'Luther,' 'Mad Dogs' among shows being bought
PARIS — BBC Worldwide France, the Paris-based sales and distribution branch of the British pubcaster, has inked a flurry of deals across its slate.French pay TV giant Canal Plus has picked up the first two seasons of dark-edged drama “Luther” and serial “Mad Dogs.” A psychological thriller, “Luther” stars Idris Elba as a cop who investigates crime while fighting his own demons. The show has been reupped for a third season by BBC1 and airs on BBC America. “With ‘Luther,’ BBC is shaking up the codes of British crime drama because it centers on a single character who is highly charismatic, heroic but also very ambivalent,” said Sandra Petkovic, head of distribution and sales at BBC Worldwide France. “It’s not a typical cop show.” “Mad Dogs,” which bowed in February on paybox Sky One, is a four-part, black comedy-thriller turning on five old friends who reunite for a holiday in Spain that turns into a nightmare. Gallic pay TV giant Canal Plus also pre-bought the second series of “Mad Dogs,” set to be delivered in early 2012, according to Petkovic. BBC Worldwide France sold the second series of “Wallander,” which toplines Kenneth Branagh as a Swedish detective, to Arte with the Franco-German net in talks to pre-buy the third series. Arte recently acquired BBC’s serial “Occupation,” the three-parter set against the backdrop of the Iraq war. Penned by Peter Bowker, the mini-series centers on three British soldiers who struggle to adapt to life at home after participating in the invasion of Basra in 2003 and are drawn back to Iraq for different reasons. Arte will broadcast “Occupation” on Friday. Meanwhile, pubcaster channels France 4 and France 2 have snatched up the second season of “Sherlock” after the first season drew solid ratings. A contemporary take on Conan Doyle’s characters, the BBC crime series follows the adventures of detective Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson in modern-day London. France 2 also picked up John Downer’s wildlife special “Lions: Spy in the Den.” Narrated by David Attenborough, the docu follows cubs growing up into adult lions.