Channel 5 Beefs Up Scripted Slate in U.K.

Small Hand Susan Hill
Courtesy of Kew Media Group

U.K. broadcaster Channel 5 has unveiled a slate of original dramas, marking the latest step in the Viacom-owned broadcaster’s push into scripted content.

The new dramas include a two-hour ghost story from Awesome Media & Entertainment and Two Rivers Media called “The Small Hand” adapted from novel by “The Woman in Black” author Susan Hill; psychological thriller “Penance” from West Road Pictures; four-part thriller “The Deceived” from New Pictures; and the return of thriller “Blood” for a new six part series.

Channel 5 increased the amount of money going into scripted following its cancellation of the “Big Brother” franchise. Dramas “15 Days” and “Agatha & The Truth of Murder” have already aired, while the broadcaster has previously announced drama commissions “Cold Call” and “All Creatures Great and Small.”

“The Small Hand” is a feature-length single drama adapted from crime writer Susan Hill’s book by Barbara Machin, creator of BBC’s long-running crime drama, “Waking the Dead.” It tells the story of an antique book dealer who finds himself haunted by the ghost of a young boy. Directed by Justin Molotnikov (“Doctor Who,” “Stan Lee’s Lucky Man”), it marks the first adaptation of one of Hill’s books since the 2012 feature adaptation of “The Woman in Black,” starring Daniel Radcliffe. “The Small Hand” is produced through Kew Media Group companies Awesome Media & Entertainment and Glasgow-based Two Rivers Media. Production will be based in and around Glasgow, Scotland with the financial support of Screen Scotland. Kew Media is the international distributor.

“Penance,” which comprises three one-hour episodes, is written and created by Kate O’Riordan (“Mr Selfridge”), and inspired by O’Riordan’s novel of the same title. It tells the story of a couple whose marriage comes under strain following the loss of their son and the influence of a bereavement counsellor. Kate O’Riordan will be writing episodes one and three and Ben Morris (“Bancroft”), will write episode two.

Set to air in 2020, New Pictures’ “The Deceived” is written by Lisa McGee (“Derry Girls”, “Being Human”) and Tobias Beer. It is billed as a narrative of lust, manipulation and betrayal, whose central character, English student Ophelia, falls in love with her married lecturer. Virgin Media Television, Ireland will be the Irish broadcaster; filming will take place in Northern Ireland with funding support from Northern Ireland Screen. All3Media International is the international partner on the show.

C5 has also boarded a second series of thriller “Blood,” which is commissioned by Virgin Media Television in Ireland. The series of six one-hour episodes will also be produced by West Road Pictures, in association with Element Pictures and all3media international.

Channel 5 commissioning editor Sebastian Cardwell commented: “These exciting new dramas announced today is testament to Channel 5’s creative ambition in the genre. We have engaged with a wealth of industry talent and look forward to announcing further drama projects in the near future.”

The new dramas were announced at this week’s Edinburgh TV Festival.