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Mip TV picks: best of British shows

Blog
09 April 2015

The MipTV international programme sales market kicks off in Cannes this month (13-16 April).

As ever, there will be a significant UK contingent at the market, touting the best shows and formats made by British producers to international broadcasters. Up for grabs is a slice of the estimated £1.3bn that the UK generates each year from selling its television shows around the world.

Here, Televisual names its top Mip picks – the British produced shows that will be launched in Cannes that look set to generate strong interest from international buyers. They range from buzz dramas like Humans and Safe House, through to factual such as Bangkok Airport, comedy including The Delivery Man and entertainment formats like Prized Apart.
 
1. Safe House
Producer: Eleventh Hour Films
Broadcaster: ITV1
Distributor: All3Media International
Directed by Marc Evans (Hinterland, Collision), Safe House tells the story of a married couple who turn their guest house in the remote Lake District into a police safe house. Their first guests are a family at great risk, pursued by a violent man with an unknown agenda. Starring Christopher Eccleston, Marsha Thomason and Paterson Joseph, it’s billed as a compelling ‘event’ thriller, delivering a fresh take on the investigative crime genre. All3Media EVP of marketing Rachel Glaister says Evans has done a brilliant job directing Safe House. “There is a real buzz about this show overseas…and we are expecting a string of sales.”

2. Prized Apart
Producer Electric Ray
Broadcaster BBC1
Distributor  Sony Pictures Television
Prized Apart is a new primetime adventure game show for BBC1, filmed on location and in a UK studio. The show sees 10 men and women battle it out overseas in tough physical and mental challenges, in the hope of winning a life changing prize. Each week, the bottom placed contestants are flown back to the UK, to a studio hanger where their partners await. The partners must keep their loved ones in the competition by answering a set of questions in a head-to-head round against the other partners. If they succeed, their loved ones will get back on the plane to continue the game. Jane Dockery, SVP International Distribution, Formats, Sony Pictures Television, said: “Prized Apart is an adventure game show - a brand new genre that the market hasn’t seen before. Mark Linsey, Controller of Entertainment at the BBC, who commissioned the show last year, described it as a potential “game changer”. We’re hugely excited about this title.”

3. The Delivery Man
Production company: Monicker Pictures
Broadcaster: ITV1
Distributor: DRG
A comedy following a male midwife making his way in a woman's world, Delivery Man stars Darren Boyd and airs on ITV after a successful pilot last year.  Noel Hedges executive vice president of content at DRG, said: “Delivery Man is British comedy at its best: fantastic writing and acting from top comedy talent, a central fish out of water story running through it that is universal  coupled with hilarious physical comedy.  It's comedy for a broad audience no matter which territory.”

4. Humans
Producer: Kudos
Broadcaster: Channel 4, AMC
Distributor: Endemol Shine International
Humans is a new drama written by Sam Vincent and Jonathan Brackley (Spooks: The Greater Good) set in a parallel present where the latest must-have gadget for any busy family is a ‘Synth’ – a highly-developed robotic servant eerily similar in appearance to humans. When one of them joins the Hawkins family, the line between human and machine increasingly blurs. Billed as sinister, thrilling and packed full of emotion, Humans explores the rapidly evolving relationship between humanity and technology and asks what does it really mean to be “human”? Cathy Payne: CEO of Endemol Shine International, said: “British drama offers innovative storytelling that, packaged with a strong cast, has captured the imagination of television broadcasters and platforms worldwide. The British standard run has created the new term – limited series”
 
5. Home Fires
Producer: ITV Studios
Broadcaster: ITV1
Distributor: ITV Studios Global Entertainment
Starring Francesca Annis and Samantha Bond, Home Fires follows a group of women in a rural Cheshire Community with the shadow of World War II casting a dark cloud over their lives. As the conflict takes hold, and separates the women from their husbands, fathers, sons and brothers, the characters find themselves under increasing pressures. Ruth Clarke, EVP, global content & co-productions, ITV Studios Global Entertainment said: "The impact of World War II touched the whole world, the events on the home front are less well known but no less relevant to a global audience. Home Fires is a fascinating story of how an extraordinary group of women kept a rural community together during a dark time.”

6. The Ark
Production Company: Red Planet Pictures, in association with Lip Sync Productions and Great Point Media
Broadcaster: BBC1
Distributor: Content Television
This one-off 90-min special is a retelling of the biblical story of Noah and The Ark. It’s billed by distributor Content as “a timeless saga of family and faith which has a resonance across all cultures.” It certainly comes with a strong pedigree.  It’s produced by Red Planet, the team behind Death in Paradise, with scripts from Tony Jordan, writer of Life on Mars and Hustle, and a cast led by David Threlfall (Shameless) and Joanne Whalley (The Borgias). Greg Phillips, President, Content Television, said: “There’s a strong demand in the international market for stand out one-off event features – content which broadcasters can create a real buzz about – and with the UK’s BBC airing the drama just before MIP, we’re expecting interest to be high.”

7. 7 Deadly Sins of the Animal Kingdom
Producer: Back2Back Productions
Broadcaster: Discovery & Sky 3D
Distributor: Sky Vision
Actor Richard E Grant fronts this exploration of the seven deadly sins as seen through the perspective of the animal kingdom. For humans envy, lust, wrath, sloth, greed, pride and gluttony are sins – associated with shameful behaviour. But in the animal kingdom they are simply survival mechanisms. Leona Connell, head of global sales at Sky Vision said: “This series offers a truly fascinating and original way to approach wildlife programming which really pushes the boundaries, all in glorious 3D.”

8. Top Coppers
Production Company: Roughcut
UK Broadcaster: BBC3
Distributor: FremantleMedia International
Top Coppers is a new, gag-fuelled character comedy following the adventures of cops John Mahogany and Mitch Rust in the fictional world of Justice City, as they attempt to rid it of its deranged criminal underworld. It stars John Kearns (2014 Edinburgh Comedy Award-Winner) and Steen Raskopoulos (2014 Edinburgh Best Newcomer nominee). Sarah Doole, director of global drama at FremantleMedia said the series features some of the newest stars on the UK comedy circuit, adding: “Roughcut has a brilliant track record for creating comedy that travels.”
 
9. Banished

Producer RSJ Films/Seesaw Films
Broadcaster BBC2
Distributor BBC Worldwide
This character-led drama from Jimmy McGovern (The Street, Cracker) is based on the lives of the inhabitants of the first penal colony in Sydney and stars Russell Tovey, Myanna Buring, Julian Rhind-Tutt and David Wenham.  Paul Dempsey, president of global markets at BBC Worldwide said: “Banished has so much to offer international buyers and is a key title for BBC Worldwide. Even though it is set in 18th Century, it’s also a contemporary and very relatable story about friendship, betrayal and the fight for survival. This is fantastic original, big budget British drama, shot in a stunning setting and has real potential for a returning series.”

10. A Cook Abroad
Producer BBC Productions
Broadcaster BBC2
Agent DCD Rights
This 6x60-min BBC2 series sees six of the UK’s best known cooks take viewers on a culinary tour of the world’s most inspiring food cultures. Each travels to a different country to track down how history, geography and culture have shaped what we eat today. Hairy Biker Dave Myers uncovers Egypt’s 2,000 year old baking tradition and Tony Singh travels to India to explore the breadth of Punjabi cuisine. Other chefs include Rick Stein on Australia, Masterchef’s Monica Galetti on France, John Torode in Argentina; and Rachel Khoo in  Malaysia.
 Rick Barker, head of sales at DCD Rights said: “The unique combination of travel and food is an appealing mix for international broadcasters. Broadcasters are moving away from studio based cookery shows and are keen for their audience to get an authentic feel for cooking, local flavours, culture and the landscape.”

11. Bangkok Airport
Producer Keo Films
Broadcaster BBC3
Agent Hat Trick International
With access to all aspects of the airport, this Keo Films 6x30-min series introduces the quirky Thai characters and international travellers passing through Bangkok airport. The location proves a hotbed of stories as young tourists run into trouble overseas – from run-ins with the tourist police to treatment at the on-site medical centre and missed flights. Sarah Tong, director of sales at HTI, says Bangkok Airport has already sold to Australia, Denmark, Norway and Asia, and is confident it will be a strong seller throughout the rest of Europe and ROW. “One of the big selling points is that it’s highly entertaining with lots of amusing and quirky characters. Plus it’s hour long episodes, and there’s six of them – rather than the 2 or 3 that are often commissioned in the UK but make international sales a little harder.”

12. Ainsley Eats the Streets   
Production Company: Snap TV
Broadcaster – More4/Channel4
Agent TCB Media Rights
Ainsley Harriott presents this 6x60-min street food series, uncovering the local cooking away from the tourist traps of some of the world’s biggest and best known cities. TCB managing director Paul Heaney says Ainsley is a known international 'face' who brings the popular street food sub-genre to life and creates his own slant on well-established local delicacies, and at the same time as finding out more about the cities themselves. “We think there's a need for well-made food travelogue series across the world. Australia and Asia have already bought the series before completion, we expect more to come.’”

13. Code of a Killer
Production company: World Productions
Broadcaster: ITV1
Distributor: Endemol Shine International
From the director of Broadchurch and the producers of Line of Duty, Code of a Killer tells the true story of how DNA fingerprinting was first used to crack a murder case. Set in 1984 in Leicestershire, its stars John Simm as a brilliant scientist and and David Threlfall as a progressive police detective who unite to create the biggest advance in twentieth century criminal investigation. Code of a Killer is written by Michael Crompton (Kidnap & Ransom) directed by James Strong (Broadchurch) and produced by World Productions (Line of Duty, The Bletchley Circle, The Great Train Robbery)



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