BBC announces new scripted format deals

BBC Worldwide has announced new scripted format deals, including the acquisition of the rights to the scripts for the US adaptation of The Office.

The partnership with NBC Universal, gives BBC Worldwide the rights to over 100 scripts for the hit US comedy, extending the number of episodes available to be sold as a format from 14 to 192. The Office, which depicts the everyday lives of office employees in the fictional Dunder Mifflin Paper Company in Pennsylvania, is based on the BBC series created by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, and developed for American television by Greg Daniels. BBC Worldwide own global formats rights for the popular US series, in all territories excluding North America.

Nicki McDermott Head of Format Acquisitions at BBC Worldwide said “We are thrilled to be offering more scripts to the US version of The Office to broadcasters around the world. The series has kept audiences, certainly in America, entertained for over a decade and this access to more episodes means International broadcasters now have more storylines to play with when adapting locally.”

BBC Worldwide has additionally secured a new commission for gripping cop drama Luther in Georgia. The local production deal will see 14 episodes of the thriller produced in-house for GDS TV, with production due to start in the summer. Luther has also previously been picked up as a cast contingent pilot in the US by Fox, which the network is opting to develop off season.

Tamara Edgar, Head of Programming at GDS TV said “We are looking forward to working with BBC Worldwide in adapting Luther for audiences in Georgia. The Luther scripts are full of smart and compelling storylines, and I am confident that a localised version will prove popular with GDS TV viewers.”

Further additions to the BBC Worldwide scripted formats slate, include new acquisitions for the rights to family comedy Citizen Khan, and new crime formats Thirteen, One of Us, The Coroner, Undercover, Doctor Foster and Unforgotten – which are due to launch over the next 12 -18 months.

Kate Phillips, Creative Director for Formats at BBC Worldwide said “It’s a great time for formats and we have seen a growth in interest in scripted format titles. At BBC Worldwide we have responded to this demand by increasing the size of our team and the scope of our scripted formats catalogue. With new rights to the US Office scripts, new deals for Luther, and the launch of a number of crime formats produced by BBC In-house and our indie partners – it’s going to be an exciting year.”

BBC Worldwide scripted formats catalogue consists of over 50 titles, including; fast paced criminal law drams Silk; real-time medical drama Critical; and multi-award winning hit show Orphan Black.

Undercover is a 6 X 60-minute series written by Peter Moffat (Silk, Criminal Justice) and produced by BBC Drama In-House Production.  This new show is a gripping political thriller following a lead character who is about to become the first black Director of Public Prosecutions. Just as her life comes under intense public scrutiny, she discovers that her husband and the father of her children has been lying to her for years.

One of Us is a 4 x 60-minute drama series by Harry and Jack Williams (The Missing) and produced by BBC Drama In-House Production, in association with Two Brothers Pictures.  One Of Us is a modern thriller set in the Highlands of Scotland and Edinburgh.  A horrific double murder rocks the lives of two families living side by side in rural Scotland. Instead of focussing on the investigation, One Of Us explores the fallout for the grieving relatives, and the dark consequences that threaten to shatter their lives.

Thirteen is a new original 5 x 60’ drama series written by young rising star Marnie Dickens, and produced by BBC Drama In-House Production.  Thirteen is a psychological drama following the story of a young woman, Ivy Moxham, who escapes from the cellar that’s been her prison for the last 13 years. Thirteen explores how to pick up the threads of a life half-lived and how to survive as a family under the greatest pressure: how to feel again, chance love again.

Unforgotten is a 6 X 60’ by Chris Lang (Undeniable, A Mother’s Son, Torn), and produced by Main Street Pictures. Unforgotten, focuses on a ‘cold’ murder case of 39 years ago, when the bones of a young man are found beneath the footings of a demolished house. An investigation begins that will unravel the lives of four people who have been waiting for this moment for nearly forty years, as they discover that the past can’t, and won’t, stay buried for ever.

Doctor Foster is a 5 X 60’ by playwright Mike Bartlett (Charles III, The Town), and produced by Drama Republic. Doctor Foster  tells the story of a woman seemingly in control: she is a trusted GP, the heart of her town, a woman people can trust. But Doctor Gemma Foster’s life is about to explode: when she suspects her husband is having an affair she is determined to find out the truth.

The Coroner is created and written by Sally Abbott, and produced by BBC Birmingham Drama Village in collaboration with BBC Worldwide. The Coroner follows Jane, a high flying solicitor, who after another failed relationship, returns to the small seaside town she escaped as a teenager to take up the post of Coroner. She finds herself forced to work with Davey, the boy who broke her heart and is now local Detective Sergeant.


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