In this week’s International TV Newswire, Amazon documents Andy Murray’s fall and hopeful rise, Banijay merges in Italy, major European productions announce casting, Spanish-language content sells in France, and Cineflix’s “Pure” heads across the Atlantic.
Amazon Documents Andy Murray Recovery
Amazon Prime Video’s U.K. offices have announced a new feature-length documentary, “Andy Murray: Resurfacing,” which tracks the British tennis superstar’s recovery from a recurring hip injury over a two-year period. Initially commissioned as a cut-and-dry injury comeback story, “Resurfacing” turned into something bigger as Murray struggled with setbacks which saw the former Wimbledon champion and number 1 ranked player in the world drop almost out of the top 100.
According to Amazon, the story will be told from Murray’s perspective, and offer hitherto unprecedented access to the medical, professional and private lives of Murray and those around him who supported him through the process. Almost daily the camera was by his side as Murray went through surgeries, rehab, and suffered the mental and emotional strain that came along with the injury.
The series also features interviews with family members, team members, and other professionals such as Rodger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.
Olivia Cappuccini produced and directed the feature along with producer John Battsek from Passion Pictures, in collaboration with Pitch Productions and Scenes of Reason. The documentary follows a series of sports-centered content including the “All or Nothing” specials, “Inside Borussia Dortmund” and “El Corazón de Sergio Ramos.”
“Andy Murray: Resurfacing” will be available exclusively on Amazon Prime Video Nov. 29.
Banijay Merges DryMedia and Magnolia TV, Hires New French Executive
Banijay Group Italy has merged two of its production businesses, DryMedia and Magnolia SPA, into one group focused on producing unscripted content, Banijay Italia. The label will be home to returning titles such as “L’Isola dei Famosi,” “Il Collegio” and “Pechino Express” as well as a raft of unscripted content. Fabrizio Ievollella will head the new entity as CEO, supported by chief production officer Danila Battiglini, chief creative officer Francesco Lauber and head of programs Leopoldo Gasparotto. Banijay Italia becomes part of Banijay Group’s larger Italian portfolio which includes Banijay Studios Italy, Nonpanic, Aurora TV, Atlantis Films and ITV Movie.
Banijay also announced the appointment Edouard Minc as group corporate business affairs and France business development director. Coming from France’s Lagardère Group, Minc held a number of positions at the company. Most recently he was responsible for innovation and transformation projects across all divisions at the company. He will report to EVP Marie Schweitzer and Banijay France CEO François de Brugada.
Casting New Roundup
Building a strong key cast, Stephen Graham (“The Virtues, Line of Duty,” “The Irishman”), Tom Courtenay (“45 Years,” “The Aeronauts”) and Peter Mullan (“Mum,” “Top Of The Lake”) will join Colin Farrell and Jack O’Connell in Andrew Haigh’s forthcoming adaptation of the polar drama “The North Water.” The series is adapted and directed by Haigh and produced by Kate Ogborn. Set in 1850s Hull, the series follows a disgraced ex-army surgeon who signs on as a ship’s doctor for a whaling expedition to the Arctic, only to find the crew and conditions less than ideal. BBC Studios is handling international distribution.
BAFTA, Emmy and Tony Award-winner Dame Diana Rigg (“Game of Thrones,” “Victoria”), Matthew Lewis (“Harry Potter,” “Happy Valley”) and Nigel Havers (“Chariots of Fire”) have joined the cast of Masterpiece and PBS’ upcoming drama series “All Creatures Great and Small,” a new adaptation based on best-selling author James Herriot’s 1970’s collection of stories.
AMC Networks, Atresmedia Sell Channel Package in France
AMC Networks Intl. Southern Europe and Atresmedia’s Spanish-language TV channel bouquet has launched for the first time in France on IPTV platforms SFR and Free. A seven-channel offer, the collection represents the most varied selection of Spanish-language content available anywhere outside the peninsula and is curated specifically for international audiences. The collection includes Canal Cocina -Spanish cooking programs; Canal Decasa – home décor series, health and beauty; Sol Música – Spain’s only 100% music channel; Somos – classic Spanish cinema; Antena 3 Internacional – news and entertainment; Atreseries – one of Spain’s premiere drama series networks; and Atrescine – recent Spanish films. The package is available to pay-TV operators across Europe and was recently launched as EspañaTV on MEO in Portugal.
Cineflix Sells “Pure” in Europe
Cineflix Rights has announced multiple European deals on the critically acclaimed Canadian drama “Pure.” New broadcasters include Paris Premiere (M6 Group) in France, Virgin Media for Virgin Ultra HD Channel in the U.K., Cosmo in Spain and Sony’s AXN Channel in Germany. The series follows newly elected Mennonite pastor Noah, determined to rid his community of drugs and trans-border smuggling alliances doing business with Mexican cocaine cartels. It stars Oscar and Golden Globe nominee Rosie Perez and “How I Met Your Mother’s” Alyson Hannigan. The deals with Paris Premiere and Cosmo were closed by Sabrina Ayala, the pact with Virgin U.K. by Sandra Piha, and the Sony Germany deal by Lucinda Gergley-Garner.