In today’s Global Bulletin, the National Theatre shares details on its upcoming “Romeo and Juliet” feature adaptation, HBO Europe and ITV commission documentaries on COVID-19 and the Irish mother and baby home scandal respectively, TIM picks up Discovery Plus in Italy, Oble acquires Start series “Gold Diggers” and “A Good Man” to sell globally and Channel 4 announces three new digital series for its E4 platform.
One day after announcing new deputy director Clint Dyer, the National Theatre has dropped a first-look image of its upcoming production of “Romeo and Juliet,” produced as a feature film to be broadcast on Sky Arts and PBS this April.
Josh O’Connor (“The Crown,” “God’s Own Country”) and Jessie Buckley (“Chernobyl,” “Judy”) will play the young star-crossed lovers, as seen in the image of the couple as they meet on Juliet’s balcony in front of a full moon.
Further casting has been announced as well, with Olivier Award winner Adrian Lester (“Life,” “Undercover”) confirmed as the Prince, Lloyd Hutchinson as Lord Capulet, Colin Tierney (“Nowhere Boy”) as Lord Montague and Ella Dacres as Peta.
Simon Godwin (“Twelfth Night,” “Antony and Cleopatra”) directs a 90-minute adaptation of Shakespeare’s famous love story, reconceived by writer Emily Burns for the screen. Shooting was executed at the National Theatre’s Lyttelton theater over three weeks in December.
“Romeo and Juliet” premieres on Sunday, April 4, on Sky Arts in the U.K. and Friday, April 23, on PBS in the U.S.
Dyer, the only Black British artist to have worked at the National Theatre as an actor, writer and director on full-scale productions, will work closely with director and joint chief executive Rufus Norris and director of new work Emily McLaughlin to grow and support the organization’s creative output.
In his time at the National Theatre, Dyer is known for playing the role of Cutler in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” in 2016 and co-writing and directing “Death of England” and “Death of England: Delroy.”
HBO Europe has commissioned “Vitals. A True Human Story,” a new COVID-19 documentary mini-series highlighting the struggle faced by a Barcelona hospital at the height of the pandemic, set to premiere on Feb. 7 in all HBO Europe-covered territories.
Unspooling in three parts, the program examines the emotional and physical challenges presented to patients and healthcare workers at the Parc Taulí Hospital, as well as the knock-on effects felt in their private lives at home.
“Vitals” is directed by Félix Colomer and produced by El Terrat, a The Mediapro Studio company, and Forest Films for HBO Europe.
British Broadcaster ITV has commissioned True Vision and Nevision, in association with American streaming platform Topic, to produce “The Missing Children,” a new documentary about the Irish mother and baby home scandal. Irish public broadcaster RTÉ joins as a co-producer and will air the program as a feature documentary, although it will also be available as a three-part special as well, sold by Abacus Media Rights globally.
Focusing specifically on the Tuam home, where 796 babies are believed to be buried in a septic tank, “The Missing Children” will offer an in-depth examination of the scandal for which a recently released final report concluded that nearly 9,000 children died in 18 institutions which were investigated. Hundreds of children were adopted, often illegally, from Tuam, which was run by Bons Secours nuns. Following a government decision to exhume the burial site, the documentary will use recovered DNA evidence to uncover personal stories which still resonate today on both sides of the Atlantic.
Discovery Inc.’s streaming service Discovery Plus is now available in Italy to TIMVision subscribers through the company’s TV box sets and any device with access to its services. The Discovery Plus offer is part of a broader renewal by TIM, which also includes Nove, Real Time, DMAX, Giallo, Food, HGTV – Home&Garden, MOTORTREND, Frisbee and K2.
Launch titles include “Matrimonio a Prima Vista Italia,” new episodes of “Cortesie per gli ospiti” and “Deal With It,” documentaries like “Maradona – Death of a Champion,” “Lady Gucci,” comedy series “Fratelli di Crozza” and gameshow “Bake Off Italia.” In the coming weeks, new original productions such as “Bad Habits, Holy Orders” and “Love Island Italia” will join the offer.
In addition to Discovery Plus original productions, the deal also includes Discovery-branded content and the renewal a previous agreement on sports coverage including the 2020/22 Olympic Games, PGA Tour gold and Grand Slam tennis.
Yellow, Black and White Group streamer Start has partnered with French distributor Oble, who will handle the exclusive global tape and format distribution rights to the platform’s drama series “Gold Diggers” seasons 1-3 and psychological drama “A Good Man.”
Straight away, Oble has closed a deal with Walter Presents in Australia and New Zealand where the series will be available exclusively on Walter Presents, hosted by Stan in Australian and TVNZ On Demand in New Zealand. Oble also struck a deal with CJE&M in South Korea for “Gold Diggers,” where the series will make its Asian debut.
Channel 4 in the U.K. has commissioned several new short-form programs in line with the company’s broadening digital strategy, which will head directly to the network’s online platform E4.
Overseen by Channel 4 head of entertainment Phil Harris, E4 digital executive Navi Lamba and commissioning editor for entertainment Steve Handley, new commissions include “What If…? With Munya Chawawa” from The Connected Set, “Blind Love on First Date Island” from Blink Industries, and “One Night Stand” (working titles) from Hello Mary, which will join the previously announced “Darling, What Have You Done to Your Hair?” from Sharp Jack and Initial.