Canal Plus Spain bets on ‘Falcon’ miniseries

European co-production teams BSkyB, ZDF

MADRID — Paybox Canal Plus Spain has taken a co-production stake in international crime miniseries “Falcon.”

The four-parter, which is being produced by London-based Mammoth Screen for BSkyB, adapts two of the four crime novels featuring Seville detective Javier Falcon, written by bestselling British author Robert Wilson.

The European co-production also teams German shingle Network Movie, pubcaster ZDF and its international sales arm, ZDF Enterprises.

Helmed by Pete Travis (“Vantage Point”), “Falcon” shoots in early 2012 in Seville.

The first two episodes, based on “The Blind Man of Seville,” are written by Stephen Butchard (“House of Saddam”). They follow Falcon’s investigations into a killing that stirs memories of his father’s violent past in Tangiers and the Spanish Civil War.

The next two episodes, penned by Sarah Phelps (“Great Expectations”), adapt “The Silent and the Damned,” taking Falcon to an exclusive Seville barrio to conduct inquiries into a double suicide.

“Falcon” marks the latest step by Canal Plus Spain, a subsid of Spanish conglom Prisa, to power up its production of TV fiction; “Que fue de Jorge Sanz?” and “Crematorium,” both made in 2010, were enthusiastically received by Spanish critics.

Following Prisa’s move to extend re-payment of E 2.92 billion ($3.8 billion) debt to at least 2014, Canal Plus Spain is expected to up spending on programming.

“Canal Plus has two ways of increasing income: By improving revenue per subscriber or raising the number of subscribers. Given the tough market economic conditions in Spain, the second strategy is more likely,” said one analyst.

Canal Plus will air “Falcon” next year.