PBS develops The Signature of All Things

Elizabeth Gilbert’s novel The Signature of All Things is being adapted for television by US public broadcaster PBS.

Elizabeth Gilbert

Elizabeth Gilbert

The network’s Masterpiece strand has optioned rights to the book, which is set in the 19th Century and follows a brilliant, determined, and thoroughly scientific woman who is struggling to express her intellectual curiosity in a society where women’s lives are confined to the domestic sphere.

Masterpiece, produced by WGBH Boston, is developing the project with UK production company Origin Pictures.

Emily Ballou is adapting the novel for television.

Downton Abbey to end after season six

The doors are closing on Downton Abbey.

Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey

ITV has confirmed the period drama will come to an end after its sixth season later this year – concluding with a special episode on Christmas Day.

The series is produced by Carnival Films, and coproduecd with Masterpiece for PBS in the US. The executive producers are creator Julian Fellowes and Gareth Neame.

Fellowes is now expected to ramp up production on his forthcoming NBC project, The Gilded Age, described as an epic tale of the princes of the American Renaissance, and the vast fortunes they made — and spent — in late nineteenth-century New York.


Wolf Hall conquers BBC Two

Period drama Wolf Hall has been revealed to be the highest-rating drama on BBC Two for more than a decade.

Wolf Hall

Wolf Hall

The series, based on Hilary Mantel’s historical novels, saw a consolidated audience of 4.4 million viewers across its six episodes.

This is the highest rating for a drama series on BBC Two since current records began in 2002.

Wolf Hall charts the meteoric rise of Thomas Cromwell in the Tudor court, from his lowly start as a blacksmith’s son to Henry VIII’s closest advisor.

It stars Mark Rylance as Cromwell and Damian Lewis as Henry VIII, with Claire Foy as Anne Boleyn.

The series was written by Peter Straughan, and co-producted by Company Pictures and Playground for BBC Two and Masterpiece for PBS in association with BBC Worldwide, and Prescience and Altus Productions.

Colin Callender, John Yorke, Polly Hill, Rebecca Eaton, Martin Rakusen, and Tim Smith executive produce.

Sun doesn’t set on Channel 4’s Indian Summer

It’s only three episodes into its first season.

But Channel 4 has moved quickly to tie up a second season of period drama Indian Summers.

Indian Summers

Indian Summers

The new ten-part season, due to air in 2016, will be set in Simla during the summer of 1935, three years after the current season.

Indian Summers was created and written by Paul Rutman, and is produced by New Pictures. Charlie Pattinson and Rebecca Eaton executive produce. Indira Varma is the co-executive producer.

It is coproduced with Masterpiece on PBS, which airs the series in the US, and is distributed worldwide by All3M International.

Arte traps Wolf Hall

Arte in France and Germany has picked up period drama Wolf Hall.

Wolf Hall

Wolf Hall

It is the latest broadcaster to acquire the 6×60′ series, currently airing on BBC One, from distributor BBC Worldwide.

SVT in Sweden, DR in Denmark, YLE in Finland, and Australia’s BBC First have previously bought the show, while coproducer Masterpiece on PBS will air the series in the US.

Wolf Hall, based on Hilary Mantel’s novels Wolf Hall and Bringing up the Bodies, follows the meteoric rise of Thomas Cromwell (Mark Rylance), in the court of King Henry VIII (Damian Lewis).

The cast also includes Peter Kosminsky, Mark Gatiss, Jonathan Pryce, Colin Callender, Mark Pybus, and Peter Straughan.

It is produced by Company Pictures and Playground Entertainment.

BBC Worldwide’s drama slate also includes:

Banished (7×50′): From writer Jimmy McGovern, this series set in 1787 is based on the lives of the inhabitants of the first penal colony in Sydney. The cast includes MyAnna Buring, Julian Rhind-Tutt, David Wenham, and Russell Tovey. It is produced by RSJ Films and See-Saw Films for BBC First.

Critical (13×45′): This new medical drama penned by Jed Mercurio is set in a major trauma centre that only deals with the most serious cases. It stars Lennie James and is produced by Hat Trick Productions for Sky One.

Orphan Black season three (10×45′): Continuing the series about a woman who discovers she is a clone, starring Tatianya Maslany. It is produced by Temple Street Productions in association with BBC America and Canada’s Space.

The Interceptor (8×50′): A police officer is recruited by UNIT, the Undercover Narcotics Intelligence Team, a top-secret squad brought together to hunt down and bring to justice society’s most ruthless criminals. It is a BBC Drama Production for BBC One in association with BBC Worldwide.

Wallander (3×90′): Kenneth Branagh returns for a final season as Detective Kurt Wallander. It is produced by Left Bank Pictures, Yellow Bird, and TKBC Series for BBC One, coproduced with Masterpiece for PBS, and TV4 in Sweden.

PBS adds new UK dramas

PBS is extending its slate of UK drama with two new acquisitions.

PBS Masterpiece

PBS Masterpiece

Joining its Sunday Masterpiece night line-up, which is already home to hit period drama Downton Abbey, are Arthur & George, and Home Fires.

Both series will air on PBS later in 2015.

Arthur & George stars Martin Clunes as world-famous author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in a three-part adaptation of Julian Barnes’ novel about the separate but intersecting lives of two very different men – a half-Indian son of a vicar who is framed for a crime he may or may not have committed, and Doyle, who investigates the case.

It is coproduced by Buffalo Pictures and Masterpiece for ITV.

Home Fires sees Samantha Bond and Francesca Annis play members of a group of women living in a small rural village during World War Two. Separated from their husbands, fathers, sons, and brothers for years at a time, they find themselves under extraordinary pressure in a rapidly fragmenting world.

The show is coproduced by ITV Studios and Masterpiece, also for ITV.

Both series are distributed internationally by ITV Studios Global Entertainment.

PBS expands drama line-up

PBS in the US has expanded its drama line-up for 2015 with new acquisitions including Indian Summers and Grantchester.

The public broadcaster has added 20 hours of new shows to its Sunday night Masterpiece strand in 2015.

Season five of Downton Abbey will air from January 4, with new additions Grantchester beginning on January 18 and Wolf Hall on April 5.



Poldark and Indian Summers will join the schedule later in the year.

Meanwhile, season three of Mr Selfridge and season four of Call the Midwife will both debut on March 29.

Mr Selfridge

Mr Selfridge

ITV builds case for Grantchester

ITV has ordered a second season of crime drama Grantchester.



The series, which stars James Norton and Robson Green, follows a crime-fighting clergyman and his police inspector partner.

It is based on the books by James Runcie, written by Daisy Coulam, and produced by Lovely Day.

The executive producer is Diederick Santer. Filming will begin next year.

Season one of Grantchester has also been acquired by PBS in the US for its Masterpiece strand, which is also a coproducer on the series.

Shine International holds international distribution rights to the series.

ITV hits Downton Abbey for six

ITV period drama Downton Abbey has been renewed for a sixth season.

Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey

Production on the series, produced by Carnival Films, will begin early next year and is likely to air in autumn 2015.

Season five ends on ITV on Sunday, November 9, but will return for a Christmas special later this year.  Masterpiece on PBS in the US will launch season five on January 4, 2015.


BBC bags Sherlock stars for fourth run

They may both now be Hollywood stars but Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman will find time in their schedule to reunite for a fourth season of detective drama Sherlock.



BBC One has ordered a one-off special, which is expected to air at Christmas 2015, followed by three new episodes, likely to premiere in 2016.

Sherlock, produced by Hartswood Films, is written and created by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, and inspired by the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Sherlock is produced by Sue Vertue and the executive producers are Beryl Vertue, Gatiss, Moffat, Bethan Jones, and Rebecca Eaton for Masterpiece for PBS in the US.

Shooting on the special will begin in January 2015, with the series shooting later next year.