Sky and Amazon US have teamed to co-produce new drama series, Britannia, the first co-production between the two companies.

Written by Jez Butterworth (Jerusalem, Spectre), the series is produced by UK indies Neal Street Productions and Vertigo Films.

Britannia stars Kelly Reilly (True Detective, Sherlock Holmes), David Morrissey (The Walking Dead, The Hollow Crown), Zoë Wanamaker (Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, My Family) and Stanley Weber (Outlander).

The 10-part drama is set in 43AD as the Roman Imperial Army returns to crush the Celtic heart of Britannia. Britannia is shooting on location in Prague and Wales and will air on Sky 1 in the UK and Ireland and be available on Amazon Prime Video in the US in 2017. 

For Sky, Britannia joins 12 original drama series already on air or set to air over the next couple of years on Sky Atlantic and Sky 1, including The Young Pope, Hooten & The Lady, Guerrilla, Tin Star, Delicious, Riviera, Jamestown and The Last Dragonslayer, as well as returning series including Fortitude and Agatha Raisin.

In the US, Britannia adds to a growing roster of Amazon Original Series, including The Man in the High Castle, Bosch and Hand of God, as well as upcoming series Goliath, Good Girls Revolt, Sneaky Pete and Patriot.

Britannia was commissioned by Sky’s Head of Drama Anne Mensah, Commissioning Editor, Cameron Roach and Director of Sky 1, Adam MacDonald, alongside Roy Price, Vice President, Digital Video and Amazon Studios.

Vertigo Films’ James Richardson (Monsters, Bronson) will executive produce with Pippa Harris and Nicolas Brown from Neal Street Productions (Penny Dreadful, Call the Midwife) and Anne Thomopoulos (Rome, Band of Brothers). It will be produced by Star Wars’ Rick McCallum, while Jez and Tom Butterworth (Fortitude, Tin Star) will lead as writers with Richard McBrien (Spooks, Merlin). 
The international distribution rights (excluding the US) for Britannia will be handled by Sky Vision, Sky’s international production and distribution arm. WME and Sky Vision negotiated the deal with Amazon.

Commenting on the show, Jez Butterworth said: “Besides being hard, hard warriors, the Celts have a belief system which makes them almost invincible. It’s a deep, heavy magic. Last time the Romans tried to invade, the mighty Julius Caesar took one look, turned round and went straight home. Now, almost a century later, the Romans are back. I’m fascinated in what happens when gods die. When an entire, ancient faith stalls, topples, collapses – and a whole new one grows in its place. New names, new faces, to suit the new times. Here we have a war between two pantheons – the Roman gods v the Celtic gods. It’s the Heavyweight Clash of All Time, the one which most shapes who we are today. And we see it all from a human perspective, of individual survival, ambition, courage, lust, loss, revenge. All the stuff the gods have always loved us humans for the most!”

Anne Mensah, Sky’s Head of Drama said: “This is one of the most ambitious dramas we’ve ever made and one of the most exciting. Jez Butterworth has written an incredible drama that is entertaining and emotional but also asks important questions about what drives men and women to stand and fight. This is a battle for the heart of Britain like you’ve never seen before.”

Roy Price, Vice President, Digital Video and Amazon Studios, said: “We’re thrilled to be collaborating with Sky on our first series entirely produced overseas. Our customers will experience a cinematic world with bold characters anchored in a ruthless period of history.”

Staff Reporter

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