent years has affirmed over and over that strong visionaries are the heart of creative and commercial success,” commented Barnett in today’s announcement.
The series will join BBC America’s slate of original scripted shows that includes the iconic series Doctor Who (returns September 19), Orphan Black (returns for a fourth season in 2016), The Last Kingdom (premieres October 10) and Luther (fourth installment premieres winter 2015).