Filming has resumed in Romania on Slim Film and TV’s adaptation of Jules Verne classic, Around The World In 80 Days, starring David Tennant as Phileas Fogg.

Production of the eight-part series will be spread across locations and studios in Romania and South Africa over a five-month period.

Joining Tennant are French actor Ibrahim Koma (OSS 177, Wulu) as Fogg’s irrepressible valet, Passepartout and Leonie Benesch (The Crown, Babylon Berlin) as determined and headstrong journalist, Abigail ‘Fix’ Fortescue.

Also starring as series regulars are Jason Watkins (Des, The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies) as Fix’s father and newspaper owner, Bernard Fortescue and Peter Sullivan (Poldark, The Borgias) as Fogg’s sceptical childhood friend, Nyle Bellamy with whom Fogg makes an outrageous wager to circumnavigate the globe in eighty days.

Guest actors joining the cast include Lindsay Duncan (A Discovery of Witches, Le Weekend), Dolly Wells (Dracula, The Pursuit of Love), Richard Wilson (Merlin, One Foot in the Grave), Faical Elkihel (The Spy, Prison Break), Anthony Flanagan (The Terror, Gentleman Jack), Gary Beadle (Small Axe, Patrick Melrose) and Giovanni Scifoni (DOC – Nelle Tue Mani, La Mia Jungla).

The series, adapted by a team of writers led by Ashley Pharoah (Life on Mars, The Living and the Dead) and Caleb Ranson (Child of Mine, Heartless), is a truly international drama, helmed by film, television and music video director Steve Barron (The Durrells, Treasure Island) with Charles Beeson (The Mentalist, Supernatural) also directing a number of episodes. The producer is Peter McAleese (The Gunman, Harley & The Davidsons).

Around The World In 80 Days is a Slim Film + Television and Federation co-production for the European Alliance formed by France Télévisions, ZDF and RAI, with additional co-production partners, Peu Communications in South Africa, MASTERPIECE in the US, Be-FILMS and RTBF in Belgium and associate produced by Daro Film. France Télévisions introduced the project to their Alliance broadcasting partners; Germany’s ZDF and Italy’s RAI, while Seven West Media have backed production and will broadcast the drama in Australia. The series has been acquired by BBC in the UK and RTS in Switzerland.

Around The World In 80 Days is executive produced by Simon Crawford Collins for Slim, Lionel Uzan and Pascal Breton for Federation, Winnie Serite for Peu Communications and Susanne Simpson for MASTERPIECE.

Nathalie Biancolli (France Télévisions) said: “We are very delighted to announce the re-start of filming on Around The World In 80 Days with our new American partner Masterpiece PBS who join France Televisions and The European Alliance (ZDF and RAI) in this incredible adventure. I really would like to thank our production partners Federation Entertainment and Slim Film + Television who did a fantastic job putting in place all the health and safety requirements which allow us to re-start safely and protect our talent.”

Simon Crawford-Collins (Slim Film + Television) said: “We are over the moon to be re- commencing filming on Around The World In 80 Days, having gathered such an exciting and truly international cast, led by David, Ibrahim and Leonie. This project is such a challenging and ambitious series to put together so it has required a huge amount of support on all fronts to pull it off. We couldn’t have achieved it without our wonderful production team, our stellar cast, our super supportive broadcasters and financiers, the inventiveness of our directors and the ingenuity of our wonderful writing team led by Ashley Pharoah.”

Pascal Breton (Federation) added: “We’re delighted that the combination of a legendary work by Jules Verne and The Alliance of public broadcasters France Télévisions, ZDF and RAI has created this year’s most ambitious European series, already sold to the BBC in the UK, Seven in Australia, MASTERPIECE PBS in the US and in several other territories. We’re also closing negotiations soon with additional international platforms.”

Susanne Simpson (MASTERPIECE) said: “Who doesn’t love a great adventure story? And with David Tennant heading a terrific cast, this new series will be a thrill for MASTERPIECE fans.”

The series benefits from the support of the IDC (Industrial Development Corporation) of South Africa, and from the Creative Europe Program MEDIA.

Federation Entertainment will handle distribution rights to the series.

The production team are working closely with local governments in Romania and South Africa and are adhering to guidelines regarding filming at this time.

Jon Creamer

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