South Korea’s MBC Greenlights Local Version of Idris Elba Cop Series ‘Luther’

BBC also has deals for 'Life on Mars' and 'Mistresses' remakes

Hard-bitten cop John Luther is heading to Asia, with South Korean broadcaster MBC ordering a local version of the hit BBC crime series. The show is one of BBC Worldwide’s best sellers and the commercial arm of the British pubcaster has now struck a deal with Korean free-to-air broadcaster MBC, which will work up a local version of the show that will bow in October.

It is not the first time the gritty detective drama has had the remake treatment, with a Russian version, “Klim,” playing on free-to-air Channel One in 2016.

There will also be South Korean versions of BBC drama series “Mistresses” after local media firm CJ E&M nabbed the format rights. It took remake rights to BBC time-travel crime series “Life on Mars” as well and the South Korean version will be set in 1987 when the country was at the height of political change and preparing to host the 1988 Summer Olympics. It will play on CJ E&M’s channel OCN this April.

BBC Worldwide unveiled the deals at Showcase, its annual programming market in Liverpool. David Weiland, EVP for Asia at BBC Worldwide, said that U.K. drama performs well in South Korea.

“Series such as ‘Sherlock’ and ‘Doctor Who’ have grown fan bases with their original and intelligent storytelling that the British are so well known for,” he said. “I’m delighted that this love of British drama has now transcended into scripted formats – with South Korean versions of ‘Mistresses,’ ‘Life on Mars,’ and ‘Luther’ starring Korean A-listers about to debut in 2018.”

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