The BBC has picked up FremantleMedia’s Natalie Dormer-fronted Australian drama Picnic at Hanging Rock. The deal follows an agreement by SVOD service Amazon to pick up the crime thriller in the U.S.

It is the latest Australian series to air on the British pubcaster following deals for shows including The Slap and dystopian sci-fi thriller Cleverman. The series, a re-imagining of Joan Lindsay’s classic 1967 Australian novel, is directed by Larysa Kondracki, the Canadian filmmaker behind Rachel Weisz feature The Whistleblower.

BBC

BBC’s Head of Programme Acquisition Sue Deeks said the show was a “fresh take” on the classic book and was pleased that it was fronted by Dormer, “one of Britain’s most exciting actors.” “It will make for a must-see series for both fans of the classic novel and those coming to this wonderful story for the first time,” she added.

Dormer stars as English headmistress Mrs. Hester Appleyard, whose dead husband instructs her daily life and whose peculiarities surely are hiding dark skeletons. Picnic at Hanging Rock chronicles the mysterious disappearances of three schoolgirls and one teacher on Valentine’s Day 1900. The complex, interwoven narrative follows the subsequent investigation and the event’s far-reaching impact on the students, families and staff of Appleyard College and on the nearby township.

Yael Stone plays Miss Dora Lumley, one of the teachers at Appleyard. The college student roles are played by Lily Sullivan (Camp) as Miranda Reid, Madeleine Madden (Tomorrow When the War Began) as Marion Quade, Samara Weaving (Monster Trucks) as Irma Leopold, Ruby Rees (Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries) as Edith Horton and introducing Inez Curro as Sara Waybourne.

FremantleMedia Australia

Picnic at Hanging Rock, which will have its world premiere on Foxtel in Australia in 2018, is a FremantleMedia Australia production made with key production investment from Screen Australia. The series was shot in Victoria, Australia, with the assistance of the Victorian Government through Film Victoria.

Executive producers are FremantleMedia Australia’s Jo Porter and Anthony Ellis and Foxtel’s Penny Win; script producer and establishing writer is Beatrix Christian; the writer is Alice Addison; producer is Brett Popplewell; and directors are Larysa Kondracki, Michael Rymer and Amanda Brotchie.

Jamie Lynn, EVP Head of Sales and Distribution, EMEA for FremantleMedia International added: “With its globally renowned reputation for quality and the opportunity for this ground-breaking series reach a deservedly wide UK audience, we are very excited to partner with the BBC for Picnic at Hanging Rock. This reimagining of the classic Joan Lindsay novel is modern, mysterious, completely gripping and visually spectacular. We’re confident it will have real impact with viewers and is sure be one 2018’s most talked-about shows.”