LONDON — BBC Worldwide, Polish broadcaster TVP, Poland’s Apple Film Production and the U.K.’s Red Planet Pictures have inked a pact to produce World War I drama “The Passing Bells.”
Top British showrunner Tony Jordan, best known for the U.K.’s leading soap “EastEnders,” con-man drama “Hustle” and time-shifting police series “Life on Mars,” has penned the miniseries, which will shoot in Poland.
The drama tells the story of World War I through the eyes of two ordinary young men who enlist in a war they expect to be over in months. As the conflict unfolds, so do the boys’ stories as they grow up amid the horror of war, and find love.
Jordan, executive producer and managing director of Red Planet, said: “This is a hugely important project for British television in this, the centenary of the First World War, a conflict that shaped Europe as we know it today. It was always going to be vital to find a meaningful European partner for this project and working with TVP is something Red Planet is very excited about.”
Apple Film, led by Dariusz Jablonski, will act as the Polish co-producer for TVP. BBC Worldwide is the global distributor.
This is the second collaboration between BBC Worldwide, TVP and Apple Film, following their co-production of thriller “Spies of Warsaw,” a tale of intrigue, romance and betrayal set during the years leading up to World War II, which screened last year.
Piotr Radziszewski, the director of TVP1, said: “We are thrilled to be partnering with the BBC again on such a prestigious, large-scale project. We have a shared ambition to create bold, compelling drama that will resonate with audiences not only in the U.K. and Poland, but all around the world.”
Ben Donald, executive producer for international drama at BBC Worldwide, said: “We are delighted to be able to build on the relationship with TVP with this second collaboration, and especially to come together on such an important piece of commemorative drama whose emotional impact we are confident will captivate audiences in Poland and indeed globally.“
Jablonski, founder and president of Apple Film, said: “Our relationship with BBC Worldwide opens up fantastic opportunities to develop co-productions in Poland as this latest collaboration between the BBC and TVP demonstrates. The fantastic script by the one and only Tony Jordan brings a unique opportunity for the Polish film industry to work with Europe’s best professionals. We are proud to work on this highly prestigious European project, commemorating the centenary of the Great War, which brought Poland’s independence back.”
“The Passing Bells” is produced by Red Planet through BBC Cymru Wales Drama. The 5 x 30 minute series will be executively produced by Jordan and Bethan Jones for the BBC.
Commissioned by Ben Stephenson, controller BBC Drama, and Danny Cohen, director of television, BBC, “The Passing Bells” will form a key part of BBC One’s programming to mark the centenary of World War I, and will appear on TVP in November to coincide with celebrations to mark the rebirth of the Polish nation at the end of the war.