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Hailed in its day as Spain’s own “Downton Abbey,” period espionage drama “The Time In Between” (“El tiempo entre costuras”), a huge hit in Spain, has been sold to South Korea in a deal between Atresmedia International Sales and Germany-based distributor Jung Consulting.

The series will air this January in South Korea on Smile TV Plus, TVasia Plus and WeeTV.

“We are delighted to be distributing such a successful  Spanish series in Korea, together with Atresmedia. We trust the Korean audience will enjoy the series, and that it will allow us to bring more international Spanish series to Korea,” said Woojae Jung, Jung Consulting managing director.

An Atresmedia TV original series about a spying seamstress first released in Oct. 2013, “The Time in Between” went up against “The Voice” and historical hit “Isabel,” averaging an extraordinary 25.5% share and almost 5 million viewers on Antena 3. It made a star out of Adriana Ugarte, who went on to play the co-lead in Pedro Almodóvar’s “Julieta,” swept prizes at Spain’s Iris and Onda Awards, and sparked multiple sales including to Italy (Canale 5), Portugal (TVI), Japan (NHK), China (CCTV-8) and Chile (TVN).

That success is attributed by reviewers to the series’ period flare, sumptuous sets, sweeping score and geographic sweep, as well as its central story of a woman’s rebellion against the mores of her time and empowerment.

Ugarte plays Siri, a humble Spanish seamstress who escapes to Tangiers on the cusp of the Spanish Civil War and, betrayed in love, finds her calling as a WWII secret agent working for British intelligence after scoring a job as couturier to Nazi wives stationed in Madrid.

The series never forsakes a sense of melodrama but as other big Spanish hits from “Velvet” to “Money Heist” recasts it in a modern genre blender which appeals to new generations.

Running 11 episodes, “The Time in Between” followed on by just a few months from another milestone Atresmedia hit, Bambu Producciones’ “Grand Hotel,” Spain’s first big series to be bought as an original in Latin America without the necessity of being dubbed into neutral Spanish nor reversion for local broadcast.

A trailblazer, “The Time in Between” fortified Atresmedia’s bet on Spanish fiction which saw it produce with Bambu “Velvet” in 2014, Alex Pina’s first breakthrough, “Locked Up,” over 2015-16, and “Money Heist,” released in May 2017 with Netflix acquiring global streaming rights at year-end. “Cathedral of the Sea” came in 2018 and HBO Max pick-up “Veneno” in 2020.

Once producing big fiction, many commercial broadcasters have downscaled scripted series production in favor of non-fiction and live entertainment. Atresmedia, in contrast, has stayed the course. “Cardo,” a hit this year on its Atresplayer Premium SVOD service, now looks set to be the next Atresmedia series set to clinch substantial sales abroad.