Netflix has renewed with ITV, “The Bridge” creator Hans Rosenfeldt and star Anna Friel for a second season of crime drama series “Marcella.” The deal gives the U.S. streaming giant another strand to its business in Britain, one of its key international markets.
The new season of eight hourlong episodes will premiere globally on Netflix in 2017 after they are first broadcast on ITV, Britain’s leading commercial broadcaster. British-based Buccaneer Media will once again produce.
Announcement of the “Marcella” deal came out of a Rosenfeldt Crime Noir Masterclass, which the Swedish showrunner-writer delivered Friday morning, accompanied by Friel and Buccaneer Media CEO Tony Wood, at the Edinburgh Intl. TV Festival.
A renewal was always on the cards. At April’s Mip TV gathering, Netflix announced it had acquired exclusive worldwide streaming rights to the first season of “Marcella” in an early global acquisition deal rather than original production order.
Bowing April 4 on ITV, and available from July 1 on Netflix, the first season of “Marcella” starred Friel as a troubled detective with deep psychological problems, two children and a broken marriage. It played to what British newspaper The Guardian termed “resilient ratings.”
The series’ dark, blunt Nordic Noir screenplay — in a style honed by Rosenfeldt on the second season of “The Bridge” and more akin in some ways to cable TV than free-to-air fare — created a large media and social network buzz for being unsettling to some critics and viewers. The show garnered generally favorable reviews, according to Metacritic. The first season left a lot of loose ends, beginning with the question of what kind of person Marcella really is.
The near-global Season 2 acquisition comes as Netflix is rapidly building its slate of originals and pick-ups in Britain, one of its biggest foreign markets, without as yet bowing one Netflix original British series order. “The Crown,” Netflix’s first original series in the U.K., which is based on the life of Queen Elizabeth II, will air on Netflix from Nov. 4. The series is produced by Sony-owned Left Bank Pictures in association with Sony Pictures TV.
Netflix ranked third among online VOD users in Britain over the first quarter of 2016, being watched by 20% of users, compared to 43% for YouTube and 36% for the BBC iPlayer, according to a report by London-based Ampere Analysis.
British-based IHS Markit estimates that Netflix will have over 6 million subscribers by the end of 2016, helping to make Western Europe Netflix’s biggest region outside the U.S.
In what is described as Netflix’s first co-production with ITV, Netflix will air in-the-works Euro murder mystery “Paranoid,” written by Bill Gallagher (“The Paradise”) and produced by Studiocanal’s British-based RED Production Company.