BBC Studios Drama Productions has set a development partnership with Nigerian television pioneer Mosunmola “Mo” Abudu, founder and CEO of global entertainment network EbonyLife Media.
The partnership will kick off with action-adventure series “Reclaim,” written by BAFTA Breakthrough Brit Rowan Athale (“The Rise”), based on an original idea by Mo Abudu, Heidi Uys and Bode Asiyanbi.
The six-part heist thriller series will follow a team of art thieves looking to return artworks removed by the British Empire 125 years ago from the Kingdom of Benin, back to their home in Nigeria.
Priscilla Parish, head of drama, BBC Studios said: “Mo Abudu has an extraordinary track record in bringing previously unheard stories to a wide audience. ‘Reclaim’’s breathtaking action-adventure is underpinned by thoughtful and timely themes and declares our shared intention to create stories which have both local and international resonance. Rowan Athale is the perfect writer to bring this story to life, having written both commercial hits and arthouse breakouts.”
Athale said: “It is a great pleasure to be working with Mo Abudu and BBC Studios on ‘Reclaim.’ The moment I heard Ebonylife’s pitch, I knew I had to join the team. I am excited and honored to be writing ‘Reclaim,’ and I look forward to sharing our ground-breaking series with a global audience.”
Abudu added: “‘Reclaim’ is our first big-budget, global series, set partly in the U.K.. It is a dream come true for two reasons – first, it is a partnership with BBC Studios; second, the project will debut under EbonyLife Productions UK. We set up EbonyLife in London because our global strategy includes expansion to the U.K. and the U.S. As Nigerians and Africans, we should see ourselves as world citizens and our storytelling, locations and networks should extend to every corner of the globe. I am delighted with this opportunity to extend our reach into the U.K. with a great story and a formidable partner.”
The deal was brokered by CAA.
EbonyLife has an existing first look deal with Sony Pictures Television with whom they have also launched an African writers initiative. The company also has a multi-title pact with Netflix.