Pic spinoff a natural selection for net

The BBC hopes to repeat the international box office success of its theatrical documentary “Deep Blue,” based on TV skein “Blue Planet,” with a new natural history pic tentatively titled “Earth.”

The new movie is a spinoff of “Planet Earth,” one of the tentpoles of BBC1’s winter/spring sked unveiled Tuesday, which the BBC said is the biggest-budget series its Natural History Unit has ever made.

Pic is masterminded by Alastair Fothergill, exec producer of “Planet Earth,” and is expected to bow at the Cannes Film Festival in 2007, with a general release that fall.

Project is being made by the BBC with Gaumont in France and Gaga in Japan.

“It will be completely different to the TV series and have an entirely new script,” Fothergill said.

The 11-part “Planet Earth,” co-produced by Discovery and NHK, reps the first time the BBC has shot an entire natural history skein in high-definition. As HD is not yet available in the U.K., however, domestic viewers will be unable to experience the program’s full impact.

Narrated by David Attenborough, “Planet Earth” aims to present a definitive look at the diversity of our planet.

Other highlights of BBC1’s winter/spring schedule are two 90-minute film dramas from acclaimed writer Stephen Poliakoff, “Friends and Crocodiles,” “Gideon’s Daughter” and the second series of the revived “Doctor Who,” starring David Tennant in the lead role.

Overall, the pubcaster has invested a lot of coin in drama. One of the most eccentric is “Life on Mars,” the story of what happens when a young detective is transported back to 1973.

“Life on Mars” will be made by Kudos, producers of “Spooks” (shown in the U.S. as “MI5″) and “Hustle.”

Meanwhile, “The Impressionists” is a drama doc filmed in France that examines the personalities of artists Monet, Cezanne, Degas, Renoir and Manet.

Hoping to replicate the impact of “Strictly Come Dancing” — reformatted as “Dancing With the Stars” in the U.S. — is “Just the Two of Us,” which pairs some of Blighty’s best-known singers with celebrities for a series of live duets.

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