Fox Developing Remakes Of UK Drama ‘Silent Witness’ To Star Melissa Leo & Comedy ‘This Country’ From Paul Feig

Leslie Hassler / Larry Horricks

Fox has put into development two British adaptations – remakes of crime drama Silent Witness and off-beat comedy This Country with significant commitments.

The network has handed a script plus penalty to Silent Witness to star The Fighter’s Melissa Leo, who will exec produce alongside Outlander writer Joy Blake and Kim and Eric Tannenbaum, and a put pilot commitment to This Country from Sex and the City writer and producer Jenny Bicks and Bridesmaids director Paul Feig.

Both shows come via Lionsgate’s deal with BBC Studios, which has already seen NBC hand a put pilot commitment to an adaptation of Channel 4 comedy Home and CBS develop a remake of BBC comedy Ghosts.

Silent Witness (left) is a long-running British crime legal drama. Created by Nigel McCrery, it has aired on the British public broadcaster since 1996 with 22 seasons. It follows two determined women with conflicting methodologies and their team while working for the Chief Medical Examiner in the shadow of a major departmental scandal involving corruption at the highest levels. With external biased pressures from all sides, they must use their scientific expertise to unravel clues in mysterious deaths while maintaining complete independence. Everybody tells a story: who they were, how they lived and, most importantly, how they died.

The British version has starred the likes of Amanda Burton, William Gaminara and Emilia Fox.

The Fox remake is a one-hour drama that will star Leo, who has recently starred in shows including Showtime’s I’m Dying Up Here and Fox’s Wayward Pines. She will exec produce with Blake, who is writing the adaptation, Kim and Eric Tannenbaum and BBC Studios’ Angie Stephenson, with The Tannenbaum Co.’s Jason Wang as co-exec producer. It will be produced by Lionsgate, BBC Studios, Fox Entertainment and The Tannenbaum Co.

Meanwhile, This Country is being adapted as a single-camera comedy written by Bicks. The half-hour mockumentary follows a documentary crew, who go to a small town to study young adults and their current concerns. Their focus is the daily lives of cousins Kelly and Shrub Mallet and their idiosyncratic surroundings. We follow the cousins as they pursue their dreams, confront challenges, and fight each other for frozen pizza. These two don’t have much, but they do have each other.

The British version (right) airs on youth-skewing network BBC Three. Launched in 2017, it is written by and stars Daisy May Cooper and Charlie Cooper, who play Kerry and Lee “Kurtan” Mucklowe, two youngsters living in rural England in the Cotswolds. The BAFTA-winning show is set to enter its third season in the UK.

Bicks, who wrote The Big C and The Greatest Showman, will exec produce through her Perkins Street Productions, while Bridesmaids and A Simple Favor director Feig will exec produce and direct. Daisy May Cooper and Charlie Cooper also exec produce alongside Angie Stephenson, while Feigco Entertainment’s Dan Magnante is co-exec producer with Cathy Mason and Rachel Mason producing. This Country is produced by Lionsgate, BBC Studios, Fox Entertainment and Feigco Entertainment. The project comes out of Bicks’ and Feig’s overall deals with Lionsgate Television.

The developments round out the partnership between Orange Is The New Black producer Lionsgate and the production arm of the British public broadcaster, which agreed to co-develop and co-fund scripted series for the U.S. market in October 2018. The two companies took out and sold four projects this year.

Blake is repped by The Nacelle Company and Duncan Hedges at Hansen Jacobson, Leo is repped by CAA and Untitled Entertainment.  The Tannenbaum Company is repped by CAA and attorney Jeff Finklestein.

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