Series to shoot in HD

MADRID — BBC Worldwide has inked its first-ever co-production deal in Spain, teaming with Jose Maria and Miguel Morales’ Wanda Films to produce the six-part series “Earth’s Great Events.”

Turning on the Earth’s most stunning natural events and what makes them happen, the one-hour episodes will feature Botswana’s great flood, the greening of Africa’s Serengeti plains and the return of ocean salmon to British Columbia’s rivers.

Set for production shortly, skein will be produced for the Beeb by the BBC Natural History Unit. It will be ready for delivery in winter 2009, looking toward an early 2010 primetime broadcast, said a BBC Worldwide rep. Series will shoot in high definition.

For the BBC, the co-production deal with Wanda marks a step up in its involvement in Spain, whose vibrant TV market has been energized by a continuing ad boom, plus the launch of two new analog broadcasters and a clutch of upstart regional webs.

“Co-productions pave the way for ever more ambitious productions,” said Claudia Danser, BBC Worldwide’s head of Spain and Portugal.

One of Spain’s top indie arthouse film producers and distributors, Wanda has taken Spanish rights to BBC pic “Deep Blue” series “Planet Earth” and, in a recent deal, its feature film spinoff “Earth.”

“But we’d like to be more involved in television and are very interested in a long-term relationship with the BBC,” Jose Maria Morales told Daily Variety.

At the Berlin Film Festival, Wanda announced a five-to-seven film collection, “Libertadores,” to be made with Spanish pubcaster RTVE, about Latin American freedom fighters.

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