Mercurio, who also created BBC’s hit police drama Line of Duty, is developing science fiction thriller Transmissions for the short-form service. The show is set at a remote radio observatory where a lone scientist begins receiving eerie signals from deep space.
The series comes from Mercurio’s indie HTM Television, which is a joint venture with Flack producer Hat Trick Productions. It is the first major project to emerge from the fledgling firm. Hat Trick Productions’ Managing Director Jimmy Mulville will produce.
The development comes after Mercurio told Deadline that he was considering opportunities to work with U.S. platforms now that Line of Duty is running smoothly on BBC One, and there’s no official season two of Richard Madden-fronted Bodyguard. Speaking on a Deadline-moderated panel at Banff World Media Festival, he said, “There are opportunities worldwide; in that period between Bodies and Line of Duty, I struggled to get original ideas away, I wrote a number of U.S. pilots that never got picked up and now with Line of Duty, it’s not ending but we’ve been doing it a long time and I’m beginning to look at the future and where that lies. I’m always led by the creative opportunity.”
He added that new platforms now allow him to write “complex stories”. “When I was writing something like Bodies, there were times where we were cautioned against making the plots too complex because the prevailing wisdom was that the audience wouldn’t watch the next episode… [but now] there is more belief that you can tell complex stories. Finally, the industry has caught up with my crazy ideas,” he deadpanned.
Transmissions is the second scripted project to emerge from Britain after Deadline revealed that Bodyguard producer World Productions secured a remake of Harriet Tyce’s psychological thriller novel Blood Orange. The novel, which was published earlier this year by Wildfire and Grand Central Publishing, follows Alison Wood, a criminal barrister taking on her first murder case.