×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

China Plans Remake of BBC Time-Travel Cop Show ‘Life on Mars’ (EXCLUSIVE)

A Chinese “Life on Mars” is in the works after BBC Studios and Phoenix Entertainment inked a deal to create a Mandarin-language version of the time-travel cop series. BBC Studios will officially unveil the format deal at Showcase, its annual programming market for international buyers, which is now underway in Liverpool, England.

Life on Mars” was created by Endemol Shine-owned producer Kudos and initially aired on BBC One in the U.K. in 2006. ABC aired a U.S. version, which had a pilot from David E. Kelley and a cast that included Harvey Keitel and Michael Imperioli.

Phoenix will start production on a 24-episode season of the scripted show this year. The original version saw a cop (John Simm) transported from the present day to the 1970s after a near-fatal accident. He finds himself working with Gene (Philip Glenister), a no-nonsense colleague and unreconstructed male. The Chinese version will see a modern-day lawman transported back to 1990s Beijing.

A deal for a Chinese version of “Broadchurch” was inked earlier this year, and “Life on Mars” will be another marquee British drama getting a local makeover. The deal is the first between Phoenix and BBC Studios, the commercial and production arm of British pubcaster the BBC. The show does not have a broadcaster or platform attached but is considered a likely candidate for a local streamer.

“Following the huge success of our hit drama ‘Day and Night,’ developed and produced by Phoenix Entertainment Group for Youku, we have been carefully considering other shows that could meet the criteria of high quality and consistency with our slate and brand,” said Bihai Wu, VP and general manager at Phoenix. “BBC Studios offers a great range of dramas that match our ambitions to produce captivating, first-class dramas for the fast-growing Chinese SVOD market and their discerning audiences.”

As a format, “Life on Mars” has traveled well, selling to territories including Russia, Spain, the Czech Republic and South Korea.

“I am delighted that our first partnership with Phoenix Entertainment Group is ‘Life on Mars,’ which ranks as one of the best dramas to come out of the U.K.,” said David Weiland, EVP Asia for BBC Studios. “We have a huge range of high-quality scripted titles from ‘Doctor Foster’ and ‘Luther’ to ‘Thirteen’ and ‘In the Club,’ shows that would captivate Chinese audiences.”

More TV

  • Charmed -- "Let This Mother Out"

    'Charmed' Showrunner Exits, Craig Shapiro & Elizabeth Kruger Board Series

    The CW’s reboot of “Charmed” is changing showrunners. Variety has learned that Carter Covington has stepped down as showrunner on the series, which has already been renewed for a second season. Husband and wife team Craig Shapiro and Elizabeth Kruger have been brought on to helm the series going forward. Shapiro and Kruger are currently [...]

  • Apple TV Plus Reese Witherspoon Jennifer

    What We Know About 'Amazing Stories' And Other Shows Coming to Apple TV+

    Viewers got a sneak peek of upcoming shows coming to Apple TV+, Apple’s newly unveiled streaming service, during the company’s live-streamed event in Cupertino, Calif., on Monday. The stars and creators of the most highly anticipated projects like Steven Spielberg’s “Amazing Stories” and “The Morning Show” from Reese Witherspoon appeared on stage to reveal more [...]

  • WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01

    Richard Gere Series 'MotherFatherSon' Sold to Multiple Territories

    BBC Studios, the British public broadcaster’s commercial arm, has announced a raft of territory sales for Richard Gere starrer “MotherFatherSon,” a drama series written by Tom Rob Smith, Emmy-nominated for “The Assassination of Gianni Versace.” The show will screen Tuesday at Series Mania, France, in the International Panorama section. Buyers for the eight-part thriller include [...]

  • TV News Roundup: Netflix Releases Trailer

    TV News Roundup: Netflix Releases Trailer for 'Special'

    In today’s roundup, Netflix releases a trailer for “Special,” and Wrestlemania’s main event will be a women’s match, a first in WWE history. FIRST LOOKS Netflix has released the trailer for its upcoming 15-minute comedy show “Special.” Ryan O’Connell stars in the semi-autobiographical series about life as a gay man with cerebral palsy. The series is [...]

  • Apple Event: Everything We Learned From

    Everything We Learned From Today's Apple Event

    After revealing new services in news, finance, and gaming, Apple CEO Tim Cook kept the biggest, most anticipated announcement until last. Cook, along with heads of worldwide video programming Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht, and a whole group of Apple’s creative talents, presented the company’s new Apple TV+ streaming service, which is slated to [...]

  • Lauren Whitney

    Miramax President of TV Lauren Whitney Exits to Join Spyglass Media Group

    Lauren Whitney, the president of television for Miramax, is leaving the company, Variety has learned. She will now become the president of television for Spyglass Media Group effective April 1. The news comes less than two years after Whitney first joined Miramax. There, she oversaw the studio’s television development, in addition to “Spy City,” produced by [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content