Blick pens new BBC Two drama

Hugo Blick is writing a new drama for BBC Two.

The writer behind The Honourable Woman and The Shadow Line is working on a new story about a set of characters caught up in a very human moral dilemma, which is played out in contemporary Africa.

BBC Two

BBC Two

Meanwhile, BBC Two has confirmed details of a new factual drama based on the creation of the computer game Grand Theft Auto.

Game Changer (wt) is a 90-minute film about a bunch of British gaming geniuses who had known each other since their school days, and at the heart of it all was GTA’s creative mastermind, Sam Houser.

Grand Theft Auto offers gamers the chance to step into a fantasy world where they can behave like criminals, gun down rival gangsters and cops, hijack cars and venture deeper into an imaginary American underworld.

But the violent gameplay coupled with its outstanding commercial success leads to fierce opposition: from parents worried about children immersing themselves in such a violent world; from politicians, alarmed at the values they say it encourages; and above all from moral campaigners, who fight passionately to ban it.

Heading up this crusade is lawyer Jack Thompson, a man determined to do whatever he can to stop the relentless rise of Grand Theft Auto.

Daniel Radcliffe will play Houser, and Bill Paxton will play Thompson.

Game Changer is a BBC in-house production. Written by James Wood, it is produced by Jim Spencer, and executive produced by Mark Hedgecoe.

BBC unveils The Last Kingdom

Here’s the first look at new BBC drama The Last Kingdom.

The Last Kingdom

The Last Kingdom

The series, which will air on BBC Two in the UK and BBC America, is based on Bernard Cornwell’s novels The Saxon Stories and written by Stephen Butchard.

Set in the 9th Century, the separate kingdoms that once made up England have fallen to the invading Vikings. Only the great Kingdom of Wessex – the last kingdom – stands defiant under its visionary King Alfred the Great.

Against this turbulent backdrop, Uhtred (pictured), who loses his Saxon father in battle, is kidnapped by the Vikings and raised as one of their own. Forced to choose between the country of his birth and the people of his upbringing, his loyalties are ever tested. Is he Saxon or Viking?

The cast includes Alexander Dreymon, Rutger Hauer, David Dawson, Emily Cox, Matthew Macfadyen, Ian Hart, and Rune Temte.

The Last Kingdom is produced by Carnival Films. The executive producers are Gareth Neame, Nigel Marchant, and Stephen Butchard; the co-executive producer is Nick Murphy; and the producer is Chrissy Skinns.

The eight-part series is currently in production in Hungary and the UK, and will debut later this year.

BBC Worldwide builds Banished sales

Broadcasters in Mexico, Poland, and Israel have picked up rights to Jimmy McGovern’s latest drama, Banished.

Banished

Banished

VEO in Mexico, TVP in Poland, and Cellcom in Israel have acquired the seven-part series, which is based on the lives of the inhabitants of the first penal colony in Sydney.

YLE in Finland and HRT in Croatia have also bought the show, which is distributed by BBC Worldwide.

Banished was commissioned by BBC Two in the UK and BBC First in Australia.

The historical drama, set in 1787, stars Russell Tovey, Julian Rhind-Tutt, MyAnna Burling, and David Wenham.

It is produced by RSJ Films and Seesaw Films.

BBC Two gets Close to the Enemy

Stephen Poliakoff will write and direct a new six-part period drama for BBC Two.

BBC Two

BBC Two

Close to the Enemy is set in a bomb-damaged London hotel in the aftermath of World War Two.

The story follows an intelligence officer whose last task for the Army is to ensure that a captured German scientist starts working for the British RAF on developing the jet engine. A friendship develops between the two men, but soon tensions arise when it emerges all is not it seems.

The cast includes Jim Sturgess, Freddie Highmore, Charlotte Riley, Phoebe Fox, August Diehl, Robert Glenister, Alfie Allen, Charity Wakefield, Angela Bassett, Lindsay Duncan, and Alfred Molina.

Filming has begun on the show, which is produced by Little Island Productions in association with Endor Productions. It is due to air on BBC Two in 2016.

Poliakoff executive produces with Helen Flint and Hilary Bevan Jones. Flint is also the producer.

All3Media International is handling worldwide sales.

BBC head of drama exits for JJ Abrams’ Bad Robot

The BBC has begun its search for a new controller of drama commissioning after Ben Stephenson confirmed he will join JJ Abrams’ Bad Robot Productions.

Ben Stephenson

Ben Stephenson

Stephenson will take up the position of head of television with the US firm, whose hits include Lost and Person of Interest.

Appointed to lead BBC Drama in 2008, Stephenson has overseen a remarkable slate of series totalling more than 450 hours.

His recent credits include Sherlock, Call the Midwife, Luther, Happy Valley, The Missing, and Wolf Hall.

BBC Two draws new Line of Duty

Daniel Mays has joined the cast for the third season of BBC Two crime drama Line of Duty.

Line of Duty

Line of Duty

The series, created by writer Jed Mercurio, follows an anti-corruption unit officers, known as AC-12, as they carry out their investigations into members of their own police force.

In the new season, Mays will play Sergeant Danny Waldron, the highly proficient leader of an Armed Response Unit whose unpredictable behaviour is becoming a threat to colleagues and suspects. When AC-12 are called in to investigate Danny’s conduct, even they could find themselves in the firing line.

Martin Compston, Vicky McClure, and Adrian Dunbar all return to the cast.

The third season is written by Mercurio, and produced by World Productions.

The executive producers are Mercurio, Simon Heath, and Stephen Wright. The producer is Peter Norris.

Filming starts in Belfast later this month.

BBC Two commits Grand Theft Auto

BBC Two is developing a drama based on the making of hit video game Grand Theft Auto.

The broadcaster has released few details about the project, except to say that it is one of a number of programmes being lined up as part of its new Make It Digital initiative, which includes “a new BBC Two drama based on Grand Theft Auto”.

Journalist Guy Cocker later tweeted that he is writing the drama:

Third season for BBC Two’s The Fall

Serial killer drama The Fall will return for a third and final season on BBC Two.

The Fall

The Fall

Season two concluded last December with a cliff-hanger ending, and now stars Gillian Anderson and Jamie Dornan are set to return and bring the story to a close.

Five new episodes have been commissioned, returning to Belfast as the relationship between Detective Superintendent Stella Gibson (Anderson) and Paul Spector (Dornan) intensifies.

The Fall is created, written and directed by Allan Cubitt, and produced by Fables in association with Artists Studio.

Cubitt said: “The cliffhanger ending of season two was conceived in the hope of further exploring the characters and the themes that are at the heart of The Fall.”

BBC Drama controller Ben Stephenson added: “The story is far from over. Allan has known the end game from the beginning – the cat and mouse game between Gillian and Jamie has one last act to play out. Who will win?”

The Fall is produced by Gub Neal, and executive produced by Cubitt, Justin Thomson-Glover, Patrick Irwin, Stephen Wright, and Anderson.

Distributed by Endemol Shine International, The Fall has been sold to 200 countries including Netflix in the US, BBC First Australia, Bravo Canada, DirecTV Latin America, Globosat Brazil, RTE Ireland, and Fox International Channels across Asia..