The UK’s Channel 4 has ordered three new projects including contemporary comedy The Bisexual from Iranian-American filmmaker Desiree Akhavan; Irish period comedy Derry Girls, written by Indian Summers‘ Lisa McGee; and survival challenge, Mutiny. The series were unveiled at the Edinburgh TV Festival today.
Akhavan’s The Bisexual is a look at the difference of dating men and women from the perspective of a person who finds herself doing both. The Girls alum and Appropriate Behavior writer/director plays New Yorker Leila who is feeling lost in London. Split from her girlfriend she moves in with a ‘stranger off the internet’ and discovers she’s swapped her luxe old life for a house-share with a British guy who’s only other female ‘flat-mate’ was his mother. Their worlds collide in awkward and revealing ways as he becomes her unlikely wingman and helps her to navigate a new life dating men.
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Naomi de Pear (Flowers) is exec producing via Sister Pictures. Akhavan’s co-writer is Cecilia Frugiuele (Appropriate Behaviour).
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Derry Girls is billed as a funny and honest look at the lives of ordinary people living under the specter of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, as seen through the eyes of a local teenager. Set in 1994, it centers on Erin whose everyday reality includes armed police in armored Land Rovers, British Army check points and “peace” walls. McGee grew up in Derry in the 90s and says, “Anything set during the Troubles tends to be a bit grim and bleak, but that just wasn’t my experience of Derry as a child and a teenager, it was a joyful place… It was also hugely matriarchal, so I was keen we have a large and varied cast of female characters. There were other things going on in Northern Ireland at that time, there were other stories.” Derry Girls is exec produced by Caroline Leddy (The Inbetweeners) and Liz Lewin (My Mad Fat Diary).
Finally, Channel 4 is embarking on Mutiny, an experiment to challenge a group of 21st century men to re-live one of the greatest feats of maritime adventure and endurance in naval history. After the Mutiny on the Bounty of 1789, Captain William Bligh and his crewmen were cast adrift in the Pacific Ocean and left for dead. In a remarkable act of seamanship, Bligh led his crew to safety across 4,000 miles of ocean from Tonga to Timor.
Nine men will set out on the same grueling journey in a replica 23ft open wooden boat, with similar equipment and the same rations of food and water that Bligh’s men had. They’ll use the diary kept by Bligh during the voyage as a survival handbook.
Anthony Middleton, of SAS: Who Dares Wins is assuming the role of Bligh and will lead the expedition. His crew is made up of sailors and complete novices. Windfall Films is producing. Shooting began in July and the series is due to air in early 2017.
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