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BBC WORLDWIDE ANNOUNCES DRAMA CO-PRODUCTIONS WITH WGBH/MASTERPIECE FOR EMMA AND CRANFORD 2
BBC Dramas Sharpe’s Peril, Sharpe’s Challenge, Small Island, Framed and 39 Steps also slated for MASTERPIECE in 2010
New York, NY – June 25, 2009 - BBC Worldwide Sales and Distribution and WGBH today announced co-productions of two star-studded dramas: the beloved classic, Emma, and the sequel to BAFTA-winning and Emmy-nominated drama Cranford, Cranford 2. Both programs will make their U.S. premiere in early 2010 on WGBH’s MASTERPIECE CLASSIC on PBS.
Commented Susanna Pollack, SVP, Sales & Distribution and Children’s, BBC Worldwide, Americas, “Following Cranford’s success in the U.S. and UK, we are excited to be working with WGBH again to bring its sequel, Cranford 2, as well as the Jane Austen’s classical tale, Emma, to audiences next year.”
“Our viewers have been clamoring for more Jane Austen and more Judi Dench,” said MASTERPIECE executive producer Rebecca Eaton “These new productions add up to a very strong MASTERPIECE CLASSIC season in 2010.”
Emma (4 x 60)
Romola Garai (Atonement, Daniel Deronda), Sir Michael Gambon (Cranford, Gosford Park), and Jonny Lee Miller (Byron, Eli Stone, Trainspotting) star in this BBC and WGBH co-production which follows the dire consequences of Emma's failed matchmaking schemes. Michael Gambon plays Emma's affectionate, neurotic father who allows her to be mistress of their household. Jonny Lee Miller—who stars in MASTERPIECE’s Endgame, premiering in October) plays Mr. Knightley, Emma's shrewd and attractive neighbor, who provides a welcome counterpart to headstrong Emma. Fresh and funny, this perceptive adaptation by Sandy Welch (Our Mutual Friend, Jane Eyre, North and South) brings Jane Austen's comic masterpiece to life.
Cranford 2 (2 x 60)
The BAFTA-winning and Emmy-nominated drama, Cranford, starring Dame Judi Dench (Notes on a Scandal, Shakespeare in Love), Imelda Staunton (Vera Drake, Fingersmith), Francesca Annis (Jane Eyre, Reckless), and Eileen Atkins (Scenes of a Sexual Nature, Gosford Park), returns as a two-part sequel, Cranford 2. The original drama chronicled a small Cheshire market town in the early 1840s on the cusp of great change. The BBC and WGBH co-production in association with Chestermead Ltd, picks up the story in 1844. New faces coming to the close-knit town include Jonathan Pryce (Pirates of the Caribbean), Tom Hiddleston (Wallander), and Tim Curry (Spamalot). Based on the novels by Elizabeth Gaskell, Cranford 2 is written by Heidi Thomas (I Capture the Castle, Madame Bovary).
Other upcoming BBC/WGBH co-productions include Small Island and Framed, and WGBH has also acquired Sharpe’s Peril, Sharpe’s Challenge, and 39 Steps from BBC Worldwide. All are scheduled to air on MASTERPIECE CLASSIC in early 2010 on PBS.
Small Island (2 x 90)
Adapted from the award-winning 2004 novel, this mini-series stars Naomie Harris (Pirates of the Caribbean, White Teeth, 28 Days Later) as Hortense, a young ambitious Jamaican woman thrust into the grit of 1940s post-war London. A Ruby Television production in association with AL Films for BBC, coproduced with WGBH and made on location in Northern Ireland with the assistance of Northern Ireland Screen.
Framed (1 x 90)
Adapted from Frank Cottrell Boyce’s (The Last Enemy) children's novel, Framed stars Trevor Eve (Waking the Dead) as a present-day National Gallery curator who travels from London to a Welsh village to oversee the storage of priceless art. A BBC/WGBH BOSTON co-production.
Sharpe’s Peril (2 x 90)
Sharpe’s Challenge (2 x 90)
Shot entirely in India, these two installments of the award-winning series, Sharpe, star Sean Bean (Lord of the Rings, Troy, Golden Eye) as Bernard Cornwell’s title character. Sharpe’s Peril is a Celtic Films Ent./Picture Palace Films/Duke Street Films co-production in association with Harper Collins. Sharpe’s Challenge is a Celtic Films and Picture Place production.
The 39 Steps (1 x 90)
Starring Rupert Penry Jones (Persuasion, Burn Up, MI-5) as Richard Hannay, The 39 Steps begins in June 1914, London, when Hannay meets a man who claims to be a British spy—and is later killed in his apartment. When Hannay’s accused of murder, he gets and caught up in a deadly conspiracy. A BBC production.
About BBC Worldwide Sales & Distribution
BBC Worldwide Sales & Distribution is one of seven core businesses under BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm and wholly-owned subsidiary of the UK public service broadcaster, BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation). BBC Worldwide exists to maximize the value of the BBC’s assets for the benefit of the BBC, and invests in programming in return for rights. The Sales & Distribution business negotiates, sells and distributes television programs to networks and secures co-production partners, in the Americas region.
About MASTERPIECE and WGBH Boston
MASTERPIECE is presented on PBS by WGBH Boston. Rebecca Eaton is executive producer. Funding for the series is provided by public television viewers. WGBH Boston is America’s preeminent public broadcaster, producing such celebrated national PBS series as Masterpiece, Antiques Roadshow, Frontline, Nova, American Experience, Arthur, Curious George and more than a dozen other award-winning primetime, lifestyle and children’s series.
Christine Shaw Davis
Director, Communications, Americas
Senior Account Executive, MASTERPIECE