×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

BBC Lands ‘Picnic at Hanging Rock,’ Starring Natalie Dormer (EXCLUSIVE)

The BBC will take British viewers on a “Picnic at Hanging Rock” with Natalie Dormer next year after scooping exclusive U.K. rights to the hotly anticipated TV adaptation of the classic movie and novel, Variety has learned.

The show was produced in Australia for pay-TV platform Foxtel and its Showcase channel, which will launch it Down Under. Amazon has it for the U.S., and the BBC will air it in Britain, although the pubcaster has yet to make a call on whether it should play on its BBC One or BBC Two channel.

“Game of Thrones” and “The Hunger Games” star Natalie Dormer leads the cast of the six-part TV adaptation, which follows the mysterious disappearance of three schoolgirls after a Valentine’s Day picnic and the subsequent investigation and impact on the community. Dormer plays Hester Appleyard, the school’s prim English headmistress. The tale is fictional but plays as if it could have been based on a true story.

Set in 1900, the novel was written by Joan Lindsay in the 1960s and has become one of Australia’s best-known literary works. Peter Weir’s 1975 movie version was also well-received.

The BBC confirmed to Variety that it has picked up the series. “It is with great pleasure that we confirm the BBC as the U.K. home for this new, fresh take on ‘Picnic at Hanging Rock,’” said Sue Deeks, head of program acquisition for the broadcaster. “The combination of creative team and cast – led by one of Britain’s most exciting actors, Natalie Dormer – will make for a must-see series for both fans of the classic novel and those coming to this wonderful story for the first time.”

The BBC deal marks another significant pre-sell for the series. It is produced by FremantleMedia Australia and distributed by FremantleMedia International, which sold it to Amazon for the U.S. and to pay-TV heavyweight Canal+ in France. Foxtel has yet to confirm a launch date for the series in Australia.

FremantleMedia International also confirmed the deal with the BBC. “With its globally renowned reputation for quality and the opportunity for this groundbreaking series to reach a deservedly wide U.K. audience, we are very excited to partner with the BBC,” said Jamie Lynn, EVP, head of sales and distribution, EMEA. “This re-imagining of the classic Joan Lindsay novel is modern, mysterious, completely gripping and visually spectacular.”

A number of emerging stars appear alongside Dormer and play the Appleyard College girls, including Lily Sullivan (“Jungle”), Madeleine Madden (“Tomorrow When the War Began”), Samara Weaving (“The Babysitter”), and Ruby Rees (“Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries”).

Executive producers on the show are FremantleMedia Australia’s Jo Porter and Anthony Ellis and Foxtel’s Penny Win. Alice Addison is the writer and Brett Popplewell produced. The directors are Larysa Kondracki, Michael Rymer and Amanda Brotchie.

More TV

  • Another Drama Series About Austrian Empress

    Another Period Drama Series About Austrian Empress Sisi Is in the Works

    Another TV head-to-head is brewing with the announcement of a second period drama series about Austrian Empress Elisabeth II – known as Sisi – in the works. Germany’s Story House Pictures and Austria-based Satel Film, which made Netflix’s “Freud,” are collaborating on “Sisi,” a six-part drama that goes into production in 2020. News of the project [...]

  • Disney Plus Launches; Two Episodes of

    Two Episodes of 'The Mandalorian,' Other Originals to Drop This Week as Disney Plus Goes Live

    New episodes of Disney Plus original series dropped Tuesday as the streaming service went live in three countries, with second installments of “Star Wars” spinoff “The Mandalorian” and other shows set to become available just a few days later. Disney’s new direct-to-consumer service launched Tuesday in the U.S., Canada and the Netherlands, with company chief [...]

  • Carolyn McCall

    ITV Revenues Dip in ‘Uncertain Environment,’ but Content Sales Rise

    ITV revenues were down by 2% in the first nine months of 2019. CEO Carolyn McCall, who has set a strategy refresh in motion, said the U.K.-based broadcaster’s performance was in line with its expectations, adding that, “although the economic environment continues to be uncertain, we are making good progress in executing our strategy.” Total [...]

  • DANCING WITH THE STARS - "Boy

    Sean Spicer Voted Off 'Dancing With the Stars'

    Sean Spicer will no longer appear on America’s television sets every Monday evening, at least as part of “Dancing With the Stars.” The former White House press secretary was voted off “DWTS” Monday night despite President Donald Trump’s earlier tweet urging the American people to vote for Spicer on ABC’s dancing competition show. The tweet [...]

  • US game show host Alex Trebek

    Alex Trebek Gets Emotional on 'Jeopardy!' After Contestant's Heartfelt Message

    Alex Trebek appeared to tear up on Monday’s episode of “Jeopardy!” after a contestant used his response to a prompt to convey the message “We love you, Alex.” As his answer to one of Monday’s questions, Tournament of Champions semifinalist Dhruv Gaur penned the message with a heart in place of the word “love,” betting [...]

  • Seinfeld

    Alan Horn Remembers How Rick Ludwin Saved 'Seinfeld'

    Rick Ludwin was the unsung hero of “Seinfeld.” That’s how Alan Horn, Walt Disney Studios chairman and former head of “Seinfeld” producer Castle Rock Entertainment, remembered the longtime NBC executive who died Nov. 10 at the age of 71. Ludwin was instrumental in getting the beloved “show about nothing” on to NBC as a regular [...]

  • Kristen Bell Pandas

    Why Kristen Bell Is 'Excited' About Returning as Narrator for HBO Max's 'Gossip Girl' Reboot

    Kristen Bell received an email a couple of months ago from “Gossip Girl” co-creators Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage. “They just said, ‘We’ve got really good news. It’s looking like we’re going to do another version of ‘Gossip Girl’ and we would for you to return,’” Bell told Variety while promoting “Frozen II.” “I was [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content