UKTV is the broadcast joint venture between BBC Worldwide and Scripps Networks Interactive. It recently ordered its first original sitcom You, Me & Them, starring Buffy The Vampire Slayer‘s Anthony Head, and today says it’s moving into drama. Life On Mars creator Tony Jordan‘s Red Planet Pictures is developing the 10-part Legion to air on UKTV’s flagship channel, Watch. Jordan, whose other credits inlcude Death In Paradise and the upcoming By Any Means and The Great War, says he’s been working on Legion for 15 years and calls it his “ultimate passion project.” The story follows a criminologist who makes a deal with the devil to save the life of his 10-year-old daughter who’s suffering from an inoperable brain tumor. When he finds he’s been tricked, he undertakes to renegotiate his contract by fighting the devil’s work on Earth which leads to a revelation that will forever change the world. The UK’s new TV tax credit is making it an attractive production location and Legion producers are talking to potential international co-production partners with an eye to close a deal at next month’s Mipcom TV market.
Britons recently voted a scene from the 1995 adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride And Prejudice as the most memorable TV moment of all time. Therein, Colin Firth‘s Mr. Darcy takes a dip in a lake and then, dripping wet and under-dressed, runs into Jennifer Ehle’s Elizabeth Bennett. In honor of UKTV‘s new Drama channel, the media company has erected a 12-foot statue of Darcy in Hyde Park’s Serpentine lake. The sculptor says Firth’s Darcy was a starting point, but that notes were used from others who’ve portrayed him including Matthew Macfadyen and Laurence Olivier. Still, the end result bears a striking resemblance to the King’s Speech Oscar winner. The statue will eventually settle at Lyme Park in Cheshire, the scene of the Pemberley manor in Pride And Prejudice. The BBC is adapting Death Comes To Pemberley, based on the suspense novel by P.D. James that pays homage to Jane Austen’s iconic characters. Matthew Rhys is playing Darcy. At the time the three-part serial was announced, Rhys said his Darcy would be different from the ones who have gone before, “And also, I don’t have to appear from a lake in a white shirt and breeches.” Video of the original scene is on the next page:
Miramax has announced a licensing pact with UKTV which will make Miramax films available on the British broadcaster’s pay and DTT channels. Futher, the studio has made a handful of new staffing appointments ahead of the Mip-TV market that kicks off in Cannes next week. Former MGM exec Mathilde Rottier has been named VP worldwide television with Stuart Shaw joining from Paramount Home Entertainment as director of international sales and marketing. Also, Astrid De Berardinis and Alexandra Tullberg have been appointed directors of sales. Press releases follow:
The UK’s biggest private broadcaster is expected to announce that it’s taking high-definition versions of spin-off digital channels behind Sky’s pay-wall. Although audiences for HD versions of ITV2, ITV3 and ITV4 are small, CEO Adam Crozier is planting a flag for the future. Eventually all TV channels will be high-definition, …