Casting announced as filming begins on new drama thriller GIRI/HAJI

GH_BTS_03.08.2018_4916 1.jpg

BBC TWO and Netflix announce Takehiro Hira (Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai), BAFTA and Golden Globe nominee Kelly Macdonald (Boardwalk Empire, T2 Trainspotting), Japanese Academy award winner Yosuke Kubosuka (Go, Silence), BAFTA nominated Will Sharpe (Flowers), Japanese Academy Award winner Masahiro Motoki (Departures), Justin Long (New Girl, Live Free or Die Hard) and Charlie Creed-Miles (Ripper Street, Peaky Blinders) as the first cast joining the ambitious, global drama GIRI/HAJI (translating as Duty/Shame) as filming begins this week in London.

Written by BAFTA nominee Joe Barton (Humans), directed by BAFTA winner and Emmy nominee Julian Farino (Entourage, Marvellous) and produced by Jane Featherstone’s Sister Pictures (The Split, Broadchurch, Cleaning Up) the production introduces an exceptional array of Japanese talent alongside an acclaimed cast from UK film and TV. The drama will play out across eight episodes in both Japanese and English as the action moves between London and Tokyo, traversing the narrative’s multiple time frames.

GIRI/HAJI, an intricate and soulful thriller that explores the butterfly effect of one murder over two cities, sees celebrated Japanese stars Takehiro Hira and Yosuke Kubosuka leading the Japanese cast. They play Kenzo (Hira), and Yuto (Kubosuka), once devoted and now estranged brothers, driven to opposite sides of the world by the spiralling consequences of one violent split-second decision. They are joined by Masahiro Motoki, Yuko Nakamura, Aoi Okuyama, Mitsuko Oka, Togo Igawa, Katsuya and Yoshiki Minato. The UK cast sees Kelly Macdonald, Justin Long, Will Sharpe, Charlie Creed-Miles and Tony Pitts (Jamestown, Peaky Blinders) line up across a bitter divide as the ramifications of the murder erupt across the globe from London to Toyko.

Kenzo (Hira), a Tokyo detective and family man, is abruptly dispatched to London by his superiors in the police department to search for his missing younger brother Yuto (Kubosuka), the honour of his family at stake. Arriving, he becomes drawn into the shadowy world of Abbott (Creed-Miles) and Vickers (Long), a once lucrative business partnership now under threat, as the former looks now to the East to expand his empire. Distant from everything familiar to him, Kenzo unexpectedly finds hope in a remarkable makeshift family of Londoners, each in turn confronting the tumultuous, spiralling effects of fateful past decisions. Among them is charismatic rent boy Rodney (Sharpe) and Sarah (Macdonald), a Met detective investigating the London murder, who begins to present a delicate threat to Kenzo’s marriage.

Commissioned by Netflix and Piers Wenger and Charlotte Moore for BBC, the 8x60’ is directed by Julian Farino, is created and written by Joe Barton (Humans), is executive produced by Jane Featherstone (The Split, Utopia, BroadchurchHumans) and Chris Fry (Humans, The Smoke) and Joe Barton for Sister Pictures, Ben Irving for BBC TWO and produced by Susie Liggat.

Creator and screenwriter Joe Barton says “Developing this show with Sister Pictures, Netflix, and the BBC has been an amazing creative experience and now I’m incredibly excited to see it come to life with such a diverse and brilliant cast and crew. They’re all ridiculously talented which has the added bonus of making me look better. Which was my goal all along, frankly.”

Jane Featherstone of Sister Pictures continues “Joe is an amazing talent and I am thrilled to be working with him at Sister on this series which plays with genre in such a sophisticated way. In Giri/Haji he has created gripping, truly rule-breaking scripts, visually and narratively rich, and when paired with this extraordinary ensemble cast and Julian's beautiful direction, they will, I believe, result in something pretty fabulous.”

Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama, said: “Giri/Haji is unlike anything we’ve ever seen before on British TV. It’s unique blend of suspense, pathos and wit is a testament to Joe Barton’s astonishing imagination and talent as a writer. It’s thrilling to see the series come to life in Julian’s hands and in the hands of this unique and extraordinary cast.

Cindy Holland, Vice President, Original Content at Netflix adds “Giri/Haji is a unique series that crosses cultures in a way that we think will appeal to Netflix members around the world. We’re excited to partner with Joe and Julian, and to see their combined vision come to life on screen”

Giri/Haji will make its world premiere on BBC Two and Netflix will stream the series globally outside of the UK.

BBC Two announces adaptation of bestseller This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay

ADAM KAY headshot (photo credit Idil Sukan).jpg

Adam Kay, former junior doctor and best-selling author of literary phenomenon This Is Going to Hurt is set to adapt his personal account of life on the wards in a major new eight-part comedy-drama produced by Sister Pictures and commissioned by Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama, and Patrick Holland, Controller of BBC Two. 

Kay’s diaries were scribbled in secret after endless days, sleepless nights and missed weekends, and tell the unvarnished truth of life as a junior doctor: the 97-hour weeks, the life and death decisions, the constant tsunami of bodily fluids and the fact the hospital parking meter earns more than you. 

This is Going to Hurt is a blisteringly funny, politically enraging and frequently heart-breaking wake-up call to anyone who values the NHS, and a frank and moving love letter to the 1.4 million people working on the front line every day. 

Set on labour ward with all its hilarity and heart-lifting highs but also its gut-wrenching lows, the show delivers a brutally honest depiction of life as a junior doctor on the wards, and the toll the job can take back home.

Adam Kay’s book is the current Sunday Times number one bestseller, a position it has held for over two months. Since publication in September, it has been translated into twenty languages and won numerous awards including Sunday Times Humour Book of the Year. Alongside universal press acclaim, it has been described as ‘Painfully funny’ by Stephen Fry and ‘Heartbreaking and hilarious’ by Charlie Brooker.

Produced by Sister Pictures for BBC Two, the 8 x 45’ series is adapted by Kay himself.

Creator and Writer Adam Kay said: “Junior doctors tend to have a rather quiet voice compared to the politicians, which is understandable – you don’t have much spare time if you’re working 100 hour weeks. It’s been a huge privilege to have my diaries reach so many readers and it’s been absolutely humbling to see their reaction. I’m beyond delighted to now be able to share my story with a far wider audience and make the viewers of BBC Two laugh, cry and vomit.”

Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama, said: “The anarchic, laugh out loud tone of Adam’s memoir masks a frank, insightful and often visceral portrait of a committed young professional struggling to do the job of his dreams. It is a deeply personal but definitive account of the 21st Century NHS and we are thrilled that Adam and the team at Hootenanny and Sister have chosen BBC Two as the place to bring it to screen.”

Patrick Holland, Controller of BBC Two, said: “Adam is an extraordinary talent with a unique story to tell. His memoir ‘This is Going to Hurt’ leaps off the page with its candour, coruscating wit, intelligence and timeliness. This new series promises scintillating writing about a subject that is at the centre of national life. I am so delighted Adam and Sister Pictures have brought this to BBC Two.” 

Executive Producer Naomi de Pear said: “Hospitals are remarkable places where human beings are seen in all of their glory - where people are their bravest, kindest and sometimes silliest. And the world is envious of our hospitals for a reason, because they represent a system built on the humane belief that people deserve to be treated equally whatever their financial situation, especially in their hour of need. We want this show to be a call to arms.”

This Is Going To Hurt is created, written and Executive Produced by Adam Kay of Terrible Productions, and Executive Produced by Naomi De Pear (Flowers, The Bisexual, River) for Sister Pictures and Mona Qureshi for BBC TWO.  Further casting and production details are yet to be announced.  

Paul Ritter, Jessie Buckley, Adrian Rawlins and Con O’Neill among a raft of talent joining Sky and HBO’s Chernobyl

Chernoby.jpg

A huge list of top names from the world of TV and film are confirmed to star in Chernobyl, Sky and HBO’s high-end drama based on one of the worst man-made catastrophes in history.

Paul Ritter (Electric Dreams, No Offence, Lovesick), Jessie Buckley (Taboo, Country Music, Beast), Adrian Rawlins (Darkest Hour, War and Peace) and Con O’Neill (Happy Valley, Telstar) join the impressive cast bringing to life the true story of the unprecedented tragedy.

 Buckley said: “It is a real honour to be part of this important piece of work and share with the world the real truth about the unbelievable bravery and sacrifice that the people of Chernobyl made in order to stop an even greater disaster. I feel incredibly humbled.”

Also joining the large-scale production are Sam Troughton (The Ritual, The Hollow Crown), Adam Nagaitis (The Terror, To Walk Invisible), Ralph Ineson (Game of Thrones, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince), Mark Lewis Jones (Apostle, Star Wars Episode VIII), Fares Fares (Tyrant, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) and David Densik (McMafia, Top of the Lake: China Girl).

The series, produced by Sister Pictures and The Mighty Mint, is the first Sky/HBO project to be greenlit through an international partnership to develop big-scale drama, under a $250m multi-year co-production investment deal.

Further names joining the line-up include: Robert Emms, Jay Simpson, Gerard Kearns, Michael Socha, Jamie Sives, Kieran O’Brien, Karl Davies, Billy Postlethwaite, Alex Ferns and James Cosmo.

Jared Harris (The Crown, Mad Men), Stellan Skarsgård (Breaking the Waves, Good Will Hunting) and Emily Watson (Breaking the Waves, Apple Tree Yard) have already been confirmed to star in the five-part mini-series, which will be shown on Sky Atlantic and streaming service NOW TV.

Written and executive produced by Craig Mazin (The Identity Thief, The Huntsman: Winter’s War), Chernobyl is directed by Johan Renck (Breaking Bad, Blackstar), and is executive produced by Jane Featherstone (Humans, Broadchurch) for Sister Pictures, Carolyn Strauss (Game of Thrones, The Wire) for The Mighty Mint and Gabriel Silver for Sky. Johan Renck and Chris Fry (Humans, The Smoke) co-executive produce and Sanne Wohlenberg (Black Mirror, Wallander) produces. 

Filming for Chernobyl began in Lithuania last month. The show will be available on Sky Atlantic and NOW TV in the UK and Ireland, and on Sky Atlantic in Italy, Germany and Austria.

 

BBC Two announces brand new comedy Don’t Forget The Driver

DcDzfi2W0AACY_w.jpg

Written and created by acclaimed BAFTA nominated actor Toby Jones (Detectorists, Marvellous, The Girl) and Obie award winning playwright Tim Crouch (An Oak Tree, Beginners, Adler & Gibb) Don’t Forget the Driver stars Toby Jones in a dark comedy set  in sunny, seaside Bognor Regis. It explores what it means to live, work and parent at a point when the entire UK population is having to come to terms with the changing colour of their passports.

Commissioned by Patrick Holland, Controller of BBC Two, and Shane Allen, Controller of BBC Comedy, the 6x30’ episodes tell the story of coach driver and single dad Peter Green (Jones). His is a life of ordinary routine; clip on ties, limp packed lunches, vehicle checks, roundtrip coach journeys ferrying church groups to Donkey Sanctuaries and Japanese tourists to Canterbury Cathedral.

Green is at full stretch just about coping with his disaffected daughter Kayla (bored to a state of almost total inertia in a place that has nothing for her) and Audrey, his mum, whose life is rapidly descending into confusion and fear. The discovery of a dead body on the docile Bognor shoreline and an unsettling meeting with a new arrival in town throws Green’s life into chaos – a lost soul in need of assistance, who he could help. But will he? Can he?

Don’t Forget The Driver follows a group of people struggling with their place in the world, their own sense of identity, and reveals how, in one single moment, even in the most ordinary of lives, an accidental encounter can change the course of everything. 

Sister Pictures Executive Producer’s Jane Featherstone and Naomi De Pear said: “We’re delighted to be working with the wildly talented Toby and Tim on their unique, funny and probing Don’t Forget the Driver which has its perfect home in BBC Two. We fell in love with this wonderful web of people, some born and bred in Bognor and others surprised to find themselves there, led by Toby’s Greene who is forced to challenge his long-held perceptions of the world and himself.”

Toby Jones said: “I’m excited to collaborate with the celebrated playwright Tim Crouch and the fabulous Sister Pictures on our first piece of writing for television. We hope that Don’t Forget the Driver will be an unusually funny drama about small town Britain and the joys of coach travel.”

Patrick Holland, Controller of BBC Two, said: “Don’t forget the Driver is a brilliantly woven story of humanity and unexpected consequences. Comedy can misfire when it takes on the big issues of the age but this series with the unrivalled Toby Jones is so human, so rooted, so warmly funny, that it illuminates, enriching our understanding.” 

Shane Allen, Controller of BBC Comedy Commissioning, said: “This irresistible piece explores big rich themes about identity - both personal and national. It feels very timely in this climate of introspection and transition.  Shot through with heart and humour it will continue to cement BBC Two’s reputation as the place to deliver poignant, mature and highly resonant comedy drama starring the cream of British comedy writing and acting talent.”

Don’t Forget The Driver has been commissioned by Patrick Holland, Controller of BBC Two, and Shane Allen, Controller of BBC Comedy. The comedy is Executive Produced by Jane Featherstone (The Split, Broadchurch, Humans) and Naomi de Pear (Flowers, The Bisexual, River) for Sister Pictures, and BBC Comedy Commissioning Editor Kate Daughton. Don’t Forget the Driver also sees Holly Pullinger (previous Line-Producer credits include Save Me, Flowers and The Bisexual), step into her first producer role to produce the 6x30’ series for Sister Pictures.

 

Stellan Skarsgård and Emily Watson join Jared Harris in Chernobyl, Sky and HBO’s series based on one of the worst man-made catastrophes in history

Chernobyl.jpg

Stellan Skarsgård (Breaking the Waves, Good Will Hunting, Mamma Mia) and Emily Watson (Breaking The Waves, Punch-Drunk Love, Apple Tree Yard) are confirmed to star in Chernobyl, Sky and HBO’s high-end drama partnership based on the powerful real-life events of the catastrophic nuclear accident.

The five-part mini-series, which will be shown on Sky Atlantic and streaming service NOW TV, brings to life the true story of the unprecedented man-made tragedy, and the brave men and women who made incredible sacrifices to save Europe from unimaginable disaster.

Skarsgård will play Boris Shcherbina, head of the Bureau for Fuel and Energy of the USSR, and appointed leader of the government commission on Chernobyl in the early hours of the accident. In the effort to confront the disaster, Shcherbina finds himself trapped between the realities of the political system he serves... and the brutal human costs of battling an escalating nuclear nightmare.

Watson will take the role of Ulana Khomyuk, a Soviet nuclear physicist committed to solving the scientific mystery of what led to the disaster at Chernobyl, so that it can be prevented from ever happening again. Her efforts put her on a collision course with those who have buried a terrible secret, and she must risk her freedom, and her life, to see that the truth is told, and justice is done.

Skarsgård and Watson, who appeared together on screen in 1996 Cannes Film Festival winner Breaking the Waves, will be reunited and will join Jared Harris (Mad Men, The Crown), who was confirmed last year to play Valery Legasov, the Soviet scientist chosen by the Kremlin to investigate the accident.

Skarsgård said: “Nobody would see it as a privilege to spend five months in a dilapidated nuclear plant, unless it was to play in a script like this by Craig Mazin, work with a director like Johan Renck, collaborate with a producer like Jane Featherstone, jam with an actor like Jared Harris and finally be at the feet of Emily Watson whom I have been missing for some twenty years.”

Watson said: “This is a significant piece of work and I'm honoured to be part of it. I can't wait to get started with this amazing group of people, and am especially excited to be working with Stellan again.”

The series, produced by Sister Pictures and The Mighty Mint, is the first Sky/HBO project to be greenlit through an international partnership to develop big-scale drama, under a $250m multi-year co-production investment deal.

Written by Craig Mazin (The Identity Thief, Huntsman: Winters War), Chernobyl is Directed by Johan Renck (Breaking Bad, Blackstar), is Executive Produced by Jane Featherstone (Humans, Broadchurch) and Craig Mazin for Sister Pictures, Carolyn Strauss (Game of Thrones, The Wire) for The Mighty Mint and Gabriel Silver for Sky. Johan Renck and Chris Fry (Humans, The Smoke) Co-Executive Produce and Sanne Wohlenberg (Black Mirror, Wallander) produces.  

Chernobyl will begin filming in Lithuania in Spring 2018. It will be available later on Sky Atlantic and NOW TV in the UK and Ireland, and on Sky Atlantic in Italy, Germany and Austria.

MAXINE PEAKE AND BRIAN GLEESON STAR ALONGSIDE SUNDANCE AWARD WINNING WRITER/DIRECTOR DESIREE AKHAVAN AS HOOTENANNY GOES INTO PRODUCTION ON THE BISEXUAL

desiree directing1.jpg
desiree on bed.jpg

Fresh from winning the Grand Jury prize at Sundance, Iranian-American filmmaker Desiree Akhavan writes, directs and stars in The Bisexual, a painfully funny comedy series that explores the differences between dating men and women from the perspective of a person who finds herself doing both.


BAFTA-nominated Maxine Peake (Red Riding, Three Girls, Funny Cow) and Brian Gleeson (Hellboy, Phantom Thread, Stonemouth) will star alongside acclaimed screenwriter, director and actress Desiree Akhavan (The Miseducation of Cameron Post, Appropriate Behaviour) in her first television project The Bisexual, a 6-part comedy-drama for Channel 4 in association with Hulu in the US. The series is produced by Hootenanny and the creative team behind BAFTA-nominated Flowers. The cast also includes Eva Birthistle (The Last Kingdom, Brooklyn), John Dagliesh (Justice League, Sunny Afternoon, The Monuments Men),  Naomi Ackie (Lady Macbeth, Yardie), Niamh Algar (The Virtues) and newcomers Saskia Chana and Michelle Guillot
The Bisexual explores the comedic, awkward, nuances of sex, relationships and identity and is penned by Akhavan and co-writer Cecilia Frugiuele, creators of the acclaimed Appropriate Behavior and Grand Jury Prize-winning The Miseducation of Cameron Post (starring Chloe Moretz and Sasha Lane).

New Yorker Leila (Akhavan) is feeling lost in London having just left a ten year relationship with girlfriend and business partner Sadie (Peake). Moving out of their beautiful, shared apartment, Leila ends up renting a room from neurotic novelist Gabe (Gleeson), a man living in constant fear of missing out and dwarfed by the success of his debut novel which came out 13 years ago and has long been forgotten.

Leila finds an unlikely wingman in the form of Gabe. He helps her navigate a new life dating men and women – and Leila, in return, introduces wide-eyed Gabe to the queer scene whilst doing her best to help him decipher his unreadable, sort-of-girlfriend Francisca (Guillot).  As Leila comes to lean more and more on Gabe she finds herself struggling to come out as bisexual to her gay friends, most importantly her best mate Deniz (Chana).

Meanwhile Sadie and Leila’s relationship hangs in the balance, inexorably linked both professionally and personally. As Sadie makes some big decisions of her own, both begin to question whether it’s a break, or a break-up…

Taking a candid look at the way people have sex and what that sex reveals about their prejudices however “woke” they think they are, The Bisexual is a raw, funny and unapologetic take on the “last taboo” - bisexuality - and the prejudices, shame and comic misconceptions that surround it.

Desiree Akhavan says; “I'm insanely lucky to be working with Hootenanny, Channel 4, Hulu and an incredible cast. This team couldn't be more intelligent, generous and talented.”

Maxine Peake says: “I’m thrilled? Or am I excited? Maybe I’m both but at the least very happy to be part of The Bisexual. Desiree is a really fresh, original and exciting voice and dead cool to boot. It’s fun, heart-breaking and thought-provoking and I get to ride a scooter, what’s not to like.”

Written by Cecilia Frugiuele and Desiree Akhavan, who also directs and stars, The Bisexual is Executive Produced by Naomi de Pear (Flowers, River) for Hootenanny (a Sister Pictures company), is produced by Katie Carpenter and is commissioned for Channel 4 by Head of Comedy Fiona McDermott and Commissioning Editor Jack Bayles. The series will air in the US on Hulu. Global sales are being handled by all3media International.

FIRST-LOOK AT NICOLA WALKER IN MAJOR NEW BBC ONE AND SUNDANCE TV DRAMA THE SPLIT

The Split - Nicola Walker as Hannah Defoe - small.jpg

High-flying divorce lawyer Hannah Defoe, played by Nicola Walker (River, Last Tango in Halifax), is pictured in the offices of top London law firm Noble and Hale in the first-look images from THE SPLIT, a major new original series for BBC One and SundanceTV, produced by Sister Pictures.

Set in the fast-paced, emotionally-charged world of divorce law, THE SPLIT explores contemporary marriage and relationships through the personal and professional lives of the Defoes, a family of lawyers at the heart of London’s divorce circuit.  

Written by Primetime Emmy and BAFTA-winning Abi Morgan (River, Suffragette, The Hour), the six-part series mixes legal, relationship and family drama as Hannah, her sister Nina played by Annabel Scholey (pictured in second image below) and mother Ruth (Deborah Findlay) negotiate scandalous affairs, big-figure settlements and fraught relationship battles at work, while navigating their own complicated lives at home. 

Anthony Head (Merlin, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and Rudi Dharmalingam (Our Girl, Rellik) join the previously announced stellar lead cast, which also includes Stephen Mangan, Meera Syal, Fiona Button, Barry Atsma and Stephen Tompkinson.

Mathew Baynton (Horrible Histories), Tanya Franks (Pulling), BAFTA-winning Chanel Cresswell (This is England), Tamara Lawrance (King Charles III) and Claire Rushbrook (My Mad Fat Diary) join as guest-stars.

Directed by Jessica Hobbs (Broadchurch, Apple Tree Yard, The Slap) it was shot entirely on location in London. 

THE SPLIT is the first new series from BAFTA-winning Jane Featherstone’s Sister Pictures and is set to air in 2018 on BBC One and SundanceTV.

Created and written by Abi Morgan, THE SPLIT is produced by Sister Pictures for BBC One, co-produced with SundanceTV, and was commissioned by Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama, and Charlotte Moore, Director of BBC Content.

The series is executive produced by Sister Pictures Founder Jane Featherstone (Broadchurch, Humans, River), creator Abi Morgan (River, Suffragette, The Hour), director Jessica Hobbs (Broadchurch, Apple Tree Yard, The Slap) and Lucy Richer for the BBC, with Lucy Dyke (Black Mirror, Ripper Street) producing.

BBC Worldwide is handling international distribution.

The Split - Nicola Walker & Annabel Scholey as Hannah & Nina Defoe - small.jpg

Sky and Cinemax commission new gangland thriller, Gangs of London

2017 has seen more people watch Sky Original Productions than ever before with Riviera and Tin Star attracting record audiences. Aiming to build on this success will be Gangs of London (w/t), a fresh and original gangland thriller that will take audiences on an adrenaline-fueled journey into the hidden heart of the capital.

Coming to Sky Atlantic in 2019, Gangs of London (w/t) is created and executive produced by Gareth Evans, director of the award-winning The Raid film franchise and co-commissioned with Cinemax. The series was developed and will be produced by Pulse Films (American Honey) and in association with Sister Pictures (Broadchurch).

Gangs of London (w/t) is set in present day London - a dynamic and multicultural city that’s being torn apart by the turbulent power struggles of the international gangs in control. When the head of a criminal organisation is assassinated, the sudden power vacuum his death creates threatens the fragile peace between the intricate web of gangs operating on the streets of the city.

Marking award-winning studio Pulse Films’ first move into drama, Gangs of London (w/t) is one of a number of Sky Original Productions that have been announced for Sky and TV streaming service NOW TV today (21 November).

Anne Mensah, head of drama, Sky, commented: “You only have to know Gareth and Matt's amazing track record to understand why we had to commission Gangs of London (w/t). Like all their films, this series will contain unrivalled spectacle with characters to match. Our customers demand brilliant and unique drama and we believe Gangs will be unlike anything else on British TV.”

Kary Antholis, president, HBO miniseries and Cinemax programming said: “Gareth and Matt have reinvented the action genre with the Raid films and they are perfectly suited to deliver a fun, adrenalized and entertaining series that will be catnip for audiences.”

Thomas Benski, founder and CEO at Pulse Films, said: “Gangs of London (w/t) is the ideal calling card for the launch of our scripted TV slate – a defining project, with the most prestigious broadcasters in Sky and Cinemax, incredible and singular talent like Gareth Evans and partners such as Sister Pictures. From the beginning, Lucas Ochoa (my producing partner) and I, were drawn to the fact that London sits at the intersection of international crime, global businesses and geo-politics. Our diverse characters and layered global storylines truly reflect the world we live in today. We can’t wait to take our audience on a thrilling ride into the

underbelly of this modern day saga, executed by the visionary filmmaker Gareth Evans and our incredible and innovative creative team.”

Gareth Evans, creator and director added: "I couldn't be more excited about "Gangs of London", which is co-created with Matt Flannery who happens to also be the director of photography for everything I've ever made! It has been a thrilling experience to leap into longform storytelling, exploring a multicultural world of global crime as it intersects on the streets of London. From the moment we started working on the project with Lucas Ochoa and Thomas Benski at Pulse Films, we have been surrounded by a wonderfully talented team of creative minds. Together with Jane Featherstone and Sister Pictures and the support of Sky Atlantic and Cinemax we look forward to creating a show that will transform the home into a cinematic viewing experience."

Created by the acclaimed writers, director and cinematographer of The Raid franchise, Gareth Evans and Matt Flannery, Gangs of London (w/t) sees both take on a writing role once again, alongside Peter Berry, Clare Wilson and Joe Murtagh. Evans will also direct. Pulse Films’ Thomas Benski and Lucas Ochoa will executive produce, alongside Sister Pictures’ Jane Featherstone and Sky’s Anna Ferguson.

Sister Pictures Options Adam Kay's Book 'This is Going to Hurt'

1268846_Adam-Kay.jpg

Sister Pictures have acquired the television rights for Adam Kay’s debut book This is Going To Hurt.

The Picador title, published 7th September 2017, was signed by Naomi De Pear of Sister Pictures, from Cathryn Summerhayes, Amanda Davis, Jessica Cooper and Kat Buckle at Curtis Brown after a 12-way auction. The series will be written by Adam Kay and developed by Katie Carpenter and Naomi de Pear, who will Executive Produce the series.

This is Going To Hurt is the diary of writer and comedian Adam Kay during the six years he spent as a junior doctor. It is a blistering first-hand account of life working for the NHS in all its joy, pain, sacrifice, hilarity, horror and maddening bureaucracy.  Kay, who worked as a junior doctor between 2004 and 2010, had previously turned his experiences into a critically acclaimed sell-out show which ran at the Edinburgh Festival and then at Soho Theatre. Best known for his work fronting musical comedy act The Amateur Transplants, Kay is now an award-winning writer for stage, screen and radio and currently has projects in development for Disney, Working Title Films and Sacha Baron Cohen’s Four By Two Films.

Adam Kay says: “I couldn't be happier about working with Sister to bring This is Going to Hurt to television. Jane, Naomi, Katie and the whole team are fantastic, with a brilliant vision for the show, and a hard and rightly won reputation for producing world-class television. I'll try my best not to ruin their reputation.”

Naomi De Pear says: “Adam’s book is a visceral and hilarious reminder of how brave, ridiculous, beautiful and stupid human beings and the systems they create are. I snorted with laughter on every page and was left completely heartbroken. We’re honoured to be able to work with Adam on adapting his vision for television. The NHS is a magnificent beast and it's imperative that this story be told now.”

FIVE-PART MINISERIES CHERNOBYL, PRODUCED BY SISTER PICTURES AND THE MIGHTY MINT AS AN HBO/SKY TELEVISION CO-PRODUCTION, TO BEGIN FILMING NEXT YEAR

The five-part HBO miniseries CHERNOBYL starring Jared Harris (The Crown, Mad Men), to be produced by Sister Pictures and The Mighty Mint as an HBO/Sky Television co-production, will begin filming next year, it was announced today by Kary Antholis, president, HBO Miniseries and CINEMAX Programming.

CHERNOBYL dramatizes the true story of one of the worst man-made catastrophes in history, and tells of the brave men and women who sacrificed to save Europe from unimaginable disaster.

Written by Craig Mazin (“The Huntsman: Winter’s War”) and directed by Johan Renck (“Breaking Bad,” “The Walking Dead”), CHERNOBYL will be executive produced by Jane Featherstone (“Broadchurch,” “The Hour”, "Humans"),  Carolyn Strauss (two-time Emmy® winner and PGA winner for HBO’s “Game of Thrones”; HBO’s “Treme”),  and Craig Mazin, and co-executive produced by Chris Fry (“Humans”) and Johan Renck.

CHERNOBYL is a tale of lies and cowardice, of courage and conviction, of human failure and human nobility. The miniseries focuses on the heartbreaking scope of the nuclear plant disaster that occurred in Ukraine in April 1986, revealing how and why it happened, and telling the shocking, remarkable stories of the heroes who fought and fell.

Filming will begin in Lithuania in spring 2018.

BBC ONE AND SUNDANCE TV ANNOUNCE KEY CASTING FOR NEW SIX-PART DRAMA “THE SPLIT”

Production starts in the UK this month on the original series helmed by award-winning creative team including writer Abi Morgan, producer Jane Featherstone and director Jessica Hobbs

London, New York – Wednesday 28th June 2017: All-new drama The Split begins production in the UK next week with Nicola Walker (RiverLast Tango in Halifax) leading the acclaimed ensemble cast alongside Meera Syal (Goodness Gracious Me), Stephen Mangan (Episodes), Fiona Button (Lip Service), Deborah Findlay (Leaving), Annabel Scholey (Being Human), Barry Atsma (Hector and the Search for Happiness) and Stephen Tompkinson (DCI Banks).  The original drama, with a female-led cast and crew, is from BAFTA and Primetime Emmy award-winning writer Abi Morgan (River, Suffragette, The Iron Lady, The Hour) and BAFTA-winning Executive Producer Jane Featherstone (Broadchurch, Humans, River). The six-part series is the first new original production from Featherstone’s indie Sister Pictures for BBC One, co-produced with SundanceTV, and is directed by Jessica Hobbs (Broadchurch, Apple Tree Yard, The Slap) and produced by Lucy Dyke (Black Mirror, Ripper Street). It shoots on location in London. 

The Split is an authentic, layered and witty exploration of modern marriage and the legacy of divorce through the lens of the Defoe’s – a family of female lawyers at the heart of London’s fast-paced and emotionally-charged divorce circuit.

Esteemed divorce lawyer Hannah (Nicola Walker) quits the family firm when her mother Ruth (Deborah Findlay), formidable personally and professionally, refuses her promotion. Landing at a rival firm alongside old flame Christie (Barry Atsma), Hannah navigates scandalous affairs, big-figure settlements and fraught relationship battles – coming head-to-head with Ruth and impulsive sister Nina (Annabel Scholey) in the bitter divorce of Goldie (Meera Syal) and multi-millionaire husband Davey (Stephen Tompkinson).  Meanwhile, the marriage of younger sister Rose (Fiona Button) looms on the horizon.  

When their estranged father returns after 30 years the sisters are forced to confront their past.  Facing the reality of her dad’s abandonment, and reconnecting with ‘the one who got away’ Christie, Hannah begins to question her relationships with the men in her life – including her seemingly contented marriage to the smart and affable Nathan (Stephen Mangan).

On being cast as Hannah Defoe, Nicola Walker says, “I'm delighted to be joining the Defoe family and walking in Hannah's shoes as she picks her way through other people's marriages and relationships, all the while questioning her own.”

Created and written by Abi Morgan, The Split is produced by Sister Pictures for BBC One, co-produced with SundanceTV, and was commissioned by Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama, and Charlotte Moore, Director of BBC Content. The series is executive produced by Sister Pictures Founder Jane Featherstone (Broadchurch, Humans, River), creator Abi Morgan (River, Suffragette, The Hour), director Jessica Hobbs (Broadchurch, Apple Tree Yard, The Slap) and Lucy Richer for the BBC, with Lucy Dyke (Black Mirror, Ripper Street) producing.

BBC Worldwide is handling international distribution.

BBC Announce Giri/Haji

From Joe Barton, the writer of BAFTA winning Our World War and Humans, comes an original eight-part series about a middle-aged Tokyo detective (Kenzo) who travels to London in search of his wayward younger brother (Yuto). Once thought dead, Yuto is now believed to be posing as a Yakuza gangster in London and wanted for the murder of a Japanese businessman there.

Kenzo is a lonely and driven man. His honour, his family’s well-being, and the fragile peace between the warring gangs back home, rest on him finding Yuto and returning him to Tokyo. Yet, despite the pressures of home, a mis-fit family of lonely Londoners forms around Kenzo. There’s Rodney, a half Japanese rent boy with a wicked sense of humour, and Sarah, a forensic specialist with secrets of her own. Torn between two cities, and an increasingly conflicted sense of self, Kezo wrestles with questions of guilt, duty, love and shame.

Giri/Haji is a dark, character-driven crime story which cuts between London and Tokyo, exploring the butterfly effect between the two cities, and asks - how do we live with our actions when the prisms they’re viewed through can seem to change so drastically depending on where we are or who we talk to?

Joe Barton, says: “I'm incredibly excited to be teaming up with Sister Pictures to tell this story and bring these characters to life. We want to make something that's really ambitious and unique and the BBC and Netflix feels like the perfect place to do that at the moment.”

Jane Featherstone, Executive Producer and Founder of Sister Pictures, said: “From the first moment Joe Barton spoke about his idea for Giri/Haji I was hooked because this series gives us an opportunity to examine our own culture and morality through the eyes of a foreigner, and combines fascinating characters, glorious wit and visual flair to tell a compelling and constantly twisting crime story. Sister is beyond thrilled to be making Giri/Haji for the BBC and Netflix, both of whom are wonderful partners.”

Giri/Haji has been commissioned by Piers Wenger and Charlotte Moore for BBC One, and Elizabeth Bradley and Alex Sapot for Netflix, and is a Sister Pictures production. Executive Producers are Jane Featherstone, Chris Fry and Joe Barton for Sister Pictures, and Piers Wenger for the BBC. Giri/Haji will make its world premiere on BBC One and Netflix will stream the series globally outside of the UK.

Sister Pictures lands debut ITV drama

Sheridan-Smith-Wallpapers-01.jpg

Jane Featherstone’s indie Sister Pictures has landed its first ITV commission - a high-stakes drama series starring Sheridan Smith.

Created by screenwriting newcomer Mark Marlow, Clean Break will follow the story of a cleaning lady who struggles to maintain her life as a devoted mother after becoming addicted to online gambling.

Sam’s world is thrown into disarray after she discovers access to lucrative stock market information and struggles to navigate the dangerous world of insider trading.

The 6 x 60-minute series was commissioned by ITV head of drama Polly Hill and will be executive produced by Featherstone and Chris Fry.

It will be directed by Lewis Arnold, who developed the drama alongside Marlow, and will be filmed in autumn this year.

Hill said she was “delighted” to have had the opportunity to commission Marlow’s first drama. “It’s such a wonderful script that finds real humour and joy in the human struggle to survive,” she said.

Featherstone added that she was proud to be making a drama about “contemporary Britain” with “a strong and complicated female lead character.”

“It’s also enormously gratifying that this comes from an exceptional brand new voice, Mark, and a brilliant up and coming director, Lewis Arnold,” she said. “Expect it to be moving, funny and surprising.”

Sister Pictures was established by Featherstone last summer and has since picked up commissions from BBC1 for The Split and Channel 4 comedy The Bisexual.

Sister Pictures options The Power

Jane Featherstone’s indie Sister Pictures has picked up the rights to Naomi Alderman’s sci-fi novel The Power.

The fledgling indie fought off competition from 10 other bidders to secure the author’s fourth novel, which was published by Penguin in October.

Sister acquired the rights from Georgina Ruffhead at David Higham Associates.

The Power is set in a fictitious world where women gain the power to electrocute people at will and explores what would happen if they were able to cause pain and destruction.

The series will be written by Alderman and developed by Sister’s Katie Carpenter. Alderman, Featherstone and Naomi de Pear will executive produce.

Alderman said the series would “expand” on the stories told in the novel.

“Jane’s track record, and her commitment to excellence in writing speak for themselves, and Sister Pictures’ deep understanding of the book impressed me hugely,” she added. “There probably won’t be another novel, but there are definitely so many more stories to tell than I had room for in the book.”

Featherstone described Alderman as “one of the boldest and most interesting authors of our time”.

“The Power is a story of our times, clever, funny, important and original, it asks us to consider a world where the shifting balances of power create a new and dangerous dynamic,” she said.

 

 

Sister Pictures opens comedy label

Jane Featherstone’s fledgling indie Sister Pictures has launched a “naughty” authored comedy label run by Flowers producer Naomi de Pear

Hootenanny will co-produce the second series of Kudos’ C4 comedy drama Flowers, which has been handed a 6 x 30-minute renewal, as well as Iranian-American film director Desiree Akhavan’s The Bisexual for Channel 4.

Former Kudos development producer De Pear joined the Liz Murdoch-backed indie in June as an exec producer. She will continue in this role in addition to heading up Hootenanny.

Will Sharpe’s Flowers was renewed by deputy head of comedy Nerys Evans and head of comedy and acting head of drama Phil Clarke, and NBC Universal’s US streaming service Seeso. The stripped comedy drama, which starred Olivia Coleman, entertained 938,000 (5%) in a 10pm slot in April..

Featherstone said Hootenanny added a new dimension to the business, with its focus on authored comedy.

“It’s not every day you find a creative relationship that is stimulating, improving and hugely fun, but with the brilliant Naomi de Pear I have just that,” she added. “It’s not an accident she is our first senior creative hire at Sister – a brave, strong and passionate producer, Naomi’s taste in writers and talent is peerless.

De Pear called Sister Pictures a “raw and passionate” outfit with “massive ambitions”.

“Hootenanny will be a home for honest, naughty and unusual pieces. Comedy is an important form, not an entertaining distraction and I believe in its ability to anarchically play with expectation,” she added.

“Initially my focus will be to work closely with writers on authored comedies that break the mould and have something to say.”

Channel 4 commissions new comedy series The Bisexual

The Bisexual is a painfully hilarious look at the difference of dating men and women from the perspective of a person who finds herself doing both. It’s an honest look at the last taboo, bisexuality and what it means to refuse to compromise on what you want.

New Yorker Leila (Akhavan) is feeling lost in London. Recently part of an uber-cool power couple, she’s now split from girlfriend Sadie and is struggling to adjust. Moving in with a ‘stranger off the internet’ she soon discovers she’s swapped her luxe old life (think: high quality condiments, plus a girlfriend who sorted all of the Life Admin) for a house-share with Gabe, a British guy who’s only ever other female ‘flat-mate’ was his mum. Gabe doesn’t know any lesbians and Leila’s not got too much experience of hanging out with heterosexuals - their worlds collide in deeply awkward and revealing ways as he becomes her unlikely wingman and helps her to navigate her new life dating men.

Offering an outsider’s view of Britain, The Bisexual is brimming with weird and wonky slices of urban life only apparent to those living on a temporary work visa, struggling to keep up with the discrepancy between what the English say versus how they actually feel. Leila is part brave, part reckless, 100% shameless and is embarking on a romantic Choose Your Own Adventure, trudging through the hell of dating - gay and straight.

The Bisexual was commissioned for Channel 4 by Nerys Evans, Deputy Head of Comedy, who said: “We are thrilled to be working with Desiree on her series The Bisexual. She has such a brilliantly unique viewpoint on finding love in your 30s. We love her candid observations, both on being an outsider in a strange city as well as the sexual politics encountered when you are neither straight nor gay. She’s honest, authentic and brilliantly funny in her delivery.”

Desiree Akhavan said ''Getting to play in the sandbox with such intelligent collaborators at Sister Pictures and Channel 4 is an absolute dream come true. They're the perfect partners in crime for a taboo sex comedy. And by that I mean they're all perverts."

Naomi de Pear, Executive Producer, said: “Desiree has got the kind of sureness of voice as a writer and director that’s rare in its honesty and hilarity. The Bisexual will be a shamelessly raw and questioning look at how people are exposed through their sex and relationships and the new rules, pitfalls and prejudices around that.”

The Bisexual is written by Desiree Akhavan and Cecilia Frugiuele (Appropriate Behaviour) and is being made by Naomi de Pear (Flowers) within Sister Pictures. It was commissioned by Nerys Evans, Deputy Head of Comedy and Phil Clarke, Acting Head of Drama & Head of Comedy for Channel 4.

The Split – a new original drama series from acclaimed BAFTA and Primetime Emmy award-winning screenwriter Abi Morgan and Sister Pictures

From BAFTA and Primetime Emmy award-winning writer Abi Morgan (River, Suffragette, The Hour) and BAFTA winning executive producer Jane Featherstone (Broadchurch, River, Humans) comes The Split, a new original drama series for BBC ONE produced by Sister Pictures.

The Split examines the fast paced circuit of high-powered female divorce lawyers through the lens of three sisters - Hannah, Nina and the youngest, Rose. Hannah and Nina are leading divorce and family law lawyers working for rival firms, whilst Rose is still searching for her place in life.

Creator and writer Abi Morgan said: “As Robin Williams once said 'Divorce is expensive…Like ripping your heart out through your wallet.’ The Split exposes the complex realities of high end divorce and broken marriage through female divorce lawyers and sisters embattled and bound by their own troubled past. I am delighted to be working with the aptly named Sister Pictures, continuing the creative partnership Jane Featherstone and I built together on Tsunami, The Hour and River. I can’t think of a better home for it than with Charlotte Moore and Lucy Richer and am delighted to bring this lively and unseen world to the BBC.”   

The Split is set in London, the divorce capital of the world, where competition for clients is fierce. Over the course of the series personal and professional lives intertwine as we encounter a surprising array of cases, scandalous affairs and big figure settlements in a drama that examines the very fabric of 21st century marriage, the meaning of commitment and the nature of the ever-changing idea of family.

Jane Featherstone, Executive Producer and Founder of Sister Pictures, said: “I couldn’t be happier that Sister Pictures’ first greenlight is a fabulous Abi Morgan series for BBC1. The Split will be an emotional and entertaining exploration of love, marriage and divorce with Abi bringing her trademark wit, insight and truth to our two brilliant and strong women fighting to try and work out how to survive modern life.”   

Charlotte Moore, Director of BBC Content, said: “Abi Morgan’s contemporary new series will invite BBC One viewers into an entertaining new world bringing a fresh tone to the channel. I'm excited to be working with Abi and Jane once again and giving Sister Pictures their first commission."

The Split, created and written by Abi Morgan, will be produced by Sister Pictures for BBC ONE. The series will be executive produced by Sister Pictures Founder Jane Featherstone, creator Abi Morgan, and Lucy Richer for the BBC. Further production details will be announced in due course.