As part of a new series of arts programming, the BBC has set a one-off program of insights and revelations from Joan Plowright, Judi Dench, Maggie Smith and Eileen Atkins. The four old friends will reflect on their lives and careers in BBC Two’s Nothing Like A Dame, directed by Roger Michell, as they spend a weekend together at the retreat once shared by Plowright and Laurence Olivier. The channel will also celebrate the world of Harry Potter on its 20th anniversary, ahead of the opening of a new British Library exhibition that will explore the subjects studied at Hogwarts and includes original drafts and drawings lent by JK Rowling and Potter illustrator Jim Kay from their personal archives which are going on display for the first time. Documentary Harry Potter: A History Of Magic will also include an interview with Rowling talking about some of the personal items she donated to the exhibition. Nothing Like A Dame is produced by Field Day/BBC Arena, and Harry Potter: A History Of Magic is from BBC Studios.
FremantleMedia has taken a majority stake in Australian drama company Easy Tiger Productions. The high-end scripted indie will be led by producer Ian Collie as Managing Director; he’ll be joined by development execs Rachael Turk and Tanya Phegan. Collie co-founded Essential Media in 2006 and his projects in development there will be transferred to Easy Tiger. Essential’s drama series include Rake, Doctor Doctor, Jack Irish and The Sunshine Kings which will also jump to Easy Tiger. The fifth season of Rake goes into production this year and FMI will debut crime series The Sunshine Kings to international buyers at Mipcom next month. It follows the life of Jacob, an aspiring South Sudanese-Australian basketball player who is on the cusp of being picked up by U.S. scouts and finds himself answering to lawyer Zara Skelton when he is caught up in a police investigation involving a teenage girl. Anthony LaPaglia and Melanie Lynskey star in the SBS series.
After a heated auction, UK-based Sister Pictures has optioned Adam Kay’s debut book, This Is Going To Hurt: Secret Diaries Of A Junior Doctor, with plans to create a TV series based on the material. The series will be penned by Kay and developed by Katie Carpenter and Naomi de Pear, who will exec produce. The diary of writer and comedian Kay comes from the six years he spent as a junior doctor and is described as a “blistering” first-hand account of life working for the British National Health Service. Kay’s TV and film credits include Mongrels, Mrs Browns Boys and Very British Problems. Sister Pictures was founded in 2015 by Jane Featherstone who was joined by De Pear last year. Sister’s other current projects include Abi Morgan’s The Split for BBC One, Clean Break for ITV starring Sheridan Smith, Chernobyl for HBO, and Giri/Haji written by Joe Barton for BBC and Netflix.