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.

PBS acquires more Last Tango in Halifax

US public broadcaster PBS has picked up the third season of British drama Last Tango in Halifax.

Last Tango in Halifax

Last Tango in Halifax

The six-part season continues the story of love-struck septuagenarians Alan and Celia, who rediscover their love 60 years after they first met.

Anne Reid and Derek Jacobi lead the cast, which also includes Sarah Lancashire, Nicola Walker, Tony Gardner, Dean Andrews, Nina Sosanya, Ronni Ancona, and Josh Bolt.

It is written by Sally Wainwright and produced by Red Production Company.

The producers is Karen Lewis, with executive producers Wainwright, Nicola Shindler, and Matthew Read.

Season three debuts on PBS on June 28.

Last Tango in Halifax is distributed by BBC Worldwide.

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.


ITV’s Mr Selfridge back for fourth season

ITV period drama Mr Selfridge has been commissioned for a fourth season.

Ten new episodes of the series have been ordered for 2016.

Mr Selfridge

Mr Selfridge

Jeremy Piven stars as the charismatic American retail entrepreneur Harry Gordon Selfridge, the man behind the world-famous Selfridges department store in London.

The fourth season will focus on his dramatic fall as he loses hold on the empire and social status he created.

Katherine Kelly, Tom Goodman-Hill, Ron Cook, Amanda Abbington, Amy Beth Hayes, Trystan Gravelle, Sacha Parkinson, and Samuel West will also return.

Helen Raynor is the lead writer alongside Kate O’Riordan, James Payne, Matt Jones, Hamish Wright, and Ben Morris.

Lindy Woodhead, the author of Shopping, Seduction and Mr Selfridge, the book that inspired the series, continues as an advisor.

Dominic Barlow will return as series producer and ITV Studios’ Kate Lewis will executive produce with Raynor, and Rebecca Eaton.

Mr Selfridge is distributed internationally by ITV Studios Global Entertainment.

The third season will have its US premiere on March 29 on Masterpiece on PBS.

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 battles Civil War drama

PBS has commissioned a new historical drama set during the Civil War.



The as-yet untitled series is based on true stories and follows two volunteer nurses on opposite sides of the conflict.

Mary Phinney, a staunch New England abolitionist, and Emma Green, a willful young Confederate belle, collide at Mansion House, the Green family’s luxury hotel that has been taken over and transformed into a Union Army Hospital in Alexandria, Virginia, the longest-occupied Confederate city of the war.

It is created by Lisa Q Wolfinger and writer David Zabel, and executive produced by Ridley Scott, David W Zucker, and Wolfinger. The producers are Sawbone Films and Scott Free Productions.

Shot in Virginia, production will begin this spring.

The first season of six episodes is due to air in 2016.

Electric Entertainment will handle international distribution rights.

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.