BritBox has announced several titles that will premiere in the US exclusively on the BBC Studios/ITV streaming service, including the next BritBox Original series, Dark Heart.
On the heels of its premiere yesterday of The Bletchley Circle: San Francisco, the first BritBox Original series, SVOD service BritBox — in furthering its commitment to the best British programming of past, present and future — will be bringing its next original drama, Dark Heart, as well as additional new and returning titles, to subscribers in the coming weeks and months.
Adapted from the “DI Staffe” crime novel series by Adam Creed, Dark Heart stars Tom Riley (Da Vinci’s Demons, The Collection, Ill Behaviour) as Detective Inspector Will ‘Staffe’ Wagstaffe, a determined, tenacious, and exceptionally good police officer, despite the fact that he’s been known to push the boundaries of what’s considered acceptable policing.
While devoting his life to his work at Leadengate police station in London, Staffe battles personal demons — haunted by the unresolved murders of his parents, which affects both his professional and private life, including his on-off romance with sometime-girlfriend Sylvie (Miranda Raison, Spotless, MI-5). Staffe’s closest relationships are with his sister Juliette (Charlotte Riley, Peaky Blinders, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell) and young nephew Harry (newcomer Joseph Teague), who stays with him when Juliette has troubles with her boyfriend.
The series consists of three two-part stories, the first and third written by Chris Lang (Unforgotten, The Tunnel) and the second written by Lang and Ben Harris (Marcella, The Musketeers).
The first story opens with the gruesome discovery of a man in his mid-thirties tied to his own bed, choked, and severely mutilated. Soon afterward, another man is attacked in a similar manner. As Staffe and his colleagues DC Josie Chancellor (Anjli Mohindra, Bancroft), DS Dave Pulford (Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, The Split), and DS Rick Johnson (Tom Brooke, Preacher) investigate, they learn the victims have more in common than the method of their murders, leading Staffe to fear these two incidents could be the start of a crime wave.
In the second story, Staffe and his team investigate the mysterious death of a young nurse on the London Underground. Forensics find a DNA link to a teenage boy missing and presumed dead for seven years, and the trail leads the detectives to the dark underbelly of London life.
And in the series finale, an online porn star is found murdered in an East London church, posed in morbid worship at the feet of the Virgin Mary. Staffe must determine if this is the work of the victim’s stalker or if the answer lies in her complicated and tumultuous personal life. As Staffe digs for the truth, his own life spins dangerously out of control.
Produced by Silverprint Pictures, Dark Heart features guest stars that include Claire Goose (The Coroner, Waking The Dead), Alex Carter (Emmerdale, Hollyoaks), Clare Foster (Taboo, Sherlock), and Paul Kaye (Game of Thrones, Three Girls).
Created and written by Kate Brooke (Mr Selfridge, The Making of a Lady), this crime thriller stars Sarah Parish (Broadchurch, Atlantis, Mistresses) as DCI Elizabeth Bancroft, a ruthless, courageous, and well-respected officer tortured by the dark secrets of her past.
In the four-part first season (a second has been commissioned), Bancroft, a brilliant detective who often uses dubious policing methods, is running an operation to bring down the pernicious and vicious Kamara gang. Meanwhile, Bancroft’s colleague, the ambitious fast-tracked recruit DS Katherine Stevens (Faye Marsay, Game of Thrones, The Bletchely Circle), is assigned to a particular cold case. Stevens’ investigation unwittingly disturbs the ghosts of the past, and what she unearths shakes Bancroft to her core.
Linus Roache (Vikings, Homeland, Law & Order) makes his return to British television in Bancroft, playing a widower whose wife was brutally murdered 27 years ago — an unsolved crime that Elizabeth seems to know more about than she’s letting on. However, this knowledge won’t stay buried, and it seems Bancroft will be forced to confront her demons.
Filmed on location in and around Bolton and the North West, Bancroft features Amara Karan (Stan Lee’s Lucky Man), Adrian Edmondson (War and Peace), Art Malik (Cold Feet), Kenneth Cranham (Rome), Adam Long (Happy Valley), Lee Boardman (The Five), Charles Babalola (Thirteen), and Steve Evets (Rev.).
Inside No. 9
BritBox will simulcast the BBC’s broadcast of the live, one-off Halloween special of Inside No. 9, the award-winning and critically-acclaimed dark comedy anthology series and cult hit created by and starring Steve Pemberton (The League of Gentlemen, Benidorm) and Reece Shearsmith (Chasing Shadows, Psychoville).
Details about the live episode and its guest stars (of which past ones include Anna Chancellor, Derek Jacobi, Anne Reid, Fiona Shaw, Sheridan Smith, and Jack Whitehall) haven’t been released yet, but the BBC has offered this: “As with all previous episodes of Inside No.9, this brand new 30-minute story promises to be a twisted tale which will aim to surprise, delight, unnerve and amuse in equal measure.”
Shakespeare & Hathaway: Private Investigators
Created by Paul Matthew Thompson (Vera, Father Brown) and Jude Tindall (Father Brown, Doctors), this ten-part mystery-dramedy series was the biggest drama launch for a BBC daytime series in the last five years.
It stars Mark Benton (The Halcyon, The Street, City Lights) as Frank Hathaway, a hardboiled private investigator, and Jo Joyner (EastEnders, Marley’s Ghosts, Ordinary Lies) as Lu Shakespeare, his rookie sidekick. The pair form the unlikeliest of partnerships as they investigate the secrets of the residents of rural Warwickshire, where beneath the picturesque charm lies a hotbed of mystery and intrigue. We’re talking extramarital affairs, celebrity stalkers, missing police informants, care home saboteurs, rural rednecks, murderous magicians, embezzling accountants, and abducted au pairs, not to mention blackmail, comp claims, custody cases, all-night stake-outs, and professional hits.
But this odd couple of detectives will put the world to rights as they snoop and pry. While they disagree on almost everything, together they somehow make a surprisingly effective team… although they would never admit it.
Regular and recurring cast members of Shakespeare & Hathaway includes Patrick Walshe McBride (Inspector Lewis), Amber Aga (Absentia), Tomos Eames (Spotless), Roberta Taylor (The Bill), and Asheq Akhtar (Patrick Melrose).
Guest stars include Elizabeth Berrington (Little Boy Blue), Ace Bhatti (Shetland), Karl Davies (Happy Valley), Vicki Pepperdine (Getting On), Timothy West (Bleak House), and Anna Wilson-Jones (Victoria).
The winner of five BAFTAs amongst its multiple award wins, this three-part miniseries tells the true story of three girls drawn into the frightening world of sexual exploitation, and shows how the victims were failed by the authorities that were directly responsible for their protection, and how the abuse has impacted their lives.
Molly Windsor (The Unloved) plays Holly Winshaw, who is new to Rochdale and keen to make friends and fit in. But she finds herself drawn into a world she cannot escape, despite her pleas for help — a world that is all too familiar to sexual health worker Sara Rowbotham (Maxine Peake, The Village, Silk), who has been recording and reporting cases of child abuse for years.
Written by Nicole Taylor (The C Word) and directed by Philippa Lowthrope (The Crown), Three Girls was made with the full cooperation of the victims and their families.
Costars in the drama include Jill Halfpenny (In the Club), Jason Hughes (Midsomer Murders), Paul Kaye (Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell), and Lesley Sharp (Scott & Bailey), and Ria Zmitrowicz (Mr. Selfridge) and Liv Hill (The Little Stranger) as sisters and victims Amber and Ruby Bowen.
But wait, there’s more!
BritBox is also doubling down on its “Now” offerings with the launch of the daily British breakfast news program Good Morning Britain, featuring Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid, and ITV’s This Morning, featuring Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby.
A bespoke weekly recap of the best moments and top stories from Britain’s longest running daytime show will be created and called This Morning: This Week. Combined with Good Morning Britain, these two ITV Studios productions will add nearly 300 hours of new “Now” content to the streaming service. Both shows will join the already available Question Time and Prime Minister’s Questions as part of the continued expansion of UK news and lifestyle programming on BritBox.
Also in the pipeline for returns in 2019 are the upcoming third season of the acclaimed series Mum, starring Academy Award® nominee Lesley Manville, and a second season of what will be a new incarnation of Mike Bartlett’s Trauma, which will transition into an annual anthology series.
This announcement follows the recent news about two new comedy series coming to BritBox this summer: Bliss, starring Stephen Mangan and Heather Graham, and Hold the Sunset, starring Alison Steadman and John Cleese, who marks his return as a lead actor in a television series after nearly 40 years.
Stay tuned for updates about all of the above series, including their US debut dates.
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