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Netflix Acquires Worldwide Streaming Rights to Anna Friel Crime Drama ‘Marcella’

CANNES — Building a now rapidly burgeoning slate of European series offered to Europe and the world, Netflix has acquired the exclusive worldwide streaming rights to “Marcella,” the crime drama series from “The Bridge” writer Hans Rosenfeldt, starring Anna Friel. The deal was struck by Cineflix Rights, which holds international distribution rights.

The show, whose cast also includes “Downton Abbey’s” Laura Carmichael, “Fortitude’s” Nicholas Pinnock, “Jekyll & Hyde’s” Sinead Cusack and Harry Lloyd, whose credits include “Game of Thrones,” will premiere on April 4 in the U.K. on commercial network ITV and will be available globally, outside of the U.K. and Ireland, on Netflix beginning July 1.

The series, produced by Buccaneer Media for ITV, stars Friel as a troubled detective mother of two children who gives up her career to care for her family. When 10 years later, her husband walks out on her, she returns to work and is put on a serial killer case. But, weighed down by psychological problems, “she’s not completely together or right,” Friel told ITV’s “Good Morning Britain” on Saturday.

She added: “It’s a close-up of a woman almost having a nervous breakdown. Marcella has two sides to herself. One is her home life when she’s on her own and what happens when you close that door at the end of the day; and the other is mascara and you go to work and be a very good detective.”

Filmed in and around London, the series was written in Swedish by Rosenfeldt then translated into English. It melds Nordic Noir and U.K.-based talent, being co-created by Rosenfeldt and Nicola Larder (“The Tunnel”), executive produced by Buccaneer Media’s CEO Tony Wood and directed by Charles Martin (“Being Human,” “Skins,” “The Returned”), Jonathan Teplitzky (“Broadchurch,” “Burning Man,” “The Railway Man”) and Henrik Georgsson (“The Bridge,” “Wallander”).

Larry Tanz, VP global television at Netflix, said: “We got involved with the series early on in the process to gain the opportunity to bring Hans’ great storytelling to our members around the world — right after its initial U.K. broadcast on ITV.”

The near-global acquisition announcement comes just four days after Netflix announced its first original series in Spain, a 1920s Madrid-set women’s drama set up at Ramon Campos and Teresa Feernandez Valdes’ Bambu Producciones.

Spain’s first Netflix original series announcement comes just over a month after the U.S. streaming giant ordered its first German original: Mystery drama “Dark,” produced by Endemol Shine Germany backed-Wiedemann & Berg, the company behind “The Lives of Others.”

Eric Barmack, Netflix VP of international original series, said recently that Netflix was in an “expansion phase” of such dramas.

To date, apart from “Dark” and Spain’s first Netflix original, Netflix has ordered five other original series in Europe. Three are: France’s city hall politics skullduggery drama “Marseille,” starring Gerard Depardieu, which premieres in May; Italy’s “Suburra,” which goes into production this year; and the U.K.’s “The Crown,” already in production, and to be made available in 2016.

In its biggest docu project to date, last April Netflix ordered wilderness portrait “Our Planet” from Silverback Films, the Bristol-based producers for the BBC of the “Planet Earth” series. Netflix also acquired and then in September 2015 commissioned a third season in Charlie Brooker’s classic anthology series “Black Mirror,” a dark modern media satire.

Netflix also co-produced Norwegian series “Lilyhammer,” now ended, with NRK, and is co-producing “Rita,” with Denmark’s TV2. As on “Marcella,” Netflix has also made an early global buy on “Kiss Me First,” a U.K. Channel 4 series, involving itself early on the series in order to raise its budget and quality.

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