Stuart Urban’s “His Majesty’s Interceptors,” Sara Corso’s “Butterflies” and Souvid Datta’s “Dark Rising” figure among seven drama series projects at the first London TV Pitchbox, whose line-up, strong on fantasy and period and international intrigue, underscores the ambitions of current U.K. drama.
Mixing pitches from creators who range from seasoned multi-prized director-writers to relative newcomers, the London TV Pitchbox, a jour venture of online platform Filmarket Hub, and London’s Raindance Film Festival, will take place Sept. 28 at the Century Club in Soho, London. Confirmed attendees so far include Entertainment One, Sky, Red Arrow Studios Intl., UKTV and Virgin Media. Additionally, Jamie Glazebrook, “Peaky Blinders” executive producer and creative director at Caryn Mandabach, will deliver a case study on the series.
Rolling off writing and executive producing 2016 ITV mini-series hit “The Secret,” starring James Nesbitt, Urban will unveil “His Majesty’s Interceptors.” Developed by Ingenious Media, based on real events, and described as “a high stakes wartime espionage blended with great humor and charm,” the codebreaking adventure thriller is set in 1914, turns on HM Interceptors, a band of boffins including a young Winston Churchill and legendary Captain “Blinker” Hall whose pioneering cryptography allows them to score large triumphs in WWI. Kept classified for a century in some respects, the opening of archives enables the story to be told in depth, its makers say.
A period piece set in 1920’s Britain, “Butterflies” focuses on the post WWI period and a Mother Superior in the Catholic Church who is tasked by a bishop to use a wing of her convent to house three war widows. They turn out to be prostitutes, but a blessing in disguise, the Mother Superior finds unlikely allies in her lodgers. The series was created by Sara Corso who is co-writing with Italian writer, director Giacomo Arrigoni.
Among the more international projects set to pitch, “Dark Rising” is a sci-fi drama which takes place in the East Africa, Central America and underrepresented corners of Europe. The series will follow a series of emerging potential superheroes from diverse backgrounds struggling to adapt to their powers. But, where “Heroes” featured a largely white, middle-to-upper class cast of mostly Americans, “Dark Rising” will aim for a hyper-realistic look and feel, with the series’ team citing Neil Blomkamp’s “District 9” as a reference. The series already has a trailer as well as a producer in SDFilms.
Among other projects, created and written by author and producer Harry Smyth, “Coldline” looks to blur the lines between a traditional crime drama series focused on an old cold case, and the increasingly popular true crime documentaries that are growing increasingly popular on broadcast and digital platform TV.
A supernatural fantasy set in a past-its-prime amusement park, creators Amy Amani and Scott Gibson are looking to bring to the screen a paranormal murder mystery. The ghosts of former visitors and employees will pair with the recently deceased Neal, a man sent to oversee the razing of the park, to uncover a decades-old murder by a still-living killer. Series is produced by veteran Phil Peel.
“No Good Deed” from Ana Gallego and Marco Oliva, is the lone dramedy set to pitch, described a film-noir series focused around organized crime and a hapless middle-aged pizza delivery boy, once a soccer player of large promise. Gallego will also produce with Alex Chronopoulos.
Finally, “Otranto,” from creator-writers Jon Smith and Ian Masters, kicks off when a group of refugees washing up on European shores. Tragically, only a few survive. One of the deceased women is found with a bullet wound in her chest, which kicks off a high-pressure international investigation.