In late March, BBC Director General Tony Hall announced the broadcaster’s greatest commitment to the arts in a generation. Part of the plans outlined at the time called for a further three filmed adaptations of Shakespeare’s History plays for …
Global Showbiz Briefs: BBC Two Picks Up Tom Rob Smith Thriller Series ‘London Spy’; EU Admissions Down 4.1% In 2013; More
BBC Two Acquires Tom Rob Smith Thriller ‘London Spy’
Child 44 author Tom Rob Smith has created a new drama series that’s been picked up by BBC Two. London Spy is a five-part contemporary thriller that sees an innocent young man drawn into a dangerous world of espionage. In the center of London is a street with the headquarters of the Secret Intelligence Service on one side and the headquarters of gay clubbing on the other. A chance romance between two people from opposite sides of that street takes a turn when one of them disappears. The series will shoot this year and air in 2015. Smith is producing; Juliette Howell, Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner are exec producing for Working Title Television. Polly Hill exec produces for BBC Two. Smith’s Child 44 is being adapted as a feature directed by Daniel Espinosa and produced by Ridley Scott. The film stars Tom Hardy, who signed on Friday for the second season of BBC Two’s Peaky Blinders.
Global Showbiz Briefs: BBC Two Sets Musical Telepic, British Airways Docu; UK, French Nets Honor Nelson Mandela; More
BBC Two Preps Musical Telefilm, British Airways Docu
BBC Two has a pair of new projects on deck: a musical TV movie and an inside look at national carrier British Airways. Drama Tubby And Enid will star Oscar nominee Imelda Staunton and Olivier Award winner Michael Ball and is an adaptation of Victoria Wood’s stage play, That Day We Sang. Hilary Bevan Jones’ Endor is producing with shooting to start January 6. The story’s roots are found in the recording of Henry Purcell’s Nymphs And Shepherds as sung by the Manchester Children’s Choir in 1929. Jumping ahead 40 years, it focuses on a reunion of the same choir being filmed for a documentary. Wood writes and will direct. Meanwhile, BBC Two has greenlighted an observational documentary series about British Airways. The three-part series will feature unprecedented access to the airline and promises to be the “most in-depth analysis of British Airways in 25 years.” Lion Television is making the doc for BBC Two.
British And French TV Networks Celebrate Nelson Mandela
British and French networks are turning over time to tributes to Nelson Mandela this weekend. BBC One aired the special Nelson Mandela: The Fight For Freedom on Friday night and also will extend its news coverage. Sky1 aired the special Nelson Mandela: The Struggle Is My Life, while the news division will have presenter Jeremy Thompson live in South Africa from Saturday. I’m also told the funeral service for Mandela, who died Thursday, will be aired live. Channel 4 ran Nelson Mandela Superstar, a celebration of his life and legacy on Friday night local, and at the same time, ITV also aired a special program. In France, pubcaster France Télévisions’ France O and Franco-German channel Arte aired specials and documentaries. National network France 2 has scheduled Clint Eastwood’s Invictus, starring Morgan Freeman in an Oscar-nominated turn as Mandela, to air on Saturday night. Eastwood shot part of that movie in France.
Global Showbiz Briefs: New Revelations In Phone-Hacking Scandal; Claire Danes To Host Nobel Peace Prize Concert; More
Hacking Trial Lawyer: Brooks And Coulson Had 6-Year Affair
The phone-hacking trial taking place in London was the source of new revelations Thursday as prosecuting attorney Andrew Edis told jurors that defendants Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson carried on a six-year “secret” affair from 1998-2004. Brooks is the former head of News International (now News UK), the British press arm of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, and Coulson was editor of the now-closed News Of The World before leaving to join Prime Minister David Cameron’s team as his communications director. As part of his opening remarks, Edis stressed that he was not bringing up the relationship between Brooks and Coulson, which the prosecution said was evident from a letter to Coulson that was found on one of Brooks’ computers, to intrude on their privacy or pass judgment. “The point that I’m going to make in relation to that letter is that over the relevant period, what Mr Coulson knew, Mrs Brooks knew too. And what Mrs Brooks knew, Mr Coulson knew too — that’s the point.” He told the court the affair spanned the period covered by the phone-hacking conspiracy charges the pair is facing, according to The Times. “Mrs Brooks and Mr Coulson are charged with conspiracy,” Edis said, “and, when people are charged with conspiracy, the first question a jury has to answer is how well did they know each other? How much did they trust each other?” At the time of the letter in 2004, Brooks was editor of The Sun and Coulson was at NOTW.
BBC Two and Masterpiece are hooking up for a “major” adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s Booker Prize winning historical fiction novels Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies. Tony and Olivier Award-winner Mark Rylance is now confirmed to play Thomas Cromwell in the six-part serial that follows Cromwell’s rise from the lowly son of a blacksmith to becoming King Henry VIII’s closest advisor in the Tudor court. BAFTA-winning helmer Peter Kosminsky is directing from a script by Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’s Peter Straughan. Wolf Hall is a co-production from Company Pictures, Colin Callender’s Playground Entertainment, and Masterpiece for BBC Two in association with BBC Worldwide.
The project was first tipped in 2011 as a four-part adaptation of just 2009’s Wolf Hall, but in 2012, Mantel’s second book in the Cromwell trilogy, Bring Up The Bodies, won her a second Booker prize and the miniseries will combine the two under the Wolf Hall title. Both have been best-sellers and gave Mantel the rare distinction of winning two Bookers, the UK’s highest literary honor. Shooting starts in spring 2014 for an as-yet determined airdate on BBC Two in the UK and Masterpiece in the U.S. in 2015.
Global Showbiz Briefs: ‘Generation War’ On BBC2; Ha Ji-won Signs With UTA; ‘Doctor Who’ Writer; ‘Exodus’ In Spain; More
‘Generation War’ Is Rare BBC Two Pickup To Air In Foreign Language
BBC Two has picked up the three-part German miniseries Generation War. The drama will air in its original language, the first time BBC Two has premiered a foreign language series since 2001′s The Kingdom. (BBC Four, on the other hand, airs such subtitled shows as Borgen and Wallander.) Generation War traces the fate of young men and women who fought in World War II. The Band Of Brothers-like story is from ZDF, teamWorx and Beta Film and scored record ratings on ZDF with a 24% market share. It also triggered a local debate about personal guilt in WWII. Music Box took U.S. rights at MIPTV in April.
South Korean Star Ha Ji-won Inks With UTA
South Korean actress Ji-won Ha is readying for a Hollywood crossover. The Asian TV and film star has signed with UTA for representation in all areas and has been taking meetings stateside. Ha’s UTA reps are looking at domestic and international film roles, TV, and digital media and endorsements. They are also focusing on developing Korean and American co-productions around the award-winning performer known for the popular romantic comedy Secret Garden as well as horror pics Nightmare and Phone, period drama Damo, disaster blockbuster Haeundae and action film Sector 7. Ha continues to be represented by HaeWaDal Entertainment Co.
BBC Two has ordered Legacy, a one-off movie that will slot into its Cold War Moment block. Written by Paula Milne and directed by …
Global Showbiz Briefs: Rebekah Brooks Pleads Not Guilty; Screen Media Brings ‘Paris’ To US; ‘Thirteenth Tale’ To BBC Two
Rebekah Brooks Pleads Not Guilty To Multiple Charges
Rebekah Brooks, the former chief executive of Rupert Murdoch’s News International, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to criminal charges stemming from her tenure at the company. Brooks entered her plea …