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Sky made announcements this morning about three upcoming series, and it’s a given that one will screen in the US. But there’s more besides Sky dramas coming up.

Brit TV News Bits

Without any further ado…

Fortitude Season 2Fortitude: Series 3 (Final)

Horror-sci-fi-mystery drama series Fortitude is returning for a final four-part miniseries to complete the story of the crazy, bloody, and murderous goings-on in the Arctic town that had been called “the safest place on Earth” in Series 1.

Dennis Quaid (Far from Heaven) and Richard Dormer (Rellik) are reprising their respective roles as fisherman Michael Lennox and Fortitude sheriff Dan Anderssen, a man who’s not quite himself in the Series 2 finale (ahem).

(Spoilers follow if you haven’t watched the second season yet.)

Series 3 picks up where Series 2 left off,  with the killing of Governor Munk (Ken Stott, The Hobbit trilogy) hanging over the town. Two new police officers arrive in Fortitude from Oslo to investigate the crime, and they soon learn the townspeople have more than a murder to overcome…

Other cast members returning to the series include Sienna Guillory (Stan Lee’s Lucky Man), Luke Treadaway (Ordeal by Innocence), Alexandra Moen (Dickensian), Mia Jexen (Maigret), and Bjorn Hlynur Haraldsson (Trapped). Sky will announce new cast members at a later date.

Fortitude: Series 3 begins filming later this year and will transmit on Sky Atlantic and streaming service NOW TV in the UK & Ireland, plus Sky Atlantic in Italy, Germany, and Austria. For viewers in the US, it is probable that the final season will be released as an Amazon Original series on Prime Video. Stay tuned for confirmation about this.

Helen MirrenHelen Mirren Returns to Telly as Catherine the Great

Oscar®, Golden Globes®, Primetime Emmy®, and BAFTA Awards winner Helen Mirren (The Queen, Prime Suspect) will play the lead role in Catherine the Great, a four-part drama that delves into the politically-tumultuous and sexually-charged court of the most powerful female monarch in history.

This is the third commission from Sky and HBO’s high-end global drama partnership (the first being Chernobyl and the second a gangland thriller with the working title of Gangs of London).

Said Mirren about the role:

“I am very excited by the possibility of embodying a woman from history who grabbed and then wielded great power. She rewrote the rules of governance by a woman, and succeeded to the extent of having the word Great attached to her name, Catherine the Great…”

Catherine the Great wielded supreme power as Empress of Russia for more than three decades in the 18th century and was the definition of the modern woman — strong-minded, independent, brilliantly intelligent, and sexually liberated.

The miniseries, a story of obsessive love, will follow Catherine towards the end of her reign and her passionate affair with Grigory Potemkin. Amid scandal, intrigue, and immense conflict, and unable to publicly marry, the famously promiscuous pair develop a unique and devoted relationship, overcoming their adversaries and together shaping Russia as we know it today.

Filming is slated to start later this year.

A production of Origin Pictures and New Pictures, Catherine the Great is written by Nigel Williams (Elizabeth I), directed by BAFTA and Emmy® Award winner Philip Martin (The Crown), and produced by Jules Hussey (Hooten & the Lady). The executive producers are David M. Thompson (Woman in Gold) for Origin Pictures, Charlie Pattinson (Elizabeth I) for New Pictures, Helen Mirren, and Philip Martin.

Catherine the Great will be shown on Sky Atlantic and streaming service NOW TV in the UK and Ireland in 2019, and on Sky Atlantic in Italy, Germany, Austria, and Spain. The miniseries will air on HBO in the US and HBO Canada in Canada. Stay tuned for updates.

(Photo of Helen Mirren courtesy of Dick Thomas Johnson, CC BY 2.0)

Sean Bean, Adrian Lester, Phoebe Fox & Malachi Kirby Star in Curfew

There’s a new street race drama coming to UK (and hopefully US) viewers called Curfew, and the ensemble cast drama series is headed by Sean Bean (Sean Bean! Broken), Adrian Lester (Riviera), Phoebe Fox (Close to the Enemy), and Malachi Kirby (Roots).

The series follows the story of ordinary people competing in the world’s fastest, most furious, illegal night-time street race, with drivers going head to head in the ultimate contest. Desperate for their own reasons, the challengers risk everything as they speed through the night from London to northernmost Scotland in their pimped-out, weaponized vehicles to win the ultimate prize: freedom from the totalitarian government curfew that controls their lives. (1984 meets Fast & Furious?)

Joining the four leads in the eight-part drama are Robert Glenister (Hustle), Aimee-Ffion Edwards (Peaky Blinders), Rose Williams (Reign), Elijah Rowen (Vikings), and Guz Khan (Borderline). Additional cast members will be announced soon.

This Sky Original Production, from Tiger Aspect Productions in association with Moonage Pictures, is written and executive produced by Matthew Read (Pusher). Will Gould and Frith Tiplady executive produce the drama series for Tiger Aspect Productions, and Colm McCarthy (Peaky Blinders) directs.

Curfew will begin filming later this year and will be available exclusively on Sky One and streaming service NOW TV in the UK in 2019. It’s early days yet, too soon to know if the show will have a home in the US, so stay tuned.

Beyond the Sky programs…

The Little Drummer GirlThe Little Drummer Girl

The cast is shaping up for the television adaptation of the John le Carré novel The Little Drummer Girl, the follow-up to the brilliant BBC/AMC miniseries The Night Manager (which is probably returning to telly with a second season).

The latest addition is two-time Oscar® nominee Michael Shannon (Nocturnal Animals, Revolutionary Road). He joins the previously-announced Florence Pugh (King Lear) and newly-minted Golden Globes® and Primetime Emmy® Awards winner Alexander Skarsgård (Big Little Lies, True Blood).

Shannon will play Kurtz, an Israeli spymaster who orchestrates an intricate and high-stakes plot that involves Becker (Skarsgård), his Israeli intelligence officer colleague. Unbeknownst to actress Charlie (Pugh), Becker begins entangling the unwitting young woman in the plot while she’s on holiday in Greece.

Set in the late 1970s against the backdrop of rising tensions in the Middle East, The Little Drummer Girl weaves a thrilling story of espionage and intrigue, of love and betrayal.

The six-part espionage thriller will screen on BBC One in the UK and AMC in the US. Stay tuned for updates.

(Image of The Little Drummer Girl © Penguin Books)

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Brit TV News Bits: Fortitude, Helen Mirren, Little Drummer Girl & Sean Bean