ZDF Enterprises, the highly active international production and sales arm of German public broadcaster ZDF, has sealed a major multi-territory deal with Viasat World’s Epic Drama channel on “Dead Still,” continuing the macabre dramedic mystery series’ rollout in much of the world.
Backed by U.S. SVOD service Acorn TV and Irish state TV service RTE, set in 1880 Dublin and starring Michael Smiley (“Luther”), Kerr Logan (“Game of Thrones”) and Eileen O’Higgins (“Mary Queen of Scots”), “Dead Still” will have its pay TV premiere on Oct. 10 on Epic Drama when it will be made available across Central and Eastern Europe, CIS territories, the Baltic States, Malta and Turkey.
Epic Drama’s past lineup has featured some of the biggest international period dramas of the last decade, such as “Versailles,” “World on Fire” and “Das Boot.”
Russian VOD service Showjet and crime channel Polar Plus, part of French pay TV Canal Plus, have also acquired the six-part series. Mirela Nastase, director of ZDFE.drama, brokered all three deals.
“Audiences across Europe are in for a real treat with this gothic murder mystery that brilliantly combines drama with comedy,” said Robert Franke, vice president of ZDFE drama.
An international co-production between top Irish producer Deadpan Pictures, winner of an Intl. Emmy Award for “Moone Boy,” and “Murdoch Mysteries’” producer Shaftesbury Films in Canada, “Dead Still” turns on a memorial photographer, Brock Blennerhasset, who photographs dead people for final portrait photos with their loved ones before their burial.
He is plunged into a murder investigation when a serial killer begins to copycat his style positioning his victims as if for a post-mortem photo shoot.
Created and written by actor and dramatist John Morton (“Denouement,” “Taboo”) from a story by Morton and TV director Imogen Murphy (“Red Rock”), “Dead Still” is directed by Murphy and Canada’s Craig David Wallace (“Murdoch Mysteries”). It has already premiered in May on Canada’s Acorn TV and Citytv and will air this fall on RTÉ.
Set apart by its gallows humor and true-to-life portrait of post-mortem photography which flowered in Victorian time, “Dead Still” remains thoroughly contemporary, Murphy has observed, in its portrait of forceful women and a social gulf. Part of an episode unspools in Dublin’s Montgomery Street red light district, at a time when many in the city lived in deep squalor.