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BBC Drama Unveils TV Series List

May 5, 2017

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Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama, who’s been on his job for ten months, has unveiled his list of TV shows on Thursday night in London. This slate includes a three-part series titled LITTLE WOMEN with Playground and PBS’ Masterpiece, A VERY ENGLISH SCANDAL, a drama to be directed by Stephen Frears, and an original series with Netflix titled GIRI/HAJI.

Wenger announced that more than 47 hours of new original drama has been ordered.  He said that his vision will be built on two things: It will be less bound by conventions of genre, slot and channel when considering new work and will also have “Britishness” at the heart of all of its hows.

“I would like BBC drama to be the antithesis of this algorithmic approach to commissioning. It feels like a reductive approach to me and want us to make our decision based on an instinct of ideas. The biggest risks deliver the biggest hits and we’re here to be an antidote to commercial broadcasting with risky commissions. 

I want to invest more in the restless curiosity of the UK creative sector in a world where there are no more buyers than there has ever been. That landscape is key– I want Britishness to be at the heart of all shows that we commission because that strong flavour of British individuality give us a voice internationally but also ensures that we’ll be distinct and different.”

Emerging writers will also have a key role in this new plan.

LITTLE WOMEN is based on Louisa May Alcott’s classic of the same name. This three-part BBC One adaption is co-produced with Masterpiece on PBS and produced by Susie Light. Playground’s Colin Callendar and Sophie Gardiner will executive produce with Heidi Thomas (Call the Midwife) and Lucy Richer for the BBC and Rebecca Eaton for Masterpiece.

Frears will direct a three-part BBC One drama A VERY ENGLISH SCANDAL, based on the shocking true story of the first British politician to stand trial for conspiracy and incitement to murder. Blueprint Pictures will produce.

Netflix’s GIRI/HAJI is an original eight-part series from Humans writer Joe Barton, which follows a middle-aged Tokyo detective who travels to London in search of his wayward younger brother believed to be posing as a Yakuza gangster. Jane Featherstone’s Sister Pictures will produce and is set to air on BBC One, with Netflix streaming globally outside of the UK.

Here’s the rest of the list of upcoming shows:

THE WAR OF THE WORLDS is a episode episode one-hour series for BBC One produced by Mammoth Screen and written by Doctor Who‘s Peter Harness. Filming is set to begin in 2018 for this adaption based on H.G Wells’ epic novel.

INFORMER is a six episode one-hour contemporary thriller from new writers Rory Haines and Sohrab Noshirvani. It follows a young, second generation Pakistani man from East London who is coerced by a Counter-Terrorism officer to go undercover and inform for him. Neal Street produces for BBC One.

BLACK NARCISSUS is a three-part BBC One adaption of Rumor Godden’s iconic tale of sexual repression and forbidden love, written by Amanda Coe. DNA Films produces with Tom Winchester.

COME HOME is a three one-hour episode emotional family drama from screenwriter Danny Brocklehurst set in Northern Ireland and executive produced by Red Production Company’s Nicola Shindler.

SUMMER OF ROCKETS is a six part semi-autobiographical series of Stephen Poliakoff for BBC Two. It is produced by Little Island Productions and set in the UK during the Cold War period.

And lastly, OVERSHADOWED is an eight-part short-form series based on Eva O’Connor’s award-winning play about a young girl whose life spirals out of control when she meets the monster of anorexia personified. It is produced by Rollem Productions.

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