In what is its biggest content deal since it was taken off the auction block, Hulu has partnered with BBC Worldwide North America to bring some iconic TV shows to the service. Included in the multi-year package are programs like Doctor Who, Torchwood, Sherlock and Luther. For the time being, this will be library, rather than current, content. Doctor Who launches today, while Sherlock, Luther, Blackadder, Top Gear and others will be available starting in the fall. The deal will bring some 144 titles to Hulu in the first year; many will be accessible via subscription service Hulu Plus. In all, there are more than 2,000 episodes with a few hundred available from this week. The non-exclusive arrangement follows the July announcement that Hulu owners Disney, 21st Century Fox, and Comcast would not sell the company and instead would supply $750M to accelerate its growth. Of the BBC deal, acting CEO Andy Forssell told The Wall Street Journal, “We’re kicking back into action. This is us doing a bunch of stuff that we’ve really wanted to do and had been put on hold for a while.” Last month, Hulu gave a 10-episode series order to Deadbeat, a subversive half-hour comedy from co-creators Cody Heller and Brett Konner, Lionsgate TV and Brad Pitt‘s Plan B Entertainment.
Sundance Channel has picked up The Honourable Woman, a miniseries to star Maggie Gyllenhaal. The eight-part mini, originally commissioned by U.K.’s BBC Two last year, will be done as a co-production with BBC Worldwide, North America. Written and directed by BAFTA winner Hugo Blick (The Shadow Line), Honourable Woman is described as a fast-paced, labyrinthine thriller set against an international political backdrop that carries Blick’s distinctive rhythmic style and vision. It centers on Nessa Stein’s (Gyllenhaal) whose father was a Zionist arms procurer, and as children, she and her brother witness his assassination. As an adult, inheriting her father’s company, she dramatically inverts its purpose from supplying arms to laying high-spec data cabling networks between Israel and the West Bank. Her sudden appointment to the House of Lords, apparently due to her tireless promotion of projects for reconciliation between the Israelis and Palestinians, creates an international political maelstrom.