LONDON — Russian love story Doctor Zhivago, originally banned in Russia, is returning to its roots in TV movie form thanks to a deal struck by U.K. distribber Granada International with Channel One (formerly ORT), the country’s largest TV station.
“Doctor Zhivago,” starring Sam Neil (“Jurassic Park, “The Piano) and rising stars Hans Matheson (“Still Crazy,” “Mojo”), Keira Knightley (“Bend It Like Beckham”,” “The Hole”) and Alexandra Maria Lara (“Napoleon”) is skedded to air on the web this summer. Drama is a co-production between Granada, WGBH Boston and Evision, a joint venture between Mediaset and Kirch.
Boris Paternak’s award winning work, set against the social turmoil of the Russian Revolution, was smuggled into the West for publication and was adapted for the big screen by David Lean almost 40 years ago.
“This is one of the first sales of British drama into the former CIS, post Perestroika,” said Nadine Nohr, managing director of Granada International. “Previously, the market operated largely on a barter basis, but it is now a strongly emerging market. The deal with Channel One could not have been struck without the approval of the Pasternak estate.”
Granada has made significant inroads in Russia licensing the contemporary version of Agatha Christie’s “Sparkling Cyanide,” together with a package of classic Christie murder mystery dramas to TV Channel Russia (formerly RTR).